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.

 

Could Kinder Morgan’s ‘Permian Highway’ Scar the Hill Country?

by | Tue, Feb 12, 2019 at 11:00 CST
On its 430-mile path to the Gulf, the natural gas pipeline would gash the iconic Hill Country, a region relatively free from oil and gas development.
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‘The Last Cowboys’ is a Wild Ride All the Way Home

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

by

Trump’s Trade Disputes with NAFTA Partners Imperil Texas Ag Exports

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

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Austin’s on the Wrong Side of the 100th Meridian

The invisible line that divides the arid western part of the country from the wetter eastern half is on the move, and that has important implications for the Texas capital.

Meet Robert Lee. Not the Confederate general, the town. Robert Lee, Texas is a ranching community of 1,025 that lost its only source of water to the second-wors...Read More

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The Dark Horse of the Lubbock Farm Meeting Rides

An agriculture department meeting meant to elicit input from area produce growers was derailed by a government attorney with Nazis, sexism and sterilization on the brain.

A Texas Department of Agriculture meeting designed to gather input from Panhandle fruit and vegetable growers affected by new food safety regulations devolved i...Read More

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