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David and Goliath of Television


“The farmer has always been a peasant.” – Richard Blinco, Idaho

When the market crashed in 1975, Richard had a ranch, feedlot, dairy, potatoes, alfalfa and a packing house.

Here we sit 45 years later, and not much has changed. Today less than 1.3 percent of the American population, (and 7 percent in Canada), is involved in production agriculture. We who are left with the responsibility of feeding the ever-growing national population that now stands at 331 million people. We do it. It’s lots of work. We have an enormous amount of scientific, technical, medical and mechanical research and dedication looking over our shoulders as we break the ground, plant the wheat, brand the calf or drive the truck.

Imagine a ‘Nóngmín’ bent over in a rice field 1,000 years before Christ came. It’s not much different than a farmer bent over a furrow, feeling the soil today. What is our motive? Inspiration? Do we say, “We’re feeding the world”? “I’ll get famous!” “The big money?”

No. It is as simple as, “It’s what I do.”

There are people who have a deep heart, have a conscience, are dedicated to those we work for, are close to God, maybe have guilt, or just kindness and care. They don’t think, ‘money first’. Occasionally, the consumer has a chance to make farmers’ lives easier, nicer, more satisfying.

Let me suggest their own television channels. Television waves are controlled by a handful of global companies. They have brought wonderful communication worldwide with hundreds of channels. 99.9 percent are dedicated to the majority polled, who are suburban folks.

The ag rural television, which is not ‘about us’ but ‘for us,’ are limited to pillars like U.S. Farm Report and Orion Samuelson and some local weeklies that are an hour long.

RFDTV Channel is the only exception; RFDTV contents are exclusively rural and agriculture, 24 hours a day. They are leading the effort to have Congress vote on HR 2682 that would ensure at least one percent is devoted exclusively to the ag rural market.

The bill requires certain video programming distributors, such as cable providers, to use at least 1 percent of their channel capacity to transmit channels of programming that serve the needs and interests of rural areas.

Like ag publications and ag radio, ag television is part of what holds all of our ag community together. To those of us in ag media, it’s not just a job. I think it has something to do with our souls.

If you want to help, contact your representative or senator about passing HR 2682.

Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, former large-animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses. Learn more at www.baxterblack.com.

Baxter Black