Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Department of Agriculture" ...

  • WUFT: Cost of Sunshine

    Public record requests of various county and local governments were made in an effort to determine the number of public record requests received by each governmental unit, the cost to provide access to the requested records, the fees recovered from requestors, and copies of agency public record access policies. Those governmental units not audited received a survey designed to obtain the same information sought in the public record requests. Public record requests included all county constitutional officers in nine Florida counties as well as the city clerk in the county seat. County constitutional officers include the state attorney; sheriff; clerk of court; tax collector; property appraiser; supervisor of elections; public defender; and school superintendent. Counties were chosen based on geographic and population diversity. Six state agencies were also included: Executive Office of Governor, Attorney General,Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Financial Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
  • A Game of Chicken

    Over the course of a decade, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had not one, not two, not three, but four opportunities to warn the public about salmonella outbreaks involving Foster Farms chicken. Each time, they hemmed and hawed, worrying more about the threat of legal action from a corporate giant than about protecting consumers. Health reporter Lynne Terry was the first journalist in America to identify and write about this alarming trend. With reporters from Frontline, The Center for Investigative Reporting and the New York Times circling around the story, she beat them all with a stunning and illuminating examination of the failures of the USDA. In her year-long investigation, Terry set out to determine if the USDA’s notoriously slow handling of a major salmonella outbreak in 2013-2014 was an isolated case. It wasn’t. She reviewed thousands of pages of previously undisclosed documents dating back to 2003. What she found was disturbing: More than 1,000 people had rushed to their doctors with bouts of food poisoning. They had no idea what made them sick. But federal regulators did. Those same federal officials took virtually no steps to protect consumers from bad chicken. Health officials in Oregon and Washington had pushed vigorously for federal action, having identified clear and convincing evidence of problems. But the USDA wouldn’t budge. Terry’s meticulous reporting identified these themes: •USDA officials are afraid of lawsuits. The agency is so worried about being sued by companies that they’ve set an almost impossible bar for evidence, even rejecting samples of tainted chicken that state health agencies believed would help clinch their case. •Government inspectors are pressured to go easy on food processors. In one notable case, the USDA transferred an inspector after Foster Farms complained he wrote too many citations. •The USDA succumbed to further pressure from Foster Farms. After strong pushback from the company’s lawyers, the agency backed away from citing an unequivocal connection linking the company to a 2004 outbreak – even though the evidence pointed only to Foster Farms.
  • Fields of Fraud

    The most sweeping proposed reform of U.S. agricultural assistance since the Great Depression would replace most direct payments to farmers with federally-backed crop insurance—a change that is designed to save money. But this CNBC investigation finds the change could open the door to massive fraud. http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000097737&play=1
  • Puppy Pipeline

    The Post tracked a puppy mill pipeline stretching from the Ozarks to South Florida, one that brought thousands of sometimes-sick puppies from mass-operations to local pet stores. At least 2,500 puppies were delivered to Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties from out-of-states breeders in an 11-month period. Roughly one in three of those came from breeders or distributors cited for problems by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees wholesale dog breeding. Citations varied from keeping animals in too-small and rusting cages with exposed nails or wires, to caked feces, to infestations of roaches and other insects that covered the walls and ceilings of kennels. In dozens of cases, kennel owners averted USDA inspection entirely.
  • "Tax Dollars to Dead Farmers"

    Some farmers who have died during the last 20 years are still being paid. By comparing the "Farm Bill database" and the "Social Security Death Index," WFOR-TV found 234 deceased farmers in South Florida continue to receive taxpayer money through the U.S. Farm Bill. The amount still being paid is estimated to be $9.5 million.
  • Trouble on the Farm: From Research to Waste

    This investigation of animal neglect at the University of Nevada, Reno revealed that: administrators set up a camera in a smoke detector outside a faculty whistleblower's lab; students alleged late-night intruders tampered with e-coli experiments to discredit the professor; a network of unregulated "homeland security" cameras kept the campus under surveillance; "valueless" sheep injected with human stem cells were sent to a university ranch as part of a weed eradication project and were swiftly killed by predators. And, although the University denied all the animal abuse allegations, the USDA cited it for 46 violations in May and another 10 in October, which included many of the same neglects documented in the story.
  • Recipe for Trouble

    The authors investigated the role of food establishment inspectors and Pennsylvania's broken restaurant inspection system.
  • Are more mega-farms headed to this area? Economic benefits touted; neighbors cite environmental concerns

    This three piece series examines the "mega-farm" phenomenon and the impact it could have on Hancock County, Ohio. Moser interviewed people who work on and live by mega-farms to predict the pros and cons of mega-farming in Hancock county.
  • Marine Attractions: Below the Surface

    This investigation examined more than 3,850 deaths of marine animals since 1972. The authors found that animals are often mistreated during captivity, and that thousands have died under human care from clorine posioning, heat exposure, capture shock and stress. This in-depth look at the $1 billion - a - year marine mammal industry reveals that not only is it riddled with problems, but also that the government is doing very little to correct them.
  • Mad Cow Disease in the United States

    Mitchell's investigation revealed several flaws in a few of the U.S. agencies meant to prevent and contain illnesses such as mad cow and Creutzfeld Jakob diseases. This series looks at the problems and inconsistencies within these programs and was also cited in the Inspector General's audit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's mad cow surveillance program. The investigation also looks into possible cases of mad cow disease in the United States which have gone undetected or may have been kept under wraps.