Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on September 29, 1997. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Ag Show Celebrates 20 Years On The Air
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi agriculture has evolved into a diverse, multibillion dollar industry in the last 20 years, and the Farmweek crews have covered it all.
Launched in October 1977, Farmweek continues to provide educational television viewers with news from every facet of the state's agriculture. Farmweek's 30-minute weekly shows are produced by Mississippi State University's Extension Service.
"While the shows have advanced technically along with all television production, the basic building blocks remain the same," said Artis Ford, managing editor and Farmweek co-anchor.
Each week's show includes a run-down on news affecting agriculture and the consumer, including government policies, farm industries and the latest news on agricultural markets. A calendar segment informs viewers of events taking place around the state, such as field days and short courses.
A 1995 independent survey indicated that about 198,000 adults watch Farmweek regularly.
Shows are broadcast on ETV at 7 p.m. Thursdays and repeated at 6 a.m. Friday. Farmweek celebrates its 20th anniversary on Oct. 9 with its 1,002 broadcast. An abbreviated version of each week's feature segment is broadcast on Public Radio in Mississippi each Thursday morning.
"By far, the most popular part of the show is the feature segment, which usually focuses on good land managers or innovative people," Ford said. "Regardless of a person's ag background, these features appeal to everyone."
Farmweek featured Sharkey County farmer Laurance Carter on a show in 1996. MSU ag specialists have conducted work on Carter's soybean farm to demonstrate the impact of following university recommendations.
"I appreciated the opportunity to tell about the soybean program," Carter said. "I know a good many city folk who watch Farmweek to keep up with what is happening on farms -- many of those people have country backgrounds."
Carter said the show amazed him when his sister saw his interview on an Ohio station.
Ford and co-anchor Leighton Spann worked in commercial news before joining Farmweek.
"Unlike working for a local television station, we are able to spend more time with the people in our stories and provide more in-depth information," said Spann, a 16-year veteran of commercial stations.
Recent years have brought a few changes to Farmweek. Shows are no longer produced in Jackson at the Mississippi ETV studio. MSU's Television Center is now the host site. Occasionally, the crew hits the road for remote broadcasts from major agricultural events, such as the Beltwide Cotton Conference.
Ford said some of the most important Farmweek news segment and features are sent to commercial markets and can be seen on local news shows or national productions such as Ag Day.
"Southern Gardening" segments with horticulturist Norman Winter sharing tips for gardeners and plant lovers across the state are aired on each Farmweek. These segments also are popular on area television stations.
The Mississippi Wildlife Federation named Farmweek its "1990 Conservation Communicator of the Year." Other awards have come from Agricultural Communicators in Education, the Mississippi Women Involved in Farm Economics, the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency.