Rural Reporting Project

Texas has the largest rural population of any state—3.8 million people—yet many journalists treat much of the state as flyover country. The Observer has made reporting on rural Texas a priority with this long-term project. Staff writer Christopher Collins, who has investigated how crop dusting is putting Texans’ health at risk and the connection between destructive Panhandle wildfires and a mismanaged federal land program, is spearheading the effort from West Texas. View an interactive story map here.

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Investigation Finds Culprit in Panhandle ‘Chemical Drift’ Case, State Yet to Take Action

Texas Department of Agriculture investigators found that local crop duster pilot Jared Lambert sprayed pesticide that doused three dozen people in a tiny Panhandle town, but the agency has not issued any penalties.

It’s been nearly two years since an errant blast of a dangerous chemical doused the tiny Panhandle town of Quitaque, but the Texas Department of Agriculture (...Read More

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The Far-Right is Staging an Ouster of Moderate Republicans in the Panhandle. Will Incumbents Outlast the Attack?

King, Price and Seliger have all drawn challenges from right wing opponents who are running the Empower Texans playbook and taking money from ultraconservative advocacy groups.

The Far-Right is Staging an Ouster of Moderate Republicans in the Panhandle. Will Incumbents Outlast the Attack? King, Price and Seliger have all drawn challeng...Read More

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The 7 Most Pressing Issues Facing Rural Texas

In 2017, rural schools lost crucial funding, two hospitals closed and natural disasters wreaked havoc in what some regard as “flyover country.”

It’s been a tough year for rural Texas. In 2017, the 3.8 million Texans who live outside the state’s metro areas bore a bevy of hardships, including hospita...Read More

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