Episode 816 – America’s Heartland

Episode 816 – America’s Heartland

“America’s Heartland is made
possible by…” 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 American Farm Bureau
Foundation for Agriculture. Dedicated to building
greater awareness and understanding of agriculture
through education and engagement. More information at:
agfoundation.org The Fund for Agriculture
Education – A fund created by KVIE to support
America’s Heartland programming. Contributors include the
following:   I’m Sarah Gardner. Bees are crucial in helping
farmers grow dozens of different products. But, their native
populations are mysteriously declining. We’ll take you to
California where farmers, scientific experts, and
beekeepers are launching a major new program to
help bring bees back. Hi, I’m Jason Shoultz. Come with me to New England
where the history of many farms stretches back
hundreds of years. I’ll introduce you to a farm
family that’s seen some great times and
struggled through some tough times all with the goal of
keeping the farm alive. Hi I’m Kristen Simoes. We’re taking you to school
in big sky country and this lesson is all about good
horsemanship for the animal and the rider. Saddle up for a one of a
kind ranching adventure in Montana. I’m Rob Stewart. We’ve got a unique ranching
story for you this time. It’s not about cattle. We’re taking you to Arkansas
to a ranch that is bustling with buffalo! That’s all coming up next,
right here 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 ♪   When you think of bees, you think of that hard
working insect who brings us honey. But, they actually do
much more than that. They’re essential
in agriculture. Many successful crops
depend on bee pollination. But, bees are in trouble. Their numbers are declining,
and experts aren’t sure why. Here in Orange County,
California a major effort is underway to bring
bees – back. ♪ The first settlers to
America brought European honeybees with them
in the early 1600’s. The honey bee is our
workhorse pollinator. And bringing bees
back especially native varieties is what’s drawn
habitat conservationists like Mace Vaughn to this
carefully-tended field in the hills outside
Irvine, California. Vaughn wants these farmers
and ranchers to know just how important all native
pollinators are to producers. Pollination is critical
because many of our crops if we look at apples and pears
and plums and cherries, blueberries, strawberries,
squash, melon, some of our tomato varieties
they need to have pollen moved from one flower to
another in order to be able to set fruit or to set
seeds that we then eat. In the past few
years, beekeepers, farmers and orchard
owners have been facing a phenomenon called “Colony
Collapse Disorder”. While its causes
are still unclear, the disorder can devastate
entire hives – killing off millions of bees. That impact ultimately
affects prices we pay at the supermarket. With colony
collapse disorder, there’s been a
major increase, because of a
shortage of bees, in the price of
renting hives. Back 10 years ago, you’re
probably talking 30 to 35 dollars on average per hive. Today, we’re talking about
well over a hundred dollars a hive in many areas
of the country. California’s Almond crop
alone depends on tens of thousands of beehives
brought into the state each spring to pollinate eight
hundred thousand acres of almond trees.   Farmers, scientists
and others in U.S. agriculture are mounting an
effort to develop a unique “pollinator partnership.” promoting the growth of
native plants on farms, orchards and ranches
all across America. So what we’ve been doing is
looking at how we can help rebuild populations of
native pollinators. wild bees, moths, butterflies,
insects, even some animals – that
provide value added pollination services. In the east we find that
native bees can potentially provide all the pollination
that’s necessary on the vast majority of those farms. “Let’s go down this way”. One candidate in this
southern California field is this surprising
variety of native bee. A lot of our native bees are
really small – quite small compared to a honey bee. So this looks like one of
our very small sweat bees. Facilitating increased
numbers of native pollinators, however, often
demands that farmers and growers adjust the plants
that populate their available landscape. You create a habitat where
beneficial insects can take up residence, come
into the fields, provide pollination services
that won’t replace those that come from managed bees,
but will supplement them. In addition to bees,
conservationist David Raetz says certain
plants including black sage can attract other types
of native pollinators. Southern California has a
high percentage of butterfly species that occur here and
are really concentrated here. And so the black sage,
as well as many others, will attract those
particular species. Restoring native habitat
to attract a variety of pollinators can also prove
beneficial to reducing soil erosion and improving
water quality. Part of what the project
is all about is how do we structure and create an
appreciation for and more importantly a commitment to
create habitat and build up the populations of the
native pollinators so that if there is a problem we
