Dec 12, 2019
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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.

2012 Sonja Hillgren Institute

Written Reports

Flood and Drought: Two Years of Extreme Weather Take Toll on Farmers
Teresa Avila, 2012 Sonja Hillgren Institute
In a field a few paces from the Missouri River, the corn exhibits the classic effects of this summer’s drought. The stalks are short, the cobs stunted and the kernels small. The crop roots in coarse, tan soil. Not the black silt one might associate with a flood plain, but sand, a remnant of the flood that hit northwestern Missouri a year ago.

High Crop Prices Drive Northwest Missouri Farmers Out of Conservation Program
Anna Boiko-Weyrauch, 2012 Sonja Hillgren Institute
In Buchanan County, Mo., crop news infuses daily life. The news flows from farmer to farmer at the store, the ball game, and lunch after church. Corn price, bean price, bushel per acre. "You know how to figure what you’ll get," said Ronnie Dean, one of those farmers. Last year Dean figured he needed a change.

A Moonscape in Corn Country
Cade Cleavelin, 2012 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Corning Conservation Area, a preserve hugging a bend on the Missouri River in the middle of some of Missouri’s most productive farmland, is extraordinarily untamed in contrast to the tidy cropland neighboring it.

Fate of Conservation Reserve Program Uncertain
Brendan Gibbons, 2012 Sonja Hillgren Institute
Near a lazy creek in northwest Missouri, a pile of chewed red apples waits on a stump as an offering to hungry deer. The apples' bright red skin, along with the burgundy splotches of poison ivy rusting in the fall, stands out in this part of the state. So does the camouflage-colored camera recording all who pass by.

Missouri River Navigation: Finding Common Ground
Darren Orf, 2012 Sonja Hillgren Institute
On a grassy slope outside Mound City, Mo., scientists and journalists stand on common ground and stare over an expanse of the Missouri River flood plain. Robert Jacobson, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, sweeps his hand across the landscape and describes the prehistoric journey of water and sediment from glaciers that formed the river below.

Story Archive

2011 Sonja Hillgren Institute

2010 Sonja Hillgren Institute

2009 Sonja Hillgren Institute


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 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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