We begin the third season of America’s Heartland focusing on an ongoing challenge for American farmers and ranchers: staying in business and ensuring it continues on to the next generation. We visit two Nevada cattle ranches with different futures: one rancher is selling his spread while the other is coming up with new and innovative ways to save his family enterprise.We then visit a Delaware family who’s selling their farm, but ensuring their late parents’ love of education is fully honored. Next, we meet a Kansas family who’s getting ready to pass their farm on to their children. Finally, we spend time with an immigrant family who achieved their American dream by starting a palm tree business in the California desert.
Our program begins as host Paul Ryan spends time with a Colorado ranching family who’s kept their cattle business strong for many years. Now, most of the newest generation has moved on, and its future is in the hands of one hard-working son and his fiancé. Then, Jason Shoultz heads to his home state of Iowa in time to ride along as a father and son harvest their bountiful corn crop. We find out how Michigan researchers are looking for new ways to develop bio-fuels from all kinds of agricultural products. We visit a Florida widow who’s taken a family tragedy and turned it into a successful farm selling specialty products. And, we meet a family who brought their love of olive oil over from Italy to build a successful business in California.
Just how much do American farmers feed the world? Paul Ryan begins this episode with some astounding facts about our nation’s agricultural abundance. Jason finds one place where our nation’s bounty is fully evident: the huge, high quality food buffets of Las Vegas. He then continues on to a nearby pig farm where an innovative “green” farmer is recycling all those leftovers into nutritious swine feed. Paul finds another entrepreneur in Alaska who’s using a little-used salmon species to make tasty dog treats. And Pat McConahay visits a North Dakota sculptor who’s creating immense metal “ag art” to attract visitors to his once-bustling farm town.
Join us as we take a look at spring time harvests in the Heartland, and that means there’s a huge demand for skilled workers to run the massive combines that gather the crop. Jason visits a special school in Kansas where migrant harvesters come from all over the world to learn the tricks of the trade. We also visit with scientists, beekeepers, and farmers to try to discover why bee colonies seem to be disappearing, and learn just how essential they are to American agriculture. And, we discover a Delaware grower who’s using to the sun to power his poultry house.
Suprising though it may seem, May and June can be harvest time in the Heartland. That’s when some wheat farmers harvest their winter crop. We meet one Oklahoma farmer who shows us how it’s done and why timing is crucial. Then, we visit a giant grain mill and elevator in North Dakota to see how a harvest goes from field to flour. We visit an upscale Washington, D.C. restaurant where all the ingredients are coming fresh from the farm, then head to a landmark Florida fresh fruit and vegetable stand with a most unusual name: Robert is Here! Finally, a surprising New Mexico crop, peanuts, is turned into a specialty product by a nearby entrepreneur.
One of the many dangers facing American growers is the introduction of dangerous pests from outside the U.S. In Florida, Jason discovers a highly-trained “beagle brigade” that’s protecting farmers and consumers from unwelcome plants, bugs and other problems. Then, we meet a Navajo tribe in New Mexico that’s turned their ancient farming practices into a lucrative worldwide business. We visit a California citrus grower to find out how farmers must respond when bad weather threatens their crops. Finally, we head to Illinois to learn more about the nation’s oldest site for agricultural research.
Pat McConahay makes a winter trip to a Michigan dairy farm where the cold weather work goes around the clock. Host Paul Ryan finds Alaska's freshest produce at "You Pick" farms. We'll take you to the "Garden State" where this harvest comes from cold waters off the Atlantic coast. And the Heartland's best ingredients go into sweet and creamy chocolate.
Host Paul Ryan takes us to Monticello where Jefferson's historic home plays a role in modern American agriculture. Jason Shoultz meets an agricultural scientist whose work has saved the lives of millions of people. You'll meet a New Mexico farm family with a "passion for plants" of the native variety. And heritage and hope as two Virginia families decide on the future of their family farms.
A global demand for seafood brings Maryland crabbers to Chesapeake Bay to harvest Blue Crabs. Paul Ryan reports on elk and buffalo ranching in Colorado's high country. Pat McConahay looks "Jersey Fresh," a new program to support farmers in the Garden State. And Washington State recognizes the braceros who helped harvest the heartland during World War II.
Jason Shoultz reports on crop dusters in Mississippi who take to the sky to help farmers improve their harvest. Pat McConahay meets a Michigan farm family that grows crops under glass. A California cattle ranch takes a different approach to "round up" customers. And Paul Ryan reports on an Illinois farm that raises corn and cows in downtown Chicago.
Paul Ryan reports on a huge Indiana dairy farm milking 32,000 cows a day. Pat McConahay meets Ohio farmers converting their fields to vineyards. Jason Shoultz meets farmers in Mississippi harvesting acres and acres of catfish. And farmers in New Jersey get help from the state to protect their land from urban expansion
Paul Ryan visits an Indiana farmer tailoring his soybean crop for new markets and new challenges overseas. Agriculture teams up with the auto industry in Ohio as American soybeans make an unusual journey to Asia. Jason Shoultz sees how abandoned grain elevators in New York have become tourist attractions. And fish farmers in West Virginia harvest a cold water catch usually found in the frozen north.
