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. 

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.” 

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.

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.

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.

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