Agriculture Topic of Public TV Programs (270)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Two programs about modern agriculture in the South will be broadcast March 29 by East Tennessee stations WSJK/WKOP.

 The programs document the efforts of five farm families, including three from Tennessee, to manage change and meet world demand for safe, abundant, and affordable food and fiber products.

 “Opportunities for Communities and Farm Families,” will air at 6:30 p.m., followed 15 minutes later by the second program, “Roberts Farm,” featuring Gail and Anita Roberts of Wingo, Ky.

Dane Mercer, a dairy owner from Sweetwater and one of the farmers featured, said the programs give viewers a better understanding of modern farming and farm families.

 “I would like the general public to know what kind of lifestyle we actually live,” Mercer said. “On the news you can hear anything, but a lot of times that’s the far side.”

 Dr. Tim Cross, associate professor at the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, said demographics have changed in this century. One result is that fewer people have direct contact with farming or farmers, he said.

 “For people who can’t spend a day at a farm, these programs allow them a way to learn about agriculture,” said Cross, the project coordinator.

 The programs were produced for public television by UT’s extension service in cooperation with the University of Kentucky and Mississippi State University extension services, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, and the Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, Cross said.

 “Mercer Farm” was broadcast earlier this year, but the Sweetwater family also appears in “Opportunities for Communities….” with the Roberts, Buddy and Suzanne Coggin of Nettleton, Miss.; Robert and Edna Teamer, Covington, Tenn.; and Bobby and Sue Hill, Gates, Tenn.

 Contact: Dr. Tim Cross (423-974-7306)