Yanqi Xu (pronounced yen-chee shu) most recently covered courts and law for NC Policy Watch in North Carolina, focusing on criminal justice reform, housing justice and redistricting. Prior to that, she was part of a team at the Investigative Reporting Workshop that developed the Public Accountability Project, a newsroom search tool that hosts more than 1 billion public records in one place. She hails from China, where she first developed an interest in telling stories that resonate with people, no matter where they are.
There are few staff to monitor Nebraska’s vast swaths of farmland, thousands of cattle feedlots, large hog operations and chicken farms. And the agencies’ own regulations don’t give the staff many tools to combat malpractice.
Nebraska’s nitrate level has doubled in the past four decades. Despite this, state and local governments have taken little action to regulate the farming practices that lead to nitrate seeping into our drinking water.