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.
Despite a 2015 law requiring suicide prevention training for teachers, state officials say they do not monitor or enforce the requirement.
Pretty much everyone at Fairfield High School liked Jonathan Childers, a 15-year-old with kind brown eyes and a wide smile. The freshman played football, lifted...Read More
The state’s dominant ag products, valued at $18 billion, are in the crosshairs of retaliatory tariffs. Still, most farmers here are hesitant to criticize Trump.
Russell Boening, a Texas farmer and rancher who’s also president of the Texas Farm Bureau, is starting to feel the effects of escalating trade conflicts betwe...Read More
“The price of living near oil and gas shouldn't be giving up your health.”
Sue and Jim Franklin’s double-wide mobile home at the foot of the Davis Mountains in far West Texas is usually sealed up tight with the air conditioner blasti...Read More
From East Texas to the Rio Grande Valley, universities are helping struggling schools train staff, start enrichment programs and expand space for district activities.
On June 20, a few weeks after Commerce ISD released students for the summer, about 10 fifth-grade students gather in teacher Cari Aaron’s classroom, playing m...Read More
Dem party leaders like to talk about “energizing rural voters,” but what they’ve delivered so far is a vague, anemic message.
You’ve gotta give it to them — they have energy. But if the first two days of the Texas Democratic Convention are any indication, that may be all Democr...Read More
Residents near German Pellets facilities in Woodville and Port Arthur allege that air pollution and fires have made them sick, but the state regulatory agency has done little to help, the Sierra Club says.
In late 2014, Lisa Sanchez and her husband, Tony, sold their 13-acre ranchette in The Woodlands, where they lived in a single-wide trailer and raised rescue hor...Read More
Mike Conaway and Jodey Arrington are pushing for stricter work requirements for food stamp recipients while helping big commodity farmers rake in billions in government cheese.
The Republican congressmen charged with writing the nation’s Farm Bill like to jabber about how people on food stamps need to get back to work. But those same...Read More
Pulitzer Prize winner John Branch takes a fascinating dive into what it's like to make a living by horseback, both on the range and at the rodeo.
Confession: I’ve never ridden a horse. I’ve never baled hay or branded a steer or helped a cow give birth. Perhaps you think this should disqualify me from ...Read More
The president has levied tariffs on aluminum and steel from Canada and Mexico, and they’ve responded in kind. Texas farmers and ranchers worry the dust-up could endanger ag exports to the NAFTA partners.
Update: The Mexican government officially struck back at the United States on Tuesday afternoon by imposing 20 percent duties on imports of certain American po...Read More