The mission of the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk is to enhance the quantity, quality and impact of journalism on agriculture, water and related issues throughout the basin.

10 new reporting positions:

In partnership with Report for America, we’re placing 10 new reporters on the ag and water beat in newsrooms throughout the region. Journalists receive training and mentorship from seasoned reporters, experts with the Society of Environmental Journalists and the faculty and staff at the Missouri School of Journalism. 

We provide these reporters access to dedicated financial and technical resources to support their reporting, including;

  • Annual in-person training 
  • Ongoing mentoring from expert journalists
  • Editorial support for local stories and regional collaborations
  • Access to our database of sources and story ideas
  • On-the-ground insights from our Community Advisory Board
  • Financial and technical help to pursue deeper stories

5 expert journalists:

In addition, we’re recruiting five expert journalists in the region to serve as advisors and collaborators. 

1 distribution network:

We’re building a wider distribution network so these stories can have even greater impact.

Why cover ag and water?

The Mississippi River Basin spans nearly half of the continental United States. Millions of residents rely on the river system for drinking water, commerce and recreation.

More than 90% of America’s agricultural exports are grown in the Mississippi River Basin, including more than three-quarters of the world’s exports in feed grains, and most of the country’s livestock. More than 70% of nitrate pollution in the Mississippi River comes from agriculture, which harms human health and aquatic life and contributes to the “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

As the impacts of climate change become more severe, residents can expect more extreme weather, including flooding. Recent major floods on the Mississippi River and its tributaries killed at least 12 people and caused more than $20 billion in damage.

By making resources available on this beat, we aim to support more complete coverage of these critical topics. As our reporters build deeper knowledge, they’ll be able to tap into a network of newsrooms, experts, and support that will help them tell more equitable, impactful and interconnected stories.