Airing on the Side of Agriculture

Nebraska Broadcaster Joins Trade Mission

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts plans two international and two domestic trade missions a year as part of his mission to grow Nebraska. Jesse Harding (KRVN/Rural Radio Network, Lexington, NE) traveled with the first mission hosted by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Department of Economic Development. For the Governor’s first international trade mission, the delegation went to Italy, Belgium and Denmark. The goals were to meet with companies who already use Nebraska products, have trade talks and to hopefully bring business into the state. Jesse was invited to join the mission as the only media participant. She said her most interesting takeaways came from visiting with European officials about American and Nebraska agriculture.

Three Farm Broadcasters Working Together in Illinois

“Titles have changed this past year for the three of us that make up the RFD Radio Team,” reports Rita Frazer (RFD Radio Network®, Bloomington, IL). “In January, I became the Director of Network and Audio Services as Alan Jarand (seated) transitioned from Director to Part-time Audio Specialist. We feel very lucky to have Alan remain on the team with his golden voice, wisdom and institutional knowledge.” She added, “Kansas native DeLoss Jahnke joined our team in March of this year. It has only been a few months since he joined us here in Bloomington, but it feels like we have worked together forever. DeLoss and I have so much in common, including a love for farmers, agriculture, a passion for farm broadcasters and NAFB.

In Memorial

Veteran Illinois Broadcaster, Hayward Talley passes away. Talley who with a partner put WSMI (Litchfield, IL) on the air in 1950, has died at age 91. His son Brian is running the show now, but Mr. Talley was active in the station’s management and operation until late 2013.

Brownfield Reporter Covers Both Ag and Consumer News

Julie Harker (Brownfield Ag News, Jefferson City, MO) has been covering agriculture and consumer news for Brownfield since 2007. This has included events in her home state of Missouri and beyond – from Washington, DC, to Germany. Also, she produces a daily, 90-second consumer education program, Healthy Living, aimed at informing consumers about food and nutrition, striving to dispel commonly held misconceptions about them.

Student Job Led To Farm Broadcasting Career

While a Texas A&M University student, Don Atkinson (First Oklahoma Ag, Voice of Southwest Agriculture (VSA) and Yancey Ag Network, Oklahoma City, OK) had nearly 10 years of broadcasting experience under his belt when the on-campus office of the Extension Service hired him. Previously, he had worked as a disc jockey, news writer, copy writer and producer. Working in the Texas A&M radio-television unit, Don helped write and produce a weekly agricultural radio show for two years. 

New Farm Broadcaster at WGFA

When her father established the radio station in 1961, General Manager Stacey Smith said the call letters were chosen as an abbreviation for World’s Greatest Farming Area (WGFA). “We have always strived to bring quality ag news and information to our listeners,” she said. “Ken Root joined our team in 2010, replacing Colleen Callahan who went on to head the USDA Rural Development in Illinois. As Ken planned his retirement in April 2015, WGFA knew that having an NAFB farm broadcaster is important to the local ag communities. With Ken’s help, we are proud to introduce John Gooding as the WGFA new NAFB Farm Broadcaster, a familiar name to many residents of the Illiana area.” 

Flooding Threatens Radio Transmitter

Recent May rains threaten KSIR (Fort Morgan, CO) transmitter. Lorrie Boyer, Farm Director and Morning Show Host, said water came within inches of their station’s transmitter. “We were shutting it (transmitter) off at night as a safety precaution, but did not have to turn it off during the day.” She said they contracted out with an FM frequency to have KSIR simulcast on it in case they have to turn it off.

Heavy Rainfall Creates Challenges for Texas Agriculture

Tom Nicolette (Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network, Waco, TX) reports in the first 27 days of May, it rained 21 of them in certain regions of Texas. Wet conditions have washed out livestock fences, and cattle are losing weight from energy expended in trudging through muddy pastures or pens. Some wheat farmers will not be able to harvest a crop.  Cotton planting is behind schedule in south Texas and the Texas Panhandle. In the Coastal Bend area, grain sorghum planting is behind schedule. Tom said, “Wet weather is making it tough for Texas farmers and ranchers in both crop and livestock operations.

Drought Documentary

Erica Irlbeck (Allied Industry member, Lubbock, TX) and a group of college students are working with the National Ranching Heritage Center to produce a mini documentary on the 2011 drought and the impact it had on the agricultural industry. Erica is an assistant professor of agricultural communications at Texas Tech University. She is teaching two courses this summer: video production and advanced imaging and design. During the regular term, she teaches three courses: Video Production in Agriculture, Agricultural Communications Campaigns and Professional Development. Her research interests are risk and crisis communications, agriculture in television media and agricultural communications campaigns. Erica started her duties in September 2009 after earning her Doctor of Education degree in agricultural education from Texas Tech. Prior to her academic career, she worked in agricultural television news for AgDay Television and KLBK-TV (Lubbock, TX), farm radio for Clear Channel Networks, public relations and advertising.

Heart Campaign

NAFB Executive Director Tom Brand and his wife, Beth, became involved with the American Heart Association (AHA) following Tom’s heart attack and bypass surgery in 2013. Tom personally set a goal to raise $2,500 at the Heart Walk recently in St. Joseph, MO, and currently his effort has raised $2,300.