Episode 815 – America’s Heartland

Episode 815 – America’s Heartland


“America’s Heartland
is made possible by…” 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 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 Fund for Agriculture
Education – A fund created by KVIE to support America’s
Heartland programming. Contributors include
the following Hi I’m Jason Shoultz. A lack of rain means drying
grass and a wilted garden for most of us. But, coming up, I’ll take
you to Wyoming where drought conditions played a very
different role for one woman farmer whose harvest
turned bad news into good. Hi there, I’m Rob Stewart. We’re keeping our eyes to
the skies this time as we examine just how devastating
a drought can be.. we’re going to Arkansas…but this
story’s not about corn or soybeans. It’s about how devastating
a drought can be for cattle ranchers
and their livestock. They have great color when
you cook them and you can serve them up
plain or fancy. Hi, I’m Sharon Vaknin and
I’ll share some great recipes using green beans. Hi, I’m Sarah Gardner. You’ve heard the phrase
“Milk does a body good.” Well, once you turn it into
cheese curds or ice cream it does the taste buds
pretty good too. I’ll take you to an up and
coming creamery in Wisconsin that’s developed a wide
range of products to meet consumer demand. 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 ♪ ♪   I think we all know just how devastating a lack
of rainfall can be. Just think about the crops
in your own yard or garden and farmers growing corn or soy
beans can see their entire crop wiped out when months
of no rain occur but did you know that a
drought can be just as devastating for cattle
ranchers and their livestock? ♪   It’s a challenge as old
as farming itself.. the uncertainty that nature
can bring each day and each season. We started back
in, with an early, easy spring and then when
the middle of April showed up, the rains quit. So from mid-April
through May and June, which normally gives us
good rainfall, we got, we got zero. That zero rainfall has been
crippling to cattleman Gary Rowlands. he lack of moisture and
withering heat impacted pasture land and sent
hay prices soaring. With feed too expensive,
Gary was forced to begin selling off his livestock. I’ve sold about 20 or 25
percent of my cows. I’ll sell about that many more. Some of my neighbors have sold
all of their cattle. Gary’s family has been
farming this Arkansas land for more than a century. Gary even has
the original 1893 land grant from President Grover Cleveland,
awarding the farm to his great-grandfather, David. Gary says he and his family
watched as the drought turned spring’s grassland
to summer’s dusty fields. What did it look like ?>>Brown. It went from green to brown. All the grass went away. We kept thinking well,
someday this will stop and it just kept going until
everything was gone. The U.S. Drought Monitor
classified the Rowlands Farm as a D4 category: an
“exceptional drought” – the worst level,
the worst in decades. It’s affected everyone
that’s in the industry. Not just the guys that grow
the crops and raise the livestock. The fellows that, uh, have
the tractor dealership downtown, they’re not selling those guys; they’re not selling
the equipment. Their repair shops
are almost vacant.>>It’s like nothing
I’ve ever seen before. Phil Sims is the Pope
County Extension Agent. He says you can’t put a
number on the drought impact on row crops,
hay meadows and pastures. How does the drought
ripple-effect affect the consumers? The price of corn,
it’s skyrocketing. The price of soybeans
is skyrocketing. And you’re seeing any
of your products that have corn syrup,
that have soybean oil, And that essentially ends up
coming out of our back pockets.>>In a higher way. In a higher way. Cattle sale barns have been
filled with farmers selling off their stock. But now half the cattle
herd here – is gone. We’ve sold three and
four year old cattle. The cows that we would be
using to produce the calves next year, they went to
Oklahoma and Texas to replenish their herds. Those cows then,
that was next year’s calf crop.>>I see. So we sold the factory.>>So what do you say to the
farmer who is struggling? All we can do is try to
coach them on how to be better managers for the future. How to do what they’ve
done, different, so that they won’t fall into
the same trap they have this time. Back at Rowlands Farms,
Gary’s not giving up. Inspecting what’s
left of his herd, he plans to weather this
drought and rebuild his cattle operation over
the next few years. I don’t know of a more
resilient entrepreneur than a farmer. Well, you have to like it. If you don’t
like the business, you’re not going
to do well in it.>>For 50 years, Gary worked
the family farm with his father. Gary remembers his dad’s advice
about hard times. Dad said no matter what the
adversity that came along, we’d get through it. And then he told me once you
can’t have roses every day. That’s part of our heritage,
and we still work through those days when we’re
not getting roses. And it’s just my way of life.   Since the 1970’s, the percentage
of global land surface touched by drought has
increased dramatically. The U.S. is no stranger
to drought. Between 1931 and 1938,
drought conditions reduced many parts of the Great
Plains to a dustbowl. And much earlier, an
extended period of drought in the 13th century
destroyed a large number of native American tribal
