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 "farming" ...

  • Draining Oregon

    Oregon is helping farmers drain the state's underground reservoirs to grow cash crops in the desert, throwing sensitive ecosystems out of balance and fueling an agricultural boom that cannot be sustained, The Oregonian/OregonLive has found.
  • Hydrogen Energy: Pollution or Solution

    This is the result of a two-month investigation into a proposed, federally-funded "green-energy" power plant in the middle of California's Central Valley. This plant planned to gasify coal and use new technology to diminish the amount of CO2 released into the air. This would be done by using carbon sequestration in nearby oil fields, creating jobs and energy for the valley. However this report shows that while this power plant reduces CO2 emissions and creates dozens of temporary jobs, the additional environmental impacts are substantial. The plant plans to truck in coal dust past schools and neighborhoods, use millions of gallons of water a day in drought-stricken farming country, pollute the air with particulate pollution in the most polluted air region in the country, store hazardous chemicals near schools and homes, fill landfills at an alarming rate, AND at the end of it all the plant will produce at times NO electricity.
  • Product of Mexico

    Americans have grown accustomed to year-round supplies of fresh, affordable fruit and vegetables. “Product of Mexico,” a four-part Los Angeles Times series, made vividly clear the human costs of this abundance. The 18-month investigation found that many farm laborers at Mexican export farms are essentially trapped for months at a time in rat-infested camps, often without beds and sometimes without functioning toilets or a reliable water supply. Those who seek to escape have to contend with guards, barbed-wire fences and threats of violence. Major U.S. companies have done little to enforce social responsibility guidelines that call for basic worker protections such as clean housing and fair pay practices.
  • A Deadly Explosion

    A major explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on April 17, 2013 killed 15, people including a dozen first responders. More than 200 people were injured and a small Central Texas farming community was left devastated. Though West is 200 miles away from Houston, the Chronicle immediately marshaled forces from all corners of the newsroom on this major story. Our goal quickly was to dig deep and uncover why the explosion happened and what could have been done to prevent it. We pulled in our investigative team, our environmental reporter, our science reporter, our Austin bureau, a columnist and several others on this story.
  • Cash Crop

    This series of stories exposed abuses in Tennessee’s “Greenbelt Law’’ that grants property tax reductions for farmers. Series showed how real estate developers, businesses, wealthy “hobby’’ farmers and others operate marginal and at times non-existent farming operations to reap huge tax savings.
  • The Deadliest Place in Mexico

    The Juarez Valley, a narrow corridor of green farmland carved from the Chihuahuan desert along the Rio Grande, was once known for its cotton, which rivaled Egypt’s. But that was before the Juarez cartel moved in to set up a lucrative drug smuggling trade. “The Deadliest Place in Mexico” explores untold aspects of Mexico’s drug war as it has played out in the small farming communities of this valley. The violence began in 2008, when the Sinaloa cartel moved in to take over the Juarez cartel’s turf. The Mexican government sent in the military to quell the violence — but instead the murder rate exploded. While the bloodshed in the nearby City of Juarez attracted widespread media attention, the violence spilling into the rural Juarez Valley received far less, eve as the killings began to escalate in brutal ways. Community advocates, elected officials, even police officers were shot down in the streets. Several residents were stabbed in the face with ice picks. By 2009, the valley, with a population of 20,000, had a murder rate six times higher than Juarez itself. Newspapers began to call the rural farming region the “Valley of Death.” This investigation uses extensive Freedom of Information Act requests, court documents, and difficult-to-obtain interviews in Spanish and English with current and former Juarez Valley residents, Mexican officials, narcotraffickers and U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials, to reveal that many of these shocking deaths were perpetrated with the participation of Mexican authorities. It shows scenes of devastation — households where six members of a single family were killed, without a single police investigation. It uncovers targeted killings by masked gunmen of community activists and innocent residents for speaking out against violence and repression facilitated by corrupt military and government officials. And it gathers multiple witnesses who describe soldiers themselves, working in league with the Sinaloa cartel, perpetrating violence against civilians. "The cemeteries are all full. There isn't anywhere left to bury the bodies," one former resident said. "You'll find nothing there but ghost towns and soldiers."
  • 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
  • No. 9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster

    The 1968 Farmington Coal Mine Disaster prompted Congress to pass the 1969 Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act, the first law to set meaningful underground safety standards and fines for violations. Despite the importance of the tragedy, which took the lives of 78 men, neither federal nor the state government determined the cause of the disaster. The state did not produce a final report as was required by West Virginia law, and the federal government did not make public its final, inconclusive report until 1990. This book pieces the story together, documenting the dangerous conditions that plagued the No. 9 from 1935 through the first deadly disaster in 1954 that killed 16 men and up to the 1968 tragedy.
  • Antibiotics in our Food

    The investigative series examines the controversial practice on America's farms of using antibiotics to quickly grow livestock ... a practice that many scientists and doctors believe is contributing to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in humans.
  • Genetic Modified Food

    In a two-part series, senior investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian examined the business of genetic engineering and the growing impact it is having on the way we grow food, and what we eat. Part one take a look at the business practices of Mondsanto, a major bio-tech seed maker, which patents its genetically modified seeds. Monsanto sells the seed to farmers but prohibits them from replanting their seeds after harvest, a practice known to farmers for 11,000 years. In the story, the team found that Monsanto has been coming after small farmers for seed piracy, suing them when Monsanto suspects farmers of planting its patented seeds "illegally" even when those farmers have never purchased or planted and Monsanto products. Part two examines the secret changes to our foods and asks, why don't we, in the U.S., label genetically modified ingredients when it is done with regular practice in Europe, Japan, Australia and our trading partners? Whether we realize it or not, we probably ate something for dinner last night that had a DNA-altered ingredient in it, but the FDA says that these ingredients do not have to be labeled and therefore no one knows when they are eating genetically modified foods.