can still have an abundant supply of pollinating
entities that can help make sure we still
have food to eat. While a solution is being
sought for Colony Collapse Disorder, developing a
national program of native pollinators can provide
options for protecting our food supply now and
in the future. Native pollinators are a
great example of a specific solution that farmer and
ranchers can deliver from the land. Farmers, ranchers, forest
landowners aren’t the source of problems; they’re the
source of solutions. ♪ If you’re wondering why
honeybees make that “buzzing” sound, it’s
because their wings are fluttering at more than 11
thousand times a minute. Their perception of visual
movement is fast as well about six times
that of human beings. Were bees to watch a movie,
they would be able to differentiate individual
frames being projected. ♪ When you think
about rodeos, competitive or recreational
riding even those equestrian events
in the Olympics, you can see why proper
training for a horse is important. Well, here at this
Montana ranch, good horsemanship is all
about the animal and the rider. ♪ “Get down on your rein and
ask for her eye and use your foot at the same time” It doesn’t matter how
great a horse we raise, if we don’t bring people up,
young people up through the, with knowledge and
horsemanship, you know, our industry won’t last. Lisa Anderson loves several
things about managing Copper Spring Ranch. Including working alongside
her husband, Brian and Training and
selling world class horses “Bring her back
into a small circle, looking between her ears.” It’s a place where champion
quarter horses are bred and trained and where
instructors like Lisa share their talents
with the next generation of equestrian enthusiasts. Working here, I get to be
outdoors all the time. I get to be around horses
and being around people like Brian and Lisa,
who know horses. Tana Pena rides for her high
school’s rodeo team and looks forward to someday
having a career involving horses. The high school senior works
as a barn assistant at the ranch earning some extra
cash and picking up equine experience. I get to learn just by
watching them every day. Just watching them out in
the arena roping or working with the horses I’m learning
all the time which is incredible.   Like Tana, Kevin Peterson is
on his school’s rodeo team. Looking beyond college,
Kevin sees a future in America’s multi-billion
dollar horse industry. “You know we market all over
the United States we try to stay regionally
focused with Montana, Idaho, Washington,
South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming” Kevin is a marketing major at
Montana State University. His intern work updating the
ranch’s website earns him college credit and allows him to
interact with the horses he’s promoting. Having the, the kids around,
the younger generation, um, it just builds a
positive attitude. They’re excited about life,
they’re excited about their future, and it’s just a
happy place. It’s an attitude Lisa shares
with owners Klein and Karen Gilhousen. The husband and wife team
see the ranch as a way to take young riders and
horses to championship levels in a variety
of equestrian events. To me it’s really important
to help our young people to be successful and to be good
role models for them and give them opportunities
that they might not have otherwise. Karen’s daughter, Aspen, is
also one those learning more about the skills
involved in riding. For other young people, a
variety of internships give college students a chance to
expand their knowledge in everything from veterinary
medicine to marketing.   Lisa and her husband, Brian,
see their jobs as providing the tools needed to excel
in a number of forms of horsemanship. Equally important – is
recognizing that excellence comes from a cooperative
effort between animal and rider. It’s not just about how many
wins you get or getting your name in the headlines. It’s about loving
these animals, getting them placed
in the right hands, with the right people, so
that they have great lives.   ♪ North America was home
to members of the equine family way
back in history. But those pre-historic
horses ultimately became extinct. Spanish explorers brought
horses back to the America’s in the 1500’s. Many of the wild horses
roaming the west today are descendants of those
original breeds.   I’m Jason Shoultz. Still ahead – I’ll take you
to Massachusetts where one multi-generational farm
family is very picky about their produce. I’m Rob Stewart and
still ahead on America’s Heartland, we’re heading for
Arkansas and a ranch raising some of the biggest land
animals in the entire country.   ♪ Hi, my name is Mike Freeling
and I have a question about agriculture. I grow a lot of vegetables
in my garden so I know a small amount of land can
be pretty productive. But I was wondering just how
much food can be grown on the average farm? Hey, we all love to get a
great harvest when it comes to our home gardens –even
if you’re wondering what you’re going to do with
all of that zucchini? You may already know that
American farmers are some of the most productive in the
world and that’s one of the reasons that
Americans, on average, spend a lot less for food