cities in the southwest.   Running a farm,
like any small business means looking out for
your bottom line. And that doesn’t mean just
watching the cost of fuel rise or getting the
right employees. For farmers and ranchers,
they’ve got to look to the sky and worry about the weather. One woman farmer in Wyoming
discovered that some bad news about rainfall actually turned
into good news at harvest time. ♪   Welcome to Torrington, Wyoming. Farmers and ranchers in this
southeast corner of the state say it’s a great place
to flourish as a farmer. Goshen County is the largest
agriculture producing county in the state of Wyoming
since they started keeping records back in the 1940’s. But good crops depend on water. For this growing season,
the news has not been good. Since January 2012, we have
had 1.8 inches of rain here, which is very unusual. We generally, in this area,
have twelve to thirteen inches of rain or moisture
throughout the year. Lois Van Mark is a fourth
generation grower. Along with her father, she
operates a two thousand acre no till, dry land
farming operation. That means she doesn’t
till the soil, and relies on rainfall
to irrigate her crops. Normally, Lois diversifies
her operation by planting a variety of crops. But this season, the drought
has forced her to grow only winter wheat. That decision is a financial
gamble for farmers like her. We only averaged about 16
to 18 bushels per acre. I think the average
in this area is 25. But, one positive result
of that lack of rainfall is a change in the wheat itself. The low moisture “stresses”
the plant and affects one aspect of its yield. Wheat is an interesting plant. When it goes under stress
it generally will produce pretty high protein content. And, so we had some protein
content of 14 and 15 percent which is phenomenally
high for this area. Lois delivered her crop to
a nearby grain elevator. A test sample verifies
its high-protein content. So Lois earns a premium
thanks to the grain’s increased market value. You’ll be able to market
that to certain mills throughout the country that
are looking for certain high quality you know proteins to
hit whether it’s for their flour or their pastas
or their cereals. You know nutrition bars. Bob Dietzler works with
growers to test wheat quality and purchases crops
based on commodity markets. “you can see that for 14-6
you’ll get 46 cents for that.” Other market conditions have
played out in Lois’s favor. This season, market prices
have increased significantly and there’s an added benefit
for the protein premium. She in reality got more
along the lines of a better than eight dollar and ten
cent per bushel price. She had one load that wanted
sixteen percent protein so she’s the new –
she’s the champion right now. This is the highest we’ve
ever sold wheat for, this price today. So we’re very happy. And on top of that we had
very good protein contents in our wheat and we got
an additional bonus for the protein content
which is really exciting. So, we’re excited about that. “And here’s that sheet you
were looking for..” Even Lois’s father, who’s
been farming all his life, was astonished by the news. I’ve never seen a
16% protein wheat. And we have one load
that went 16. We have a lot of them at 15,
and you get a semi loads at that rate you’re really
making a big impact. Farmers here in Goshen
County want consumers to understand the many
variables that play out in determining whether
you even get a crop and how much it will bring it. And how something like drought
can not only affect yield, but the very grain that
makes its way to your table. It’s exciting for me to be able
to say that in this area of the country
where it is so arid, it’s consistently dry here,
we can produce a quality wheat product year after year. And the gratification for me
is not so much that you’re eating my wheat. The gratification is for me
to be able to communicate to you this is what you’re eating
and this is what had to go into making that product
that gratifies you and gives you nutrition. I’m glad to be a part of the
cycle that produces the food that feeds this
country and the world.   Let’s talk about some
foods made from wheat. Chocolate chip cookies
make the list as, perhaps, the most popular cookie
in America. The average American will
eat more than 20 pounds of pasta each year. And by the way, Thomas Jefferson
is credited with bringing the first pasta making machine
from Europe in 1789.   I’m Sharon Vaknin. Still ahead,
we’ll go from Farm to Fork with some special recipes
using green beans ..one of my favorite
summer vegetables. I’m Sarah Gardner. It’s a creamery with a
direct customer connection. Coming up I’ll take you to
the dairy land for milk – and a whole lot more. ♪   Hi I’m Paul Robins
and here’s something you may not have known
about agriculture. If I said, “tractor” well
you’d probably know what I was talking about. Specific machinery used
to operate a variety of equipment on farms
here and around the world. Tractors have dramatically
changed the way that farmers work their fields. A change that started
way back in the 1800’s. Horses and oxen
have been used to farm for hundreds of years, but by the middle of the
19th century, inventors were trying out
steam as a means to power farm equipment. Farmers began hauling
portable steam engines to farm fields to drive
harvesting and threshing
equipment. Two of the portable engines
were sometimes used at opposite ends of a field..
