What is America’s Heartland? America’s Heartland

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What is America’s Heartland?

America’s Heartland is the only nationally-distributed weekly program offering positive stories about American agriculture. Started in 2005, the award-winning series has become a flagship program on public television stations across the United States, and has sustained its audience each season. We have produced 128 half-hour episodes with stories from all 50 states.
Audience impact

Currently, America’s Heartland airs on 255 public television stations covering 63% of the U.S. It airs in 7 of the top 10 and 20 of the top 25 U.S. markets. It is also airing three times a week on RFD-TV, the cable and satellite channel highlighting the rural American lifestyle. Satellite television viewers can get RFD-TV anywhere in the U.S. on DISH (channel 231) and DirecTV (channel 245).

Combining PBS and RFD-TV viewership, America’s Heartland reaches close to 1 million person impressions per episode. Person impressions for the series across an entire season therefore reach 40 to 44 million viewers. Since season 1, more than 240 million Americans have watched America’s Heartland. (TRAC Media)

Changing Hearts and Minds Among Non-Farm Viewers

In March and April 2009, a Viewer Impact Survey by TRAC Media Services utilized both a random phone survey and an online split-sample test among public television viewers/members. The goal was to assess changing attitudes about American agriculture as a result of watching America’s Heartland. Both groups were surveyed, then watched DVDs of the program and surveyed again.

The results:

  • Phone survey respondents showed an increase in favorability towards agriculture from 48% to 63% after watching America’s Heartland

  • Online respondents increased their favorability towards agriculture from 42% to 69% after watching the America’s Heartland program

  • Attitudes improved dramatically even among “agricultural skeptics”

Key Topics Aligned with Agriculture Initiatives

Although America’s Heartland takes a “big tent” approach to include all aspects of American agriculture, it emphasizes the importance of major U.S. commodities and their vital role in providing fiber, food and fuel to the nation and the world. The program’s producers work closely with their Promotional Partners to share story ideas, trends, and issues important to each organization. Most important, we emphasize the industry’s commitment to:

--ending world hunger

--using the latest innovations in technology to increase productivity and provide consumer value

--answer consumers’ concerns about food safety, environmental stewardship, and animal welfare

Importance of Public Television

PBS Surveys conducted by Roper (2005-2010) and others consistently show the value of the PBS audience. Roper’s latest poll shows that PBS remains the most trusted organization in the U.S., with 48% saying they trust PBS “a great deal.”

That favorably compares to:

28% Courts of law

18% Commercial television stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox)

14% Federal government

11% Newspapers and cable television networks

8% Congress

Educated, affluent, influential and engaged, more than 65 million people in 40 million households watch public television either on-air or online during an average week.
PBS viewers are:

256% more likely to be active in civic issues;

244% more likely to write an elected official

202% more likely to address a public meeting

199% more likely to write a letter to the editor than the average U.S. adult (MRI 2004)
They are also grateful to the companies and organizations that support public television programs like America’s Heartland.
59% agree those organizations are “usually leaders in their industry”

62% are more likely to purchase PBS sponsors’ product or service.

71% of PBS viewers were able to recall companies that sponsor programming.

74% of PBS viewers feel that companies that sponsor public television have a

commitment to quality and excellence. (Cone/Roper Worldwide; PBS Image Study)
The Value of RFD-TV

RFD-TV is a hugely popular cable and satellite channel focused on the rural and country lifestyle. America’s Heartland is one of its most popular programs, airing three times per week. America’s Heartland airs in prime time in two time zones: Wednesdays at 8:30pm EST and Sundays at 8:30pm PST.

The series attracts more than 200,000 viewers weekly on RFD-TV.

  • RFD-TV reaches 40 million households

  • 12 million adult viewers per week

  • #1 cable and satellite channel for viewers 50+

  • 62% of all U.S. farmers watch RFD-TV (Nielsen)

  • 76% of ranchers and beef producers watch RFD-TV

  • America’s Heartland is among the top 20 most-watched RFD-TV programs

Social Networking and Other Media Platforms

As our broadcast audience grows, we are also engaged in a continuing effort to provide video, educational and information content across multiple media platforms. Our website at www.americasheartland.org attracts

  • 55,000 page views per month

  • 16,600 video views/month

Additionally, our video content reaches

  • Over 2.2 million views of Heartland segments on YouTube

  • Over 2,400 Facebook “Fans”

  • More than 800 Twitter followers

  • More than 1000 photos taken on shoots viewed more than 8,500 times on Flickr

Educational Outreach

America’s Heartland’s been committed to a comprehensive Educational Outreach effort since we started in 2005. Accomplishments include:
  • Guides and Lesson Plans: In partnership with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, 50 study guides were developed utilizing content from the first three seasons of America’s Heartland. Additionally, 12 lesson plans meeting all state education guidelines have been created with Food, Land and People. They are available to teachers and students on the America’s Heartland website, www.americasheartland.org/education.

  • America’s Heartland is partnering with the American Farm Bureau Foundation on their new educational initiative, www.myamericanfarm.org. This online interactive game capitalizes on the success of “Farmville” by providing users accurate, enjoyable activities and information about U.S. agriculture. America’s Heartland video segments are embedded throughout the website.

  • New Educational Program Content: In Season 7, each of the 22 half-hour episodes will include at least one “interstitial” feature designed to educate non-farm viewers about agriculture. Working the Land profiles various people working in the ag industry; Harvesting Knowledge offers rich historical context and other interesting facts about many commodities and products; Ask a Farmer will feature a real consumer inquiry answered by a grower; Fast Facts About Food conveys the nutritional value of food products; and Off the Shelf traces the farm-to-grocery store path of many agricultural products. All of these features are now included on the America’s Heartland Education page as materials available for free and unrestricted use by teachers and students.

Available Assets

Unlike other initiatives, America’s Heartland has a proven track record, a growing audience, and a responsive approach to the needs and concerns of U.S. agriculture. But we offer a wealth of other tangible assets far “beyond the broadcast.” Those include:

  • the world’s largest library of top-quality, High-Definition video of U.S. agriculture in action, with hundreds of different commodities from all 50 states, and all stages of the growing and production process

  • Valuable interview comments on tape from growers all across the nation, as well as ag leaders, scientists, academics, and consumers

  • more than 1,000 stories covering the complete spectrum of agriculture, all searchable on our website (www.americasheartland.org) and available for your use

  • full production capability to customize our content for the specific needs of sponsors,

promotional partners, and board members, including targeted videos, raw footage, interviews, etc.

  • available staff experts to articulate the importance of U.S. agriculture to consumer or industry gatherings through media-rich, visually compelling presentations

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