than people in many parts of Europe, the Middle
East and Asia. But, let’s answer your
question about production on the farm. Let’s start with corn. Now, of course, it depends
on your soil conditions, growing season and
weather, but on average, you can expect to get more
than a hundred fifty bushels per acre when it
comes to corn. Wheat? Anywhere from 35 to
40 bushels an acre. Each bushel produces about
42 pounds of flour and that makes a lot of
bread and pasta. You’ll get lots of potatoes
from an acre of farmland from 25 to 35
thousand pounds. And what about
something like cotton? Again it depends on
where you’re planting, but an acre can produce more
than 700 pounds of cotton. A bale of cotton weighs
about 480 pounds. That’s enough to make
200 pairs of blue jeans. And one more fact
on production. In 1940 one farmer raised
enough food to feed 19 people. Today? One farmer can produce
enough food and fiber for 143 people. That’s quite a jump. ♪   How close are you
to your family? Well, imagine working
with your parents, your brothers and
sisters, aunts, uncles even your
children every day. The Hanson family just
outside of Boston, Massachusetts has been
working together for generations and the ups and
downs of their lives are tightly intertwined with
the farm that they work on. It has to be very fresh. Fresh isn’t just a marketing
buzzword for Tom Hanson. As he and his crew head out
to harvest sweet corn on this fall morning just
outside of Boston, Massachusetts he’s up
against the clock. There’s a constant rotation
in trying to feed the farmer’s market and the farm
stand. Hanson’s Farm has been in Tom
Hanson’s family since 1908 and the land has been
farmed since 1715! Today Tom, his wife
Martha, his son Matt, daughter Elizabeth and even
Martha’s mother all help out on the farm in
various roles. It’s hard work and sometimes you
just wondering why you’re doing all of this. But, I’m really glad
they want to do it. And the decisions made on
this farm have a direct impact on the lives
of the family. And sometimes an impact on
who becomes part of the family! Like when about 30 years
ago Tom was looking to help the bottom line by trying
something new with his produce. I did You Pick. Where you could
come and pick your own vegetables
here at the farm or small fruit, you know, like
strawberries or raspberries. That decision brought
someone special to the farm. I get out of work early and I
drove up here. I’d always wanted to pick
strawberries and that’s how I met Tom. And he showed me around his
farm and eventually we went on a date, and six months
later we were engaged. But with good times,
also come bad. In 2009 Tom’s son Matt
and father Charles we’re involved in a serious
farm accident. So what happened was, he was
cutting corners and he did something he always
taught us never to do, which was to start a
tractor on the ground they both of them
got run over. I almost lost my
son that day too. But he was ok. He was banged up, but my
father got his ribs stove in and he died a
couple weeks later. Ah, and I miss
him to this day. It was very hard for Matt
who was there that day. And, ah, he, he really, um,
tried to save my dad, um, as best as he could. But it was
difficult for him. Um, and we were
really lucky. He just got banged up. He was OK. Um, but I think for all of
us it kinda of steeled us, you know, to pull together. Today this farm family is
focused on staying a step ahead of trends in food
and shopping tastes. From catering to ethnic
communities to marketing the locally-grown and wholesome
aspect of their produce. About 15 years ago something
happened that there was all of a sudden a whole locally
grown movement in the country. And it’s kinda
coming nation-wide. And diversifying the farm
means trying new things, like horse boarding. And as new family
members get involved, they bring ideas. Last year, my daughter
wanted to get back into some of the farming aspect of it. And we came up with an
idea of freshly squeezed lemonade. So she started a great
business with doing freshly squeezed lemonade made to
order at certain farmer’s markets.   Things like CSA and farmer’s
markets have been great for us right now. But it may be something else 10
years from now. So you have to be keep your mind
open to that and keep evolving and that sort
of thing. “We didn’t spray it so
much so there’s gonna be some worms but just nip it
nip it off, don’t worry they don’t eat
much.” So I really like getting out
there and picking and I also really like, when we’re at
the farmer’s market today, just talking with
my customers. A lot of times I’ll see
folks I haven’t seen in a long time. “They’re the
hottest peppers in the world right there” “Are they really?” “Yeah they are”. You get a feel for
what people are doing. And I don’t spend enough
time doing that and I really enjoy that part of it. I can’t imagine
it any other way. I really can’t. I can’t imagine them
not being right here. It’s great. It’s great to be
able to get together, see each other all the time. We all get along
really well. And I think a big part of
that is because Tom’s mom and dad set a really
fine example for us, when we first
started farming. We always were able