to pull a plow by means of a cable. By 1870, rolling steam
powered “traction engines” as they were called..
were being used for plowing. But, at the turn
of the 20th century, internal combustion engines
were replacing steam powered models and the word
“tractor” had replaced “Traction Engines.” Well, by the 1920’s and 30’s, tractor production and use had
exploded in the United States. Custom models were produced
by firms like John Deere, International Harvester.. even Henry Ford
got into the act. The result was a dramatic
growth in the number of farmers using tractors along with
the ability to work farm land faster and more efficiently. Crop yields increased. Supermarkets were able to
offer a greater selection of new products for consumers. Tractors produced some
dramatic social changes in this country Tractors
reduced the need for as many farm workers, creating
a shift in the population to an urban workforce. Today, tractors are using
global positioning systems to plant and harvest crops. And thanks in part
to the tractor, farmers today can produce
dramatically more food than their ancestors did
a hundred years ago.   Maybe you think that green
beans are boring but today we’re going to
convince you otherwise. Ron, you grow these babies,
so tell me a little bit about your farm. Green beans are just one
of the different types of beans that I grow on the farm
and I like specializing in fresh beans,
they’re so much more flavorful and healthy. I also have fresh
black-eyed peas, Crowder peas, speckled butter beans,
cranberry beans.>>You’re like King of the Beans. I guess you could say that. Okay, so how labor intensive
is it to grow these guys. All of my products are hand
harvested so that’s where the labor intensity comes in. Well we have some beautiful
green beans right now so lets make the most of them so what are you cooking up
today? Well I’m going to make a
green bean and egg burrito garnished with jalapeno
peppers and fresh tomato. Sounds good. I’m making a green bean slaw
and the first thing we need to do is prep our green beans. We’re going to blanche these
for just a couple minutes to cut the bitterness. These guys are bright green
and ready so I’m going to strain them and then immediately
put them in a bowl of ice water. What this will do is keep
them from continuing the cooking process
so they stay crunchy and bright. Now let’s prepare the
rest of our vegetables. If you could make ribbons
out of these guys. I’m going to julienne the
peppers and the jicama. Jicama has a slightly
grainier texture than green beans, which I like
because then what we’re doing is really bringing out
the crunch of those beans. So now I’ll get started on
the red bell peppers if you’ll thinly slice the red
onions and I’m going to just mince one clove of garlic. Throw the garlic in there
and then we’ll do a little bit of rice vinegar,
a tablespoon of honey, sesame oil, soy sauce and
now lets give it a whisk. Why don’t you go ahead and
drop these guys in there, I’ll add almonds
and sesame seeds. Pour our dressing over
and mix this salad up. Let’s do your green
bean and egg burritos. Okay, first of all
what we’re going to do is snap the green beans just like we did
before in your dish but we snap them
a little bit smaller. I’d like for you to add
a little bit of lime. I like to use lime in the
place of salt to kind of cut the freshness you know. Well that’s new to me so I’m
excited to see what this tastes like. Well stay tuned. (laugh) Put them in
the boiling water. All right how long should
those sit in there? We wait till the beans
change color to show that they’re cooking. We don’t want them real soft, but we don’t want them crunchy. OK, cool. So now what? I’ll go ahead and slice this
onion if you’ll dice some bell pepper. For the amount we’re making,
I think that would be enough right there. Oh really? Ok. Then I’m also going to have
you dice the jalapeno. You decide how hot
you want the dish. Ooo! Well I have a high
tolerance for spice so… Heat it up. You can do it? Ok! If you don’t mind dicing
a tomato, maybe two. OK if you can help me out
here by cracking these eggs and you can go
ahead and whisk. And then I’m going to go
ahead and sauté these bell peppers, jalapenos
and onions. Then I put in the green beans,
stir them in, mix them up just to get them warm
a little bit. Pour the egg in and scramble it
in the texture or doneness that you normally would have
your scrambled eggs. And then I’ll let you go
ahead and just roll the tortillas
and make a burrito. Put the amount of tomatoes
and fresh onions and jalepenos that you
would like in there. We have two beautiful
green bean dishes and neither one of them
is a green bean casserole. All right, lets dig in. I’ve never had raw jicama. These are good. Really? So the next time I’m in a store
and I’m shopping for green beans what should I look for? Well of course you look
