Episode 802 – America’s Heartland

Episode 802 – America’s Heartland


America’s Heartland is made
possible by: The United Soybean Board whose “Common
Ground” program creates conversations to help
consumers get the facts about farming and food. There’s more at:
findourcommonground.com The American Farm Bureau
Foundation for Agriculture. Dedicated to building
greater awareness and understanding of agriculture
through education and engagement. More information at:
agfoundation.org Farm Credit – financing
agriculture and rural America since 1916. Farm Credit is cooperatively
owned by America’s farmers and ranchers. Learn more at
farmcredit.com. The Fund for Agriculture
Education – A fund created by KVIE to support America’s
Heartland programming. Contributors include the
following – I’m Kristen Simoes. When it comes
to agriculture, consumers these days are
asking many more questions about animal welfare
and sustainability. We’ll saddle up and take you
to northern California where one ranching family is
taking a proactive approach to protecting animals
and the environment. Welcome to the winter
lettuce capitol of the country. I’m Rob Stewart. We’ll take you to Yuma,
Arizona where the winter lettuce harvest is
rolling right along. You could call this area
America’s Salad Bowl. Hi, I’m Jason Shoultz. Coming up I’ve got a very
unusual livestock story to tell you about. I’ll take you to Northern
Nevada where sheep and lambs are being used to prevent
wildfires in urban areas. Hi, I’m Sarah Gardner. Soybeans are one of the most
versatile crops used by farmers in the heartland. They’re used in everything
from cooking oils to crayons. We’re taking you to Kentucky
this time where soybeans are the key ingredient used by
a micro-brewery to create “Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce!” It’s all coming up on
America’s Heartland.   ♪ You can see it in the eyes
  of every woman and man ♪   ♪ in America’s Heartland
  living close to the land. ♪   ♪ There’s a love
  for the country ♪   ♪ and a pride in the brand ♪   ♪ in America’s Heartland
  living close, ♪   close to the land ♪   If I mentioned “cattle
ranching” you’d probably think of some wide open
spaces in Texas or maybe Colorado. But we’re here in northern
California where cattle ranching and conservation
are all part of one ranching family’s future.     ♪ I towed a heard of cattle on
  the grass today…♪ Scott Stone is always happy
to share a cowboy song with visitors…on land that’s
been home to cattle ranching since the California
Gold Rush. And just as in the
past it’s land that’s often worked on
horseback…as Scott, his brother, Casey, their
wives and families raise grass fed Black
Angus cattle. Consumers today are much
better educated than they were in past years I think
and the beauty of the beef business that we’re in today
is that we are able to offer so many choices
to the consumer.   Scott and Casey joined
their dad, Hank, who established the Yolo
Land and Cattle Company in the 1970’s. From the beginning, the
concept was to raise beef…in harmony
with the land. We’d like to see this ranch
return to the state it used to exist in one
hundred years ago. Because one
hundred years ago, what you saw on the hillside
was perennial grasses, you didn’t have the invasive
species that we have now that have come into
California in over the last one hundred years. Today, the family runs more
than 700 head of their cattle on range land
enhanced by their conservation projects
including rotational grazing, solar powered
irrigation and re-establishing
native plants. The Ranch won a national
environmental stewardship award in 2007. And they took steps to
protect these rolling hills from encroaching
urban development. In 2005 we put a
conservation easement on 7,000 acres of this ranch. So this ranch is now
protected in perpetuity and will remain a
working cattle ranch. But raising cattle or crops
in the heartland often means challenges. This season, a lack of rain
left watering holes nearly empty, raising questions
about how many cattle the ranch could sustain. Happily…for the Stones,
late spring storms made all the difference. Seven inches of rain,
at the right time, can make a tremendous
difference. There’s no way we
can make that happen. The good Lord provides
that extra rain. And it’s…the grass
is growing, I think, faster than I ever seen it
grow in the last month. And that makes us
smile as cattlemen. There are other challenges
faced by ranchers today. Concerns, not only about
the environment but animal welfare and marketing
questions about what consumers want. To that end, the family
often hosts visitors, like these chefs in training
from the Culinary Institute of America.   When you’re trying to market
and promote your product, which in our case is beef. It’s important that people
see you’re doing it, producing it in a manner
