Tags : agriculture

Child deaths in India push global issues of pesticides, food safety into news

Food safety is a global issue. I was reminded of that with the news that more than 20 children in India died after consuming school lunches provided by a government-run program. Some children remain ill and authorities are trying to pinpoint the source - possibly a chemical found in pesticides that somehow made it into the lunches.

As soon as I heard "pesticides" I remembered a Food and Drug Administration database recently shown to me at a workshop in Illinois. Any products imported to the US found not complying with the FDA's Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act can be detained ...

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Deadline for agribusiness workshop extended to April 14

Navajo boys plow a corn field on the Navajo Reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico, date unknown. Photo from the National Archives and Records Administration.

The deadline has been extended to April 14 for an all-expenses paid reporting workshop on covering agribusiness from The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and Investigative Reporters and Editors, held May 30 to June 2 in Champaign, Ill. Applications must be received by midnight Central Time. 

The workshop will bring together educators, reporters and editors from small-to-midsize newsrooms to hear and learn how to take an in-depth look at the issues surrounding agribusiness. 

Why investigate agribusiness ...

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Investigating agribusiness: A workshop and reporting examples

Navajo boys plow a corn field on the Navajo Reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico, date unknown. Photo from the National Archives and Records Administration.

Monday is the last day to register for an all-expenses paid reporting workshop on covering agribusiness from The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting and Investigative Reporters and Editors, held May 30 to June 2 in Champaign, Ill. The workshop will bring together educators, reporters and editors from small-to-midsize newsrooms to hear and learn how to take an in-depth look at the issues surrounding agribusiness. 

Why investigate agribusiness? Corporate agribusiness is growing each year. Agribusiness produces food ...

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Apply now for agribusiness reporting workshop

Navajo boys plow a corn field on the Navajo Reservation in Shiprock, New Mexico, date unknown. Photo from the National Archives and Records Administration.

IRE and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting are seeking applicants for an all-expenses paid workshop on how to cover agribusiness in the Midwest.

The workshop, held from May 30 to June 2 in Champaign, Ill., informs on how to cover the growing impact of corporate agribusiness, along with topics of droughts, corporate-funded research, government subsidies and insurance and commodities trading. It is funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Educators, reporters and editors from the ...

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Assessor data key to probe of TN ag tax break

Last spring, investigative reporter Marc Perrusquia and I started poking around in the Shelby County Assessor's Office online database of property records, looking at properties owned by developers and local wealthy families that had “Greenbelt” designation.

The “Greenbelt Law” was devised decades ago to curb encroaching development by protecting farms, forests and open spaces from rising property values. The law allows undeveloped property to be assessed at a low “use” value rather than a generally rising market value. It was designed to keep farmers from being priced off their land.

Assessments work like this: The total appraisal of a ...

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Behind the Story: The cost of sugar supports

In a recent piece for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, Amy Green reports on the cost of sugar supports to American taxpayers.  She is currently working on a book about the Florida Everglades, which will explore political and environmental impacts on the area.

When Amy Green, a native Floridian, thinks of the Florida Everglades, she sees a different side of Florida.  “The Miami International Airport was once underwater,” she says.  She’s been considering this and other political, economic, and environmental impacts of draining the Everglades since at least 2010.

Through this research, Green became interested in the Everglades ...

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USDA data shows how bad food lands on school kids' trays

Two colleagues approached me last summer with an intriguing pitch: They wanted to trace the meat, poultry and other food served in school cafeterias all the way back to their manufacturers. Parents, they said, were often in the dark about the quality of the food their kids eat at school — much less who supplies it — and they suspected school officials didn't know enough about the foods' sources to act when students fell ill.

How could I resist the challenge? I love food. A couple months later, though, I'd start thinking twice about having a hamburger, thanks to what ...

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Down on the farm - Reporting on migrant farm labor

When a team of reporters for the Palm Beach Post began preparing packages on migrant farm laborers and the dangers of pesticide in 2003 and 2005, they pursued multiple angles. They found instances of modernday slavery, explored the politics that touch migrant lives and calculated the unseen costs of migrant labor. Covering the story required traveling to its sources: in the crop fields of Florida, to the streets of Guadalupe, Mexico, and the trails taken by smugglers to bring migrants into America. Inquiry into the abuses also meant digging into reports provided by state and federal agencies. Whenever the federal ... Read more ...