What is the Hillgren Institute?

The annual Sonja Hillgren/Farm Journal Ag Journalism Field Reporting Institute. The institute is part of the MU course “Field Reporting on the Food System and Environment” (Journalism 4414/7414 and Science and Agricultural Journalism 4414).

The course centers on the institute, which is an intensive, three-day trip through a region of Missouri to explore and write about issues in the food system, conservation and the environment. This “immersion” experience gives students a taste of the art, science and discipline of professional-level news gathering with an eye toward publication for a mass audience. The trip is free to students thanks to support from Farm Journal in memory of the eminent agricultural journalist Sonja Hillgren.

The Fall 2009 trip focused on issues surrounding forestry, dairy farming, feral hogs, wildlife, Ozark water quality, prairies and other kinds of land use.

The Fall 2010 trip focused on community food systems, sustainable agriculture, urban agriculture, aquaculture, and natural resources. You can read these stories on this blog site (MUddy Boots News).

The Fall 2011 trip focused on issues surrounding forestry, woody biomass energy, karst features of the Ozarks, cotton farming, the 2011 flood on the Mississippi River and the biology and natural history of the river.

The Fall 2012 trip focused on the Missouri River, agricultural flooding, the Conservation Reserve Program, and more.

The Fall 2013 trip focused on elk reintroduction, national park management, cattle farming, environmental programs at the U.S. Army’s Fort Leonard Wood, long-term ecological research on forestry, and the health of Ozarks float streams.

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