in which they, and you, can be proud of. There’s a reason why the
annual grasses have kind of taken over because the
animals have selectively grazed out the perennials
over the years.   We provide grass-finished
cattle and we also sell cattle into
grain-finished markets. So really, we’re covering
all gamuts of the industry for consumers who have
different choices about what kind of meat that
they want to eat. And being in the food
industry we have a responsibility, an
inherent responsibility, to try to teach people
how we produce our food, and that we’re doing
it in a safe manner. The Stone family is already
looking ahead to the next generation. Youngsters, Carson, Wilson
and Keeley may someday join their parents to continue
a ranching tradition. But they admit, you need to
love the work…along with the lifestyle. We’ve tried to make this
place better than the way we found it and to be good
stewards of the land. It’s our passion,
it’s who we are. This isn’t an 8-5 job, so
when you’re dealing with live animals you have a huge
responsibility to take care of them and that’s who
we are and we’re very passionate about it. When you go out here on
horseback chasing cows and the flowers are blooming’,
birds are chirping’ I mean, that what makes
life spectacular. And not many people have the
opportunity to be out here doing that.   Before the
California Gold Rush, ranchers in the Golden State
sold their cattle primarily for hides and tallow. But as prospectors arrived
prices for beef and other agricultural products
jumped dramatically. Steers which cost just 4
dollars a head in 1847 cost nearly 20 times that much
in San Francisco by 1848.   Now, let us talk
a little lettuce. We’re at the Desert
Premium Farms in Yuma, Arizona where the harvest
of winter lettuce is full steam ahead.   Great in salads, lettuce
is one of the most popular vegetables at
your supermarket. American farmers will
produce one quarter of the lettuce grown on earth. But the green and leafy
favorite is highly perishable – which means the
challenge for growers is to pick it, pack it and
get it to consumers. I would say millions of
people have eaten ours and our neighbor’s lettuce
grown in this area. The average American will
consume about 30 pounds of lettuce each year. Much of it comes from these
fields near Yuma, Arizona. We produce this product as a
collective and we all have pride in it. We want the market to
have a good reputation. On this late
February afternoon, farm workers spread across
the fields to harvest different kinds of lettuce
from iceberg to romaine. How soon will this
be to a consumer, and on someone’s table? Two days to two weeks,
depending on where you’re at in the U.S. or Canada. You service some of the
largest fast food chains in the country. There’s a bunch of growers
here in Yuma that produce for companies that supply
all of those large restaurant chains with
consistent product throughout the year, day in
and day out, year round. So we literally are standing
in the largest supplier of winter lettuce
in the country. Yeah, this area
here in Yuma is a… salad is big business here. That’s what we’re
looking for. Yeah, looks gorgeous. Kent Inglett and John Boelts
farm three thousand acres of land in southwest
Arizona and these days, farmers must
look beyond picking and packing to meet
consumer demand. In the lettuce game,
“presentation” and “preparation” are
also important. The way that it’s handled in
the field for use in Romaine hearts later on is,
they’ll take the bottom off, which we call tailing,
and they’ll take the top off, which the crews are a
lot better at it than I am. They do this in the field? Then they’ll drop
the outside leaves. And that’s what
you’re left with, which is a heart of Romaine. It’s beautiful. And what the customer’s
looking for is when you’re all finished doing all
that, when it goes through processing. Oh look, there it is. They’re looking for the two
different colors of lettuce, so you have a nice color
contrast on your plate when you’re serving. There’s your Caesar salad. John and Kent credit their
contract workers for helping to make the business
successful. Many in these fields are
Mexican citizens who commute into the U.S. daily to bring in the
year round harvests. You know, hands on
stuff that people do, it’s a true
craftsmanship trade. And to be able to do what
some of the folks on our crews do, or some of
our tractor drivers or irrigators do, a lot of
people talk about ag labor not being skilled. Whether you’re driving a
combine in the Midwest harvesting grain, or you’re
cutting lettuce and trucking it to market, it’s
highly skilled labor. Come on, it’s picnic time! Come on Daisy! Come on kids! A midday meal here often
means lunch alongside the fields. This is Romaine lettuce that
we just harvested about an hour ago from there. What’s your favorite food?
