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“Farm Kings” Features Ag Family In Reality Show

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Catch season two of the reality show “Farm Kings” on GACTV in August.

My family has been approached twice this summer with interest from different producers to be a part of ranch wife reality shows. I’ve politely answered questions about my life on the ranch, the challenges we face, the role I play in our operation, and my hopes for the future. On both occasions, their interest fizzled following our conversation. When these producers call, I assume they’re looking for a stereotypical hillbilly farmwife, and I like to think I have a little more going for me than wearing bib overalls and acting like a redneck.

Apparently, it just doesn’t make good TV to have a well-behaved family whose members work well together in caring for their animals and tending to the land. And, as one rancher aptly wrote to me in a private email, “Being rejected for reality TV is the best thing that could have happened to you.”

While it was flattering to be considered, and certainly interesting to be interviewed and taped for a potential show, the theatrics and exploitation behind the whole deal are intimidating and probably not worth the hoops one would have to jump through for such an endeavor.

However, a Pennsylvania farm family, the Kings, is braving the reality TV show world. And although I’m skeptical how agriculture might be portrayed in this series, the central focus is on a large family working together to make a living on a farm.

Sure, there is some craziness included in the show. For example, brother Dan has a mohawk, and brother Pete sells produce at the farmer’s markets by attracting the ladies when he takes off his shirt to show off his six-pack abs. Add in the fact that there are 10 children, all boys except for one girl, and you’ve got the dynamics to make an interesting show.

The show will air in August on GACTV. Here is a description of the program:

Farm Kings“Join the King Family of Freedom Farms as they battle the elements — and each other — to provide the Pittsburgh region with the very freshest produce possible. Watch as Joe, the oldest of the 10 King kids, manages brothers Tim, the head of produce, Pete, the "Human Harvester," Dan, the passionate wannabe-partner, and mom Lisa, to make sure the work gets done on a daily basis. From overnight bakery shifts and early-morning picking, to stripping down and selling their wares until sunset, the Kings will lay it all on the line each week to bring their customers fresh, local food – done right. But when you're in business with your family, things are bound to get personal, so these Farm Kings will have to find a way to overcome their differences and balance the business and their family, or see it all come crashing down.”

You can watch a preview here.

Since I haven’t seen a full episode yet, my verdict is still out on whether this show is positive or not for the industry. Have you seen a previous episode? If so, what did you think? Do you think farmers and ranchers should participate if asked to be on reality TV? Why or why not? Will you be watching Farm Kings on GACTV this August?

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 7

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jul 29, 2013

"Farm Kings" is midway through its second season on Great American Country. As a native South Dakotan (hometown: Elk Point), I say it is an excellent showcase for the farming lifestyle. This is one family hellbent on making their living off the land, who are dedicated to delivering quality, locally-grown produce and meat, and to educating the masses on the health and economic benefits of buying local. This series is anything but exploitive.

And while you reserve verdict, starting your commentary out with the perils and sensational nature of so-called reality television may sway your readers early on, however unintended. I encourage you to check out the series from the vevery first season one episode and then offer your readers your honest assessment.

Susan (not verified)
on Jul 30, 2013

It's not the only show about an American Farm family. Family Beef debuts next Wednesday on NatGeo. It follows Survivor Alum Big Tom and the Buchanan family and their Southwest Virginia Cattle Farm.

You can read more here:
http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/channel/episodes/fence-fiasco/

And here:
https://www.facebook.com/FamilyBeef

I believe this show is not only entertaining and fun but also informative and will give American viewers a better appreciation for the hard work it takes to run a family farm/cattle farm/ranch.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jul 31, 2013

I've caught the Farm King show on several times. I think it is a good clean family show. It is entertaining and interesting. It shows the struggles that come with farming and farming (working) with your family. I don't see any negatives for the industry from this show. They seem to mainly be producing produce but they are just branching out to growing hogs so we will see what the next season brings.

on Jul 31, 2013

I've watched the show, and from the episodes I've seen, I have noticed that while they promote the "buy local" theme, I don't believe the Kings are organic ( though not certain ) -- they seem to incorporate conventional farming practices, which I find refreshing. By doing so, it gives a realistic view of what a majority of farmers do in the U.S. and that is grow things conventional in order to keep the costs of food down. As long as the show doesn't slam large conventional crop and livestock producers, I'm okay with it. So many times these shows will pick a niche and make it seem like that is the only way things should be done. When, in reality, it isn't. I have been impressed to watch the mother of the show who is no doubt a hard worker and has put her work ethic into her children. The family that works together, plays together....and that is apparent from the episodes I've watched. The Kings seem very close and can be good role models for young people who may want to consider a career in agriculture. They make farming "cool" in today's world -- as it should be!

BG (not verified)
on Jul 31, 2013

I have watched the show and greatly respect and appreciate what the King's are doing to promote farming and the farming lifestyle while providing their community with the products they desire. I believe they show the dynamic, work, outside the box thinking, and farm growth needed to support a family, especially a family with children that wish to make a living on the farm as well. I think they represent farming and farming practices for their region of the US very well. I do worry slightly that consumers may view my farm/ranch from the Central US bad due to the fact we can't survive on 5 momma cows and our beef can't be sold locally due to the fact that our town has a wopping population of 207 and every farmer/rancher for a 100+ mile radius has a herd of cows. In our area we produce more beef than what the local population can consume so our beef must be shipped to cities for people to consume. It doesn't make our beef any less nutritious, wholesome, or safe to consume just because we have to deliver our product much farther from the farm/ranch to be enjoyed by the consumer.

Page (not verified)
on Aug 1, 2013

Love the show, watch it and tape it so I can watch it again.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 2, 2013

Amanda, it is okay to be to real for reality television, because reality television isn't anywhere near real.

I just finished reading an article about Duck Dynasty in Parade Magazine. One thing mentioned was that bits featured on the show were actually scripted re-enactments of events the family had experienced. So what you see on TV may not be 100% accurate but it is true to the spirit of the situation. Based on the few minutes of Farm Kings that I watched, I suspect the situation is similar there.

I think Farm Kings is good for agriculture because it piques the interest of consumers and they are more likely to seek out their own real life experiences, which makes them better consumers.

The good thing about televisoin is the it condenses life down so we can watch the exciting stuff in a managable amount of time and get on with the rest of our lives. The trouble with television is that people start to believ life is continuous excitement and they loose site of reality. Those of us in agriculture need to be there to take advantage of the interest to tell our story and help people understand how blessed they are to be living and eating American food.

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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