October 20, 2006
America's Heartland, the public television series that celebrates the miracle of American agriculture, is back for a second season, and the show's producers plan some changes to make the show better than ever.
America's Heartland, a collective effort among Monsanto, the American Farm Bureau and other leading farm organizations, tells the stories of innovative farm and ranch families across the nation.
The program is a magazine-style, half-hour series produced by KVIE television in Sacramento, Calif.
Just as it did during its premiere season, America's Heartland begins its second season with a slate of all-new stories captured from locations throughout the nation.
As before, the series profiles the places and processes of American agriculture and food and fiber production in all its forms.
"We were pleased with the first-season success of America's Heartland," said AFBF President Bob Stallman, a Texas rancher and rice producer. "The audience response was fantastic, both from farmers and ranchers and, more importantly, the non-farm public."
Executive producer Mike Sanford said an emphasis of season two is to showcase how traditional producers of America's commodity cropslike wheat, corn, soybeans and riceundertake the major tasks of planting, nurturing and harvesting their crops in ways that economically sustain their families and the natural resources on which they rely.
Another enhancement is the show's increased presence on the Internet, making it available to an even wider audience. The public can now view all 20 episodes of season one, as well as new episodes for season two as they are produced.
The show's website, www.americasheartland.org, provides background information about each episode, general information about agriculture and recipes that were inspired by some show segments.
America's Heartland was a huge success during its first season, by virtually any measure.As the first weekly national series focused solely on telling agriculture's story to rural and urban audiences alike, the audience in the show's inaugural season exceeded 50 percent of the nation's households. During the first year, 20 episodes were produced, containing 99 stories gathered from more than 20 states including Texas.
Viewers can check with their local PBS affiliate to see when the show is airing.
In addition, RFD-TV, the rural satellite channel that aired season one and features the program Rural Texas, produced by the Texas Farm Bureau, has also begun showing the second season.
The 22nd annual South Texas Farm and Ranch Show will be held Oct. 25-26 at the Victoria Community Center. Activities will begin at 6:30 a.m. each day with registration and breakfast. The sessions will begin at 7 a.m.
Sessions on biodiesel fuel and ethanol production will be held for the first time this year. Participants will also get the latest information on raised-bed gardening, turfgrass varieties and management, composting, crepe myrtle varieties, Xeriscape and Earthkind gardening and vegetable gardening.
The Cattlemen's College on both days will include sessions on animal and premise identification, restocking strategies, producing and marketing show steers and heifers, and much more. Marketing strategies for cotton and grain and an update on the Farm Bill will be discussed during the crop session.
The trade show, featuring more than 125 booths, will be open 10 a.m until 7 p.m. on Oct. 25 and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Oct. 26.
All activities are free, except for the meals, which cost $7 each. For more information, call 361-575-4581.
Mexico will resume trade in U.S. dairy heifers under 24 months of age,Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced Oct. 4.
"I am pleased with this first step in reestablishing cattle trade with Mexico, but I remain committed to a broader resumption of cattle trade between our countries," said Johanns.
Under the agreement, U.S. producers will be able to export dairy heifers to Mexico that are under 24 months of age and registered with a purebred dairy breed association or the Dairy Herd Improvement Association, a national dairy producer cooperative. The dairy heifers will be individually identified as they depart the United States. Their identification information will be entered into the Mexican animal identification system for purposes of maintaining these animals under bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) surveillance.
Mexico closed its market to U.S. dairy heifers following the December 2003 find of BSE in Washington state.
That year the United States exported $103 million worth of dairy heifers to Mexico.
"For eight years, America's farmers have struggled with the EU's unfair ban on biotech products, hence impeding trade. But this ruling will clear barriers for our growers to access European markets. It also sets a precedent that such bans on biotech products cannot be imposed for politically motivated reasons; instead, all decisions must be based on clear, sound science. Biotechnology has been used by farmers for more than 10 years and is proven to be safe and effective."
Statement by American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman regarding the World Trade Organization's recent ruling against the European Union's illegal moratorium on biotechnology approvals.