Shortage in Rich Land

Series produced by KBIA

Series image
Image by: Bram Sable-Smith 

At the end of January 2015, KBIA sent reporters to southeast Missouri to open the “Missouri Bootheel” bureau. Their job was to tackle the stories taking place in the towns, fields and health clinics of Missouri’s most productive farmland. What they found were stories that had resonance far beyond this rural area near the divide of the midwest and the upper south.

The initial reporting on this project was a five-part series, and you can find these stories here.

After that series, KBIA hosted a community conversation in Kennett, Mo in May 2015 which we called, "Health Barriers: Symptoms of a Rural Economy." Two state representatives, city council members and economic development leaders, and local heatlh providers and officials were among those in the audience that took part in the conversation. You can find a hour long and a half hour long version of that forum here. We also have a video version of the forum if you are interested, if so contact us at news@kbia.org.

KBIA reporters continue to visit the bootheel for more reporting, so you can check back to find more stories in the future.


7 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: (From left to right) Ryan Famuliner, Kim Hughes, Judith Haggard and Victor Wilburn discuss rural economics and health care access., Credit: Kristofor Husted
On May 20th, KBIA held a community conversation event in Kennett, Mo. The goal was to bring local residents and leaders of rural southeast Missouri...

  • Added: Jun 03, 2015
  • Length: 58:24
Caption: A big, metal gate designed in 1914 to protect Cairo, Ill., from flood waters marks the entrance to the town. Today, Cairo's population has dwindled to about 2,800 due in large part to floods, evacuations and a suffering economy., Credit: Kristofor Husted
For years, some small towns and farmers along the Mississippi River have been battling each other over a flood project set up by the U.S. Army Corp...

  • Added: Jun 03, 2015
  • Length: 06:08
Caption: Judith Haggard is one of two nurse practitioners at the Otto Bean Medical Center in Kennett, Mo. The clinic has no full-time doctor so Haggard works with a collaborating physician outside of the SEMO Health Network, which runs Otto Bean., Credit: Bram Sable-Smith
The Missouri Bootheel is a region emblematic of the social and medical problems facing rural Missouri, and really, all of rural America. Life expec...

Bought by WAMC and WABE


  • Added: Jun 03, 2015
  • Length: 06:13
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Chuck Earnest's rice fields near Steele, Mo., are a waterfowl sanctuary during the non-growing season., Credit: Kristofor Husted
For such a small region, this sprawling landscape of the Bootheel has some of the most productive farmland in the U.S. A solid water supply and nut...

  • Added: Jun 03, 2015
  • Length: 06:50
Caption: Marylouisa Cantu (left) with her case worker Lucretia Cox (center) and mother Star Tafolla, Credit: Bram Sable-Smith
Almost 17 percent of the babies born here in Dunklin County are born premature. According to data from the World Health Organization, if this were ...

  • Added: Jun 03, 2015
  • Length: 06:10
Caption: Joe Fox is a resident of Safe Haven in Kennett, Mo., Credit: Bram Sable-Smith
Resources are pretty sparse down here in the Bootheel. No single town has every service to meet the homeless community’s needs. The apartments at S...

  • Added: Jun 03, 2015
  • Length: 06:24
Caption: (From left to right) Ryan Famuliner, Kim Hughes, Judith Haggard and Victor Wilburn discuss rural economics and health care access., Credit: Kristofor Husted
On May 20th, KBIA held a community conversation event in Kennett, Mo. The goal was to bring local residents and leaders of rural southeast Missouri...

  • Added: Jun 03, 2015
  • Length: 28:29