Lettuce. And why is lettuce
your favorite food? Because daddy grows it! What does it mean to you to
know that you guys really are supplying a product
to the entire country? I think it gives you a
sense of pride that you’re producing not
just a product, but something that helps
people grow and helps families and is healthy
for families as well. It gives you a sense
of knowing that it’s worthwhile. John does work a lot of
hours being a farmer, but it is something
worthwhile. John and Kent don’t know yet
if their youngsters will be “a next generation
of farmers.” What they do know is that
their fields of green have become their
fields of dreams. The lifestyle it affords me,
we do work a lot of hours but we can spend a lot
more time with our family. It’s more a traditional way
of life for us and that’s just the way I choose
to live my life.   If “iceberg” lettuce
is on your salad plate, you may be interested to
know that before the 1920’s “iceberg” was better known
as “crisp head” lettuce. The name change came when
the round heads of lettuce were covered with crushed
ice for shipping to eastern markets. I’m Jason Shoultz, still
ahead when the grass is dry the fire danger is high. Coming up I’ll take you to
northern Nevada to see how livestock are being used
to prevent wildfires. Coming up, are you up
for something special in condiments? How about Bourbon
Barrel Soy Sauce? We’ll take you to Kentucky
where the best in soy is used in the brew.   Hi, my name is Marcus
Meisler and I have a question about agriculture. Now I know that improving
the environment is on everyone’s mind these days
and I’ve actually read that “crop rotation” is one
approach to supporting sustainability when
it comes to farming. But I just don’t know what
those words mean to the farmer or to me
as a consumer. Let’s give you a little
information that just might clear up those “definition
difficulties”. When we talk about rotating
crops….we’re NOT talking about “circular” corn fields
or those big irrigation arms that move in a circle to
water crops across parts of the heartland. Crop rotation really has to
do with planting different crops in the same field from
year to year as a way to improve soil conditions
and reduce the need for artificial fertilizers. How does it work? Well, way back in time,
farmers discovered that if you keep planting the same
crop year after year you use up the nutrients in that
soil and get disappointing harvests. But, plant a different
crop and you can replenish the field by adding new
nitrogen to the soil. Crop rotation can also
improve soil structure and fertility by alternating
deep-rooted with shallow-rooted plants. So, what’s rotated? Well soybeans and corn are
big players in the rotation game with the beans adding
nutrients to the soil and improving yields. But, lots of other plant
choices come into play. Think about rye, oats and
barley even clover, depending on the soil,
the climate and how much rain a farmer can
expect to get. Which bring us to the other
word you asked about: All of this works to improve the
soil, making it possible to “sustain” the land and get
a better harvest year after year.   We’ve brought you some
unusual stories here on America’s Heartland and this
one may well fit within that category. We’re taking you to northern
Nevada to see how one rancher and community member
are teaming up to help prevent wildfires
using sheep and lambs.   American ranchers raised
more than 5 million sheep and lambs in 2011. Not only livestock that
ended up on your dinner table, but animals that
provided nearly 30 million pounds of wool for things
like sweaters and suits. Ted Borda’s family has been
ranching these “wooly” animals for
nearly a century. My grandfather
came from France. Herd sheep for his brother. And
by 1918/1917 he was married. And by 1920 he
owned his own sheep. And we’ve been in the
sheep business since then.   Ted is a retired teacher. He turned to full time sheep
ranching a decade ago. For the most part, Ted’s
three thousand sheep graze open areas in
northwest Nevada. But, come spring, they take
on a different task tied to a disaster that
happened in 2004. It was then that an
explosive wildfire called the Waterfall
Fire consumed nearly nine thousand acres near Nevada’s
capital of Carson City. That blaze injured
five people, destroyed some two dozen
structures and threatened more than five hundred homes
and businesses before it was brought under control. As the sun came up and
more resources responded, this fire continued to grow. It literally ran south to
