'America's Heartland' showcases life on the farm
Farmers know full well the hard work and rewards of farm life. For many Americans, however, life on the farm is a complete mystery. That's why the Public Broadcasting Service program, America's Heartland, is so important: it is the only nationally broadcast program that connects consumers to America's agriculture communities.
The program, which airs on Kansas Public Television stations at 3 p.m., on Sundays, and on KTWU, Topeka, at noon each Sunday, allows buyers, millers, and wheat food processors around the world to peek into the lives of farm and ranch families providing food, feed, fuel, and fiber to our nation and the world. The program's website at www.americasheartland.org provides videos, educational materials, and links for those who cannot watch the program on TV but want to know more about agriculture in America.
Now in its fifth season, America's Heartland will air its 100th episode to audiences on Public Television and RFD TV.
A number of wheat-related segments have already aired in season five, including "A Life Plan" and "Heartland to Home." But America's Heartland is also telling the story of U.S. agricultural exports. "Journey of the Corn" produced in cooperation with U.S. Grains Council, follows a Nebraska farm couple on a trip to Taiwan and the People's Republic of China showing the impact of U.S. corn exports. In early January 2010, America's Heartland will air a special episode on U.S. wheat and corn exports to Egypt and Morocco, produced in cooperation with USGC, U.S. Wheat Associates and grain buyers and processors in those countries.
In its 100th episode, America's Heartland explores how animal welfare is a key element of a century old Kansas ranching operation; what steps a Georgia farmer takes to ensure food safety issues on produce that goes from his farm to your supermarket; how a Michigan farming operation, run by women, educates city youngsters about agriculture; and how a California ranch has taken the lead in protecting America's wild mustang population. In addition, two special educational segments look at the nutritional value of kiwis and how vinegar is created for customers who like different flavors on their salads.
In a time when many consumers want to know more about where their food comes from, America's Heartland fills an important advocacy role, according to Michael Sanford, vice president of content creation for KVIE Television in Sacramento, Calif., which produces the program: "Reaching consumers with positive stories about agriculture is a mission that we take seriously. We know these are stories and reports that impact all of us whether we live in the city or on the farm."
Through the National Association of Wheat Growers, wheat producers offer financial support to the America's Heartland program.