Heartland

File photo / KBIA

Heartland is a small community in northeast Missouri and is home to the state's largest dairy. Heartland Dairy is under investigation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after a worker died on the job in September. It's the third death there since 2012. But many of the employees at Heartland aren't the typical dairy workers; they're participants in a rehabilitation program.


A KBIA investigative report nearly a year in the making, Heartland, Missouri, received the national Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Documentary journalism. Issued by the Society of Professional Journalists, Heartland is KBIA's first story to receive a Sigma Delta Chi award.

Wendy Brumbaugh

Not so long ago, Charles Sharpe said God told him to build a Christian communal society in Shelby County. More than one hundred fifty years before, Wilhelm Keil said he came to the same place the same way.

Walter Kamphoefner said that conviction is why Kiel’s colony survived when other organized communities failed. He studies 19th century German colonization of the West at Texas A&M.

“I mean there were a couple of organized groups that came in the 1830's but they ended up not being very successful, giving up their group organization very quickly. In fact, almost before arriving.”

For the past year, KBIA has been working on a special long-form story about a place in Northeast Missouri called Heartland. It’s a story with threads of religion, law, business, and morality that all end in a knot, in the middle of a cornfield.