north across the entire face here of western Carson City. Fire investigators later
pointed to a non-native plant called “cheat grass”
as a major source of fuel that fed the
fast-moving fire. It’s an annual grass. It dries out early
in the spring. It’s a very fine
textured grass. And so it’s very easy to
ignite and it burns very rapidly. Carson City officials knew
something had to be done to control the cheat grass- to
help prevent future fires. Considering options for
eradicating the cheatgrass, residents favored “targeted
grazing” over things like herbicides or
controlled burns. With that feedback,
officials reached out to sheep ranchers… like
Ted Borda. His livestock will graze on
land adjacent to homes and commercial property. The city covers his cost
of transporting the sheep.   It was 20 million dollars
to fight the fire. They lost another
18 million dollars in homes. So this is a pretty cheap
way to knock down those fuels so if you have a
fire you can control it. The sheep will only eat the
cheat grass in the spring when the plant is short,
green and tender. It’s a good feed right
now, they like it, they’ll eat it and when the
seeds are soft they’ll eat it. But when the seeds start
getting hard they won’t touch it. During the early spring, the
sheep can plow through a lot of cheatgrass. If we have about 800 sheep,
using approximate numbers of forage, of what they will
eat, and through the week, we’re anticipating about 13
tons of fuel being reduced off the landscape per week. Civic leaders say their
“targeted grazing” is a “green” approach to
reducing the fire hazard. We pride ourselves in Carson
City about open space, the sheep grazing is
good not only for fuel management, but it’s just
good to tell people, “You know what, you can
use nature to take care of nature.” As for the sheep? Well, many residents here
will tell you they’re happy to have them in
their back yards. And Ted Borda believes the
program also showcases his sheep as being a
community asset. This grazing is something
that is good for the sheep man. It’s something that is
good for the community. I think it’s shown to be
a positive for everybody.   There are some nine hundred
different breeds of sheep worldwide and those wooly
coats deliver a good deal of fabric. A pound of wool can be drawn
out to more than five miles of yarn. But you’ll find wool fibers
in much more than suits and sweaters. Open a modern baseball and
you’ll find more than 450 feet of yarn wound around
a cushioned cork center.   Soybeans are an important
commodity in American agriculture. They are used for animal
feed around the world and human foods using soybeans
and soy-based products have enjoyed a much higher
profile in recent years. Soy sauce is one
of those foods. And here in Kentucky serving
up the sauce means using a down home recipe.   Soy sauce has been a
valuable food ingredient in Asia for more than
two thousand years. And while soy sauce is
produced in the United States, it’s not necessarily
a condiment you associate with Kentucky. I can easily say that I’m
the only micro-brewery of soy sauce in the U.S. But, if you go to Japan
there are about 1500 micro-breweries. Over there it’s a lot
like wine in France, beer in Germany,
or bourbon here. It’s very regional. Matt spent years researching
this specialty food item, before he finally sunk his
teeth into brewing soy sauce in the Bluegrass state. The fact that we’re doing it
in Kentucky makes perfect sense because of what
we have around us. Not only the heritage and
history with bourbon, but also this limestone
filtered spring water that we have, which is the reason
why all of the distilleries are here. Aside from locally grown soy
beans and clean Kentucky water, Matt says his
ingredients include winter wheat, sea salt, yeast,
and one other important fermenting feature. Bourbon barrels —
specifically from historic Kentucky distilleries. These barrels are unique in
that they’ve had the bourbon in them already. Woodford Reserve – it’s
in there for seven years. So, when we take them
apart, you can smell that. Ahhh… All this is going to
go into our soy sauce. So, it’s exciting. I could say it’s
intoxicating. The process starts with
cooking the soy beans for about five hours. We want them to
be nice and soft. You can squeeze them
between your fingers. Yeah. You’re there. You’re set. You’re ready to go. So that allows the
yeast to penetrate. Matt then refines the wheat. Why is it important
to crack it up? This will open up the
wheat for the yeast. So, the soy beans get cooked
to make them soft so the yeast can penetrate. The wheat gets roasted and