to talk things out. Work things out. So, I think we’ll
all make it. I’m sure we will. I don’t want to be anybody
else, anywhere else, doing anything else. I really this is what
I always wanted to do. My heroes were farmers
growing up and I love this place. So keeping it going for
the next generation, that’s what
we’re working on. ♪ Are you a cookie fan? The fig newton gets its name
from the town of Newton, Massachusetts. The original maker a
Boston cookie company, liked to name products
after nearby communities. Of course the Boston
Crème Pie was invented in Massachusetts and Clarence
Birdseye is credited with developing frozen
food in Gloucester, Massachusetts
in the 1920’s.   When we talk about ranching, cattle or sheep
may come to mind, but did you know that a
growing number of ranchers are raising buffalo all
across this country? That includes a rancher in
Arkansas taking us along on a one of a kind
ranching experience. ♪ These hills in Marshall,
Arkansas are home to Ratchford Farms, a sprawling
500 acre oasis of rolling grassland. And if you take a short
drive though these green pastures you’ll find
them blanketed with buffalo! Now, we’ll be the first
to say that an up-close encounter with the largest
land animal in North America is not something
to try in the wild. But ranch owner L.C. Ratchford felt confident
that these animals his “breeding” herd could
be approached safely. I can’t believe
we’re gonna do this. Well, it’s a lot of fun and
we do it on a daily basis. ♪ Right through the gate,
the buffalo come running. “Look at that, how
fast can they run?” “They can outrun a horse. They can 35 to 40 miles
an hour” ♪ “Oh my gosh! This is a 3000 pound male. This guy can go from a tamed
docile animal like you see here, to a wild animal with
all the wild instincts of self-preservation
within a heartbeat. OK, well let’s keep
it happy with food. There is a massive presence
coming from these animals. You can just feel
their weight. Oh you can. They’re very majestic. We as European’s
as American’s, almost made them
become extinct. And to me, that would
have been such a waste. Hi there. Look at those
horns, my goodness. Well they have good breath. Oh yes. I’m not kidding. The American
buffalo or bison was nearly hunted to
extinction in the 1800’s. With some herds ultimately
protected in national parks, their numbers grew. In the past 20 years,
ranchers have initiated new herds or expanded their
existing stock benefitting from a growing
consumer demand for low fat, grass fed and
sustainable meat. When I was just a
youngster I watched a show on PBS, it showed
the buffalo. I knew that there
was a connection, I knew I had to
raise them some day. Buffalo can live
from 20 to 25 years. Each year, about half
of these animals will reproduce. Once fully grown, they will
be processed for their meat. And L.C.’s is some of the most
popular in this area. So it went from one store
almost 12 years ago, to we’ve got well over 700
stores that sell our snack sticks, our jerky,
summer sausage, as well as some
burgers, some steaks. Just got a call
earlier today, uh, a big place in Texas, and
another one in Tennessee that wanna start
carrying our stuff. Look at that
view over there. Oh it is spectacular! Ranching has deep roots
here at Ratchford Farms. L.C.’s great-grandfather raised
cattle and descendants of those original cows
still graze this land. I see your cows
are following us. Oh Yes, we use very passive
means dealing with our cattle no different than
dealing with the buffalo. L.C still raises about 100
cows but adding buffalo to his farm changed
his life forever. I think that they embody
the United States. I think that they embody
what we stand for as a country. They’re very majestic,
they’re hearty, they’re survivors.   L.C has one more place he
wants you to see he says it is his favorite
view on earth. The bottom of the valley where
his parents once plowed this land with mules. What does it
mean to you to have this? It means everything.
I consider myself so lucky. The ability to come out here
and enjoy these things. I consider myself very rich. Not necessarily monetarily
but just the way of life. Some people I think have a
certain illusion that wealth is money, power. To me it’s my 500 acres, my
heard of buffalo, my family, to be living here in
Arkansas and I wouldn’t trade it for
anything. ♪ And that’s going to do
it for us this time. We thank you for traveling
the country with us on this edition of America’s
Heartland as we find interesting people and
places to share with you. And don’t forget you can
stay in touch with us 24/7. We make it easy for you. You can find us on your
favorite sites you can also find all of our stories
and video on our website: americasheartland.org 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…” 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 American Farm Bureau
Foundation for Agriculture. Dedicated to building
greater awareness and understanding of agriculture
through education and engagement. More information at:
agfoundation.org The Fund for Agriculture
Education – A fund created by KVIE to support America’s
Heartland programming. Contributors include
the following:   ♪  

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