Jul 12, 2014
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The Sonja Hillgren/ Farm Journal Ag Journalism Field Reporting Institute

Sonja HillgrenIn remembrance of Sonja Hillgren, Farm Journal is funding an experience for journalism students that will allow her spirit to live on. The Sonja Hillgren/Farm Journal Ag Journalism Field Reporting Institute is the backbone of "Field Reporting on Food and Natural Resources," an agricultural journalism course at the University of Missouri in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

The Institute explores the vast scientific, economic and social changes under way in U.S. agriculture and their impact on the food supply and the environment. Students meet, learn from and interview leading researchers, government officials, food industry representatives, farmers and others—out in the fields, on the rivers and at the facilities where these issues take shape.
 

2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
 

Brewer 4
Photo Essay

Cotton Harvest in Missouri
Kile Brewer, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
See what goes on during cotton harvest in this visual story.

 

 

Audio IconAudio Reports

Birds Point Perspectives
Carah Hart, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Hear how farmers are dealing with the aftermath of the blowing of the Birds Point levee.

Rebuilding the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway
Gina Cook, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Hear perspectives on what needs to be done to rebuild the floodway.


Written Reports

Missouri Cotton Farmers Use Old Tactics to Fight a New Battle against Pigweed
Katie Alaimo, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
The steady procession of machine pickers gathering up their bounty of fluffy white cotton bolls revealed little of the daily challenges farmers contend with in preparation for these early days of harvest. Nor of the time, money and effort spent confronting the relatively new enemy of herbicide-resistant Palmer pigweed.

Missouri Forests: The New Challenge of Biofuels
Benjamin Zack, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Drive down the back roads of Shannon County, Mo., and you can travel from clear-cut hillsides to some of the oldest pines in the Ozarks in a matter of minutes.Such wide differences illustrate some of the possible futures for Missouri forests as the biofuel industry moves into the neighborhood.

Pilot of the Saw Cab
Ben Unglesbee, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Under the roof of the shed, a heavy snow of sawdust covers the back of the saw cab. On the door to the cab, someone who knows its occupant well has written a joke in the sawdust with a finger: "Shorty inside."

Migrants Return to Help Bootheel Cotton Farms
Tony Schick, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
The mobile homes behind the John Deere dealer in Kennett, Mo., couldn’t move anymore if they needed to. Many of the homes, nearly all of which belong to migrant workers in the area, have settled in to the earthen plots as permanent fixtures.

Missouri Forestland: Changing Ownership, Changing Use
Steven Rich, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Lester Johnson looks out over the barren land adjacent to his home with a single tear streaming down his left cheek. "It didn’t always used to be like this," Johnson said this fall, wiping his face. "There used to be a beautiful forest out here. Now it’s just a bunch of stumps."

EPA Program Involves Farms and Clean Water Goals
Joe Pecoraro, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Charles Parker, a cotton farmer in southeast Missouri, can think of more than a few creative ways to spend $13,000. Installing a secondary fuel containment zone isn’t at the top of his list, but that’s exactly where Parker will be dedicating dollars this fall.

Forestry Practices Key for Sustainable Use for Bioenergy, Experts Say
John McLaughlin, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
A musty coat of sawdust smothered the sawmill’s rafters. Below, a lone mechanical arm helped guide fresh logs against the saw with robotic precision.

Carbon Release an Issue in Woody Biomass Use for Energy Production
Emily Garnett, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute

Deep inside Pioneer Forest, which sprawls across 154,000 acres in central and southeastern Missouri, the roar of a chainsaw could be heard. The roar stopped abruptly and in the brief silence that followed, Jay Duncan, co-owner of J&G Logging, hoisted his orange Stihl chainsaw and made a hasty dash away from the tree.

Flooding Has a Deep Impact on Soil
Claire Friedrichsen, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
A large yellow mechanical arm scoops sediment out of a drainage ditch against the quivering carpet of vibrant soybeans in the Mississippi River Valley, near East Prairie, Mo. Here, the New Madrid Floodway is painted forest green to neon yellow across the patterned farmland.

Two Non-Natives: Weeds Invade Cotton Fields, Migrants Find Jobs
Sarah Alban, 2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute
A laugh. A short, brown boy running to catch a girl his size. These are the kids of migrant workers, skipping around a Casey's General Store parking lot in southeastern Missouri. For miles around stretch the weed-infested cotton farms that brought their parents here from Mexico.



To Contribute

With your support, this Institute will be able to grow and offer an expanded perspective of the industry that Sonja covered for more than 30 years, including the addition of a policy component to its curriculum.

Contribute to the Sonja Hillgren/Farm Journal Ag Journalism Field Reporting Institute. Click here to fill out the contribution form. The completed forms can be faxed to (573) 884-8174.

Donations can be made online at https://donatetomu.missouri.edu/. Select "Other" as the fund site and note "Sonja Hillgren/Farm Journal Ag Journalism Field Reporting Institute" in the box below.

 

 
 

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