Join actor and musician Ben Dickey on “The Growing Season,” a new monthly agricultural podcast from Arkansas PBS that will follow the stories of six Arkansas farmers as they work through a year on their land. Get an inside look at what it truly means to be a farmer today, and the stressors and struggles that come with the lifestyle.
The outline of “The Growing Season” is right there in the title. The journey begins in March when the farmers get to work in the fields, barns and greenhouses, planning for the upcoming year.
In the spring, the season takes shape as the soil wakes up. And, just as the farmers will be growing comfortable with our producers, the difficulties of the season will present themselves – broken equipment, underperforming crops, heavy loans and other stressors.
As the summer heat sets in, the work of the Arkansas farmer only gets tougher. The simple complications of springtime have grown into full-on shortcomings for the season, but the work doesn’t let up. For a troubled farmer, summer months are all about keeping your head above water.
The end of summer means harvest – one final exhausting push to the finish line. Weary and exhausted, it’s only now that the farmer gets a clear understanding of how his growing difficulties will impact his day-to-day well-being.
Winter means putting everything away and putting your mind to planning to avoid the pitfalls of the previous year. A farmer must at once always be looking forward to the expectations of the next season and looking back at the complications of the last. Our final episodes will ask the question, “What did we learn this year?” – not only about herd strength or crop rotation, but also about self-care and our own mental health.
The Growing Season is funded through a Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network Grant provided by the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
Look for new episodes the second Friday of each month