Farmweek’s home – Mississippi - is one of the South’s most geographically diverse states, encompassing the rich soils and flat landscape of the Delta, the rolling, pine-covered hills of the northern counties, and the sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast. The state’s most important resource is its people, about one-fourth of who have jobs with ties to agriculture.
Farmweek is the weekly agriculture news program of the Mississippi State University Extension Service and is produced by MSU’s Office of Agricultural Communications. The first show aired October 3, 1977, on what is now the Mississippi Public Broadcasting network. In those early years each week’s program was produced in Jackson, Mississippi, at the M-P-B studios and then broadcast over the 8- station network. Now Farmweek is produced each week at the Mississippi State University Television Center on the campus in Starkville, in northeast Mississippi. Anyone interested in U.S. agriculture will find that Farmweek is a benefit to the agricultural lineup on “Rural America’s Most Important Network”, RFD-TV.
“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.
“The format hasn’t changed much through the years, and topics include traditional agriculture, land management, timber, wildlife and fisheries, aquaculture, ag-related businesses and more,” Ford said. Each week’s program includes a news segment, an episode of Norman Winter’s Southern Gardening, a market segment and a feature segment. There is also a calendar segment informing viewers of upcoming events, such as field days and Extension short courses.
“The program originated as a link to the agricultural community from the Extension Service, but it has since evolved to focus more on providing laymen with a background in agriculture,” said Leighton Spann, Farmweek co-anchor and market segment producer. “We still try to provide a link to commercial farmers, while trying to inform the general public of what is going on in agriculture since it is such a major player in the Mississippi economy.” “By far, the most popular part of the show is the feature segment, which usually focuses on good land managers or innovative people,” co-anchor Ford said. “Regardless of a person’s ag background, these features appeal to everyone.”
Farmweek is Mississippi’s oldest and only locally-produced agricultural television program. It is a vehicle for Mississippi State University specialists, scientists and researchers, as well as specialists from other agencies, to use in presenting useful information and land management advice directly to viewers. This is usually done by showing viewers what other Mississippi residents have accomplished. One gauge of the program’s effectiveness is the fact that viewers often contact Farmweek producers or the individuals involved in a story to find out how they can implement the particular practice or program that was demonstrated in a segment. Another gauge of Farmweek’s effectiveness and quality is the recognition the program regularly receives from other professional communicators. Awards have come from the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE), the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi, the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters, and other organizations. You can find Farmweek on the World Wide Web at www.farmweek.msucares.com
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Airs: Wednesday 9pm (et) / 8pm (ct)
Thursday 11am (et) / 10am (ct)