cracked so the yeast can penetrate. The two ingredients are
mixed and inoculated with yeast. The mixture is then allowed
to cook in these aging drawers for two-and-a-half
days becoming what the Japanese call “koji”
(KOE-gee) – a form of dry mash. Over the course of
two-and-a-half-days, the beans start to change
and the yeast takes hold. And you can see the big
difference between the two here. One’s nice and toasty warm. And you can feel this. Oh, wow, what a difference. Yeah, we try to keep this
under 104 degrees and above 80 degrees. As the koji is cooking, the
limestone filtered water is mixed with sea
salt…creating a brine in the wooden bourbon barrels. Then the koji is added to
the liquid – aging in the barrels and
becoming a wet mash. Matt says his intent is to
create a condiment with rich, well
developed flavors. He says many factory-made
soy sauces are produced quickly. His will take 12 months. It’s a little sweeter. And it has a hint of that
oak that has been saturated with bourbon. After that year of aging,
the mash is scooped from the barrels and ladled into a
press lined with muslin. The muslin is then
wrapped over the mash. Boards and a jack are placed
on top and the mixture is squeezed….pressing the
soy sauce into a container below. Okay. I’m going to add just a
touch more of his soy sauce. As the executive chef at
a Louisville, restaurant, Edward Lee uses soy sauce in
many of his Asian-American creations. But, he says, at first he
didn’t believe in Matt’s project. I thought it was
pretty crazy. But, luckily enough I
actually was open minded enough to go and try it. Because once I tried it I
realized it was really some of the best soy
sauce I’ve ever had. Chef Lee says Matt’s soy
sauce is part of a trend he sees in food
production in America. That’s part of what makes
American cuisine right now real exciting. It’s not just the chefs that
are doing the great things. But, it’s the people
– the cheese makers, the dairy farmers, all the
people that are producing great foods here in America. Although Matt is celebrating
five years of continued growth, he says his main
marketing hurdle is educating the public about
the differences in soy sauce, which is why he
promotes his product like a fine wine. People always look at me
funny when I want them to try the soy sauce out of
a wine glass like this. But I think it’s important
for you to taste it and to see what the differences
are between what you’re accustomed to having, and
then what else is available out there. Well, I can tell you that
the aroma from your soy sauce, it makes me want to
drink it like a nice wine. Well, then let’s do it.   That’s going to
wrap it up for us. We’re glad you could come
along to discover the interesting people and
places in America’s Heartland. And remember you can stay
in touch with us 24/7. We make it easy for
you, just log on to americasheartland dot org or
follow us on some of your favorite sites as well. We’ll see you next time
right here on America’s Heartland. You can purchase a DVD
or Blu Ray copy of this program. Here’s the cost:   To order just visit us online or call     ♪ You can see it in the eyes
  of every woman and man ♪   ♪ in America’s Heartland
  living close to the land. ♪   ♪ There’s a love
  for the country ♪   ♪ and a pride in the brand ♪   ♪ in America’s Heartland
  living close, ♪   ♪close to the land.♪   Americas Heartland is made
possible by The United Soybean Board whose “Common
Ground” program creates conversations to help
consumers get the facts about farming and food. There’s more at:
findourcommonground.com. The American Farm Bureau
Foundation for Agriculture. Dedicated to building
greater awareness and understanding of agriculture
through education and engagement. More information at:
agfoundation.org. Farm Credit – financing
agriculture and rural America since 1916. Farm Credit is cooperatively
owned by America’s farmers and ranchers. Learn more at
farmcredit.com. The Fund for Agriculture
Education – A fund created by KVIE to support America’s
Heartland programming. Contributors include the
following –  

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8 thoughts on “Episode 802 – America’s Heartland

  1. I fucking hate this shitting video the only reason im watching is because my whorey slutty bitch ass teacher is making me.

  2. I hate it when people say farm/field work is not skilled work. If you can easily ruin an entire crop ( work and money) if you do not know what you are doing.

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