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TV Crew, Viewers Grow Soybean Crop
"I'd rather drive a truck loaded with nitro," was the final comment by a TV news producer in Cincinnati, Ohio who last year participated in an unusual experiment on a nearby farm owned by Norman Purdy. The TV crew leased land from Purdy and then took their thousands of city viewers through the season-long process of planting and harvesting a soybean crop.
The idea originated with the Farm Bureau. They approached the TV station with the idea and when it was accepted, Purdy volunteered to work with the inexperienced crew.
"It was a very successful experiment in that we educated a lot of people. In a series of 8 or 9 reports over the year we tried to show both the good and bad of farming without slanting it either way. I think people got a good idea of what it takes to grow a crop and how difficult it can be to make a profit when things go against you," says Purdy.
The TV crew rented 1 acre of land and paid custom rates (using county extension figures) to plow, plant, fertilize, cultivate and harvest the soybean crop. During each operation the crew filmed the work and did extensive reports, visiting with Purdy and detailing the actual field works The audience got caught up in watching "their crop" mature and experienced the anxiety of almost continuous rainfall through November until they were finally able to get the crop off at a high 23% moisture. Drying costs on the 30 bu. crop eliminated any hope of a profit and the TV crew took a $10.04 loss on their one-acre field.
"We tried to explain to them that there were other benefits of that soybean crop that are difficult to measure. It provides nitrogen for the soil and we'll have herbicide carryover that will benefit us next year," notes Purdy. He says several other Ohio cities have organized their own farm-TV partnership and that the Cincinnati group hopes to do it again next year on a different farm.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Norman Purdy, 7740 E. River Road, Hamilton, Ohio 45014 (ph 513 738-1916).

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1986 - Volume #10, Issue #2