for the color: bright green appears that its fresh and
then you try to snap it. If they’re crisp and they
snap then you know they’re fresh. Well I think with our teamwork
today we have proven that green beans are anything
but boring. I agree. When you go to the store
you want choices – different flavors of ice cream
or cheese for example. A lot of customers want
organic options in the dairy case. Well here at Sassy Cow Creamery
just outside of Madison, Wisconsin –
providing customers with choices is critical to their success.   Whether at the grocery
store or elsewhere, surveys show that consumers
today want more choices in their food selection. And farmers and ranchers
are meeting the demand for more organic foods as well. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture certified just 13 thousand
organic dairy cows in 1997. By 2008 that number had grown
to a quarter million animals. Those statistics impact the
kind of choices being made by farmers. Numbers that played
a role in production for Wisconsin’s
Sassy Cow Creamery. Back in 2000, brothers James
and Robert Baerwolf took their parents’ dairy farm,
split the herds in two, and began producing both
organic and non-organic or traditional milk products. At my farm we have
200 organic cows. And at my brother Robert’s farm
we have 400 non-organic cows. So, are all your products
both organic and non-organic from the creamery? Yes, We offer two
separate lines. Some of our customers choose
to purchase organic milk in some of our stores as well. And then some of our customers
in store locations choose to purchase
our non-organic milk. With their dairy herd
totaling several hundred cows on two separate farms,
the Baerwolf brothers provide organically grown feed
to that livestock segment and traditional feed
to their other cows. Between the two farms sits
the production facility – a creamery built in 2008. Here hundreds of pounds of
cheese are processed.. ..hundreds of quarts of ice
cream are manufactured.. And more than 20 thousand
gallons of milk are bottled – each and every week:
Organic and non-organic in separate production runs. So, this is where the cheese
curd operation happens. Yep, this is our cheese vat. We started at about
six this morning. How many gallons
or ounces of.. 3000 pounds of milk.>>3000 pounds of milk? Yes. So how many gallons
of chocolate milk? Oh about 600 gallons. 600 gallons,
what once a week? Yep, Thursday is our
chocolate milk day. The majority of the Sassy
Cow dairy products will be delivered to grocery stores
and supermarkets all across the state of Wisconsin. But the Baerwolf brothers
also saw a need to augment their dairy entrepreneurship
with their own retail operation Serving both segments
of the buying public, their farm store offers
organic and traditional milk. Oh, and did I mention they
even have trading cards with pictures of the cows
producing the milk? And then there’s the cheese
making side of the business. Tell me about that. For us we do a small
amount of cheese. But, fresh cheese
curds are popular, so we do about
one vat a week. The cheese curds are packed
as a handy snack food, with some of the product
finding its way into Wisconsin school rooms. We’re also part of their
“school lunch snack” program and so we provided some
cheese curds for them to take to the schools
especially in winter when there isn’t fresh produce
available for the program. Sassy Cow also participates
in the “Buy-Local, Buy-Fresh” program where Wisconsin growers promote sustainable farms
by selling their products to local restaurants. A lot of their restaurant
members use a lot of our different products – our
milk, our heavy cream. So we’ve made a lot of
connections through their program with local chefs
looking for local products. As for the Sassy Cow Creamery, the Baerwolf brothers hope
to eventually turn the company over to their kids,
who they hope will become fourth generation
Wisconsin dairy farmers. Our parents have farmed,
and our grandparents farmed on the same location here..
And so what it will be like for our kids only
time will tell. That’s going to wrap
it up for this time. We’re glad that you could
come along with us to discover interesting people
and places in America’s Heartland. And remember we want to stay
in touch with you and we make it easy for you. Just logon to America’s
Heartland dot org or follow us 24/7 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 888-814-3923.     ♪ 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 ♪ ♪   “America’s Heartland is made possible by…” 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 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 Fund for Agriculture
Education – A fund created by KVIE to support
America’s Heartland programming. Contributors include
the following – ♪  

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