Monday, April 08, 2019

Inside Climate News wins awards from North American Agricultural Journalists for its stories on Farm Bureau

Reporting on the American Farm Bureau Federation by Inside Climate News won two major awards in the North American Agricultural Journalists writing contest, being presented today at the National Press Club in Washington.

ICN reporters Georgina Gustin, Neela Banerjee and John H. Cushman Jr. won the Series category for Harvesting Peril: Extreme Weather and Climate Change on the American Farm," which focused largely on Farm Bureau, including its alliance with the oil industry on the issue. Other stories looked at crop insurance and agriculture's role in climate change. The Rural Blog noted the series last fall.

Part of an ICN graphic, from AFBF statements and the 2014 NCA
"This series offers a penetrating look at the American Farm Bureau’s long history of fighting climate change regulation and undermining climate science," wrote judge Marcel Dufresne, retired University of Connecticut journalism professor and former reporter and editor at The Day in New London. "Of particular note is the series’ explanation of how the Farm Bureau has effectively shaped the views of many farmers who doubt or downplay climate change, despite its well-documented harm to agriculture. The series presents a strong point of view, but one backed by extensive reporting – studies, interviews, government records – and is effectively illustrated with clear info graphics and a short introductory video."

The three ICN reporters also won the Feature category for a story in the package, "How the Farm Bureau’s Climate Agenda Is Failing Its Farmers." The story "should be mandatory reading for every farmer – no, make that every American," wrote judge Rebecca Jones, who was a feature writer at the old Rocky Mountain News and now pastors a church. "This tells a chilling story of a lobbying organization that has gone off the rails."

Second place in the Feature category went to Debbie Weingarten of The Guardian in partnership with the Economic Hardship Reporting Project for ‘It’s not fair, not right’: How America treats its black farmers. "This story leaves me speechless," Jones wrote. "It’s a well-told tale of underscores how racism still haunts our country."

In the News category, Gil Gullickson of Successful Farming won for stories on the Humane Society of the United States, which is often adverse to animal agriculture but says it gets a bad rap.

The Column category was won by Jonathan Knutson of AgWeek for his "Plain Living" column; the three examples cited dealt with farmer suicides, the changing face of farming in the Upper Midwest, and "Why Trump’s trade war alarms me."

Urban Lehner of DTN/The Progressive Farmer won the Editorial category for pieces about food-safety problems at Chipotle; endorsing funding for the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research; and the need for rapid traceback to find sources of food contamination.

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