Pat McConahay visits North Dakota where a special kind of wheat plays a major role in the state's economy. Pasta producers in North Dakota look to farmers for new products and new markets. Farmers from all across the heartland gather in Utah for the national Farm Bureau convention. Call it an "agricultural education": students attend a "farm school" in New York state.
Jason Shoultz takes you to Montana where traveling harvesters cross the plains to bring in the wheat harvest of the Heartland. Paul Ryan travels to Oklahoma as farmers there look back on the trials and opportunities that emerged from America's Dustbowl. Pat McConahay finds a West Virginia company that carves out a niche in "down home cookin'" with products from the farm. And farm families in Mississippi celebrate their heritage in music that comes from the Mississippi delta.
Jason Shoultz takes to the highways of Mississippi with law enforcement officials as new threats to agriculture prompt new tools to track down thieves. Pat McConahay finds some vocal farmers in North Dakota who make their case for a crop that’s illegal to grow! Jason meets a Montana farmer taking on a new role: arguing for agriculture in the United States senate. And Pat takes a look at a program where New Jersey farmers rise to the challenge of feeding the hungry.
Jason Shoultz shows us how water from the Hoover Dam makes possible more than a billion dollars in produce crops. Host Paul Ryan visits growers in Yuma, Arizona in what’s been called, “America’s Winter Salad Bowl.” Reporter Jim Finnerty investigates how farm research in Illinois could turn grass into gas. And Eric Alvarez discovers how some very special truck drivers in California rush tomatoes from field to factory and onto your table.
On this special edition, we spend the day with a North Dakota farm family to discover the rewards and challenges of life in the Heartland. Host Paul Ryan introduces us to Don and Sarah Nordby who...along with their two sons and a daughter...share the realities of rural life from "Dawn to Dusk".
Host Paul Ryan tells us about a unique program in North Dakota where volunteer farmers get together to help other farmers in need when it's time to bring in the crops. Then, Pat McConahay visits a North Dakota farm with, perhaps, the most colorful crop around! Health conscious Americans create a big demand for sunflowers. Sorghum is a grain used for animal feed and sweeteners. Pat travels to Ohio where sorghum is finding new fans on a family farm that harvests the grain in a traditional way. And breeding better cattle! Jason Shoultz is on the road to a Nebraska farm family. They help ranchers improve their stock.
Tilling the soil, working the ranch and striking out as entrepreneurs! Paul Ryan hosts an "America's Heartland" exploring how women are taking on greater roles in American agriculture. Pat McConahay travels to New England to meet a woman agronomist in Vermont. Raised on a farm, today she helps her fellow farmers improve yields in the field. Reporter Jennifer Iida heads for Northern California where a woman farmer raises traditional grains on a small farm whose focus is raising crops in harmony with nature. And Paul Ryan finds a woman and her husband coaxing vines from the soil in one unlikely spot. These farm families in Moab, Utah are leaving cattle behind for cabernet.
It's "Once a Year Wonders" in the world of agriculture. Jason Shoultz visits an Oregon grower who harvests everything just before Christmas.This Christmas tree grower supplies trees to customers all across the western United States. Still in the spirit of the season, Pat McConahay travels to Ferndale, California where farmers take their tractors out of the field for a one of a kind tractor parade. Then Jason Shoultz heads to Iowa where pumpkins are a big and colorful business from October through holiday pies at Thanksgiving. Pat visits a farmer who specializes in Easter Lilies. The bulbs are grown in Oregon and shipped across the United States to flower just in time for spring. And America's Heartland host Paul Ryan travels to southern California to visit the biggest poinsettia grower in the country. Business is booming when his plants are blooming.
This week we look at how technology is changing agriculture in America's Heartland. Reporter Jason Shoultz examines how the internet has dramatically altered the way that farmers, ranchers and growers get and exchange information. Reporter Jim Finnerty travels to the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois where automation engineers are doing cutting edge research on robotic weeders and tractors that drive themselves. Pat McConahay is in Illinois and California where two of the largest agricultural expositions in the country display inventions that let farmers work smarter not harder. And Jason heads to Iowa where scientists are researching the starches that come from a single kernel of corn. It could have dramatic ramifications for our food and health.
Jason Shoultz visits the "World Food Prize" conference in Des Moines, Iowa where farmers gather to honor American producers working to end world hunger. Pat McConahay is in Vermont where the Cabot Farm dairy farmers produce some of the best cheese in America. They like to say, "Cheddar is Better!" Reporter Yolanda Vazquez travels to Michigan to see how farmers there bring in a sweet harvest of sugarbeets. And Jason visits Iowa and Kansas where Heartland farmers are targeting a new source of income by opening their fields to hunters.