Improving rural Oklahoma. That is the focus of the RFD-TV television show "Oklahoma Horizon." From economic development to education, the show highlights the stories of Oklahomans all across the Sooner state.
"Agriculture is changing, and so are the communities that support it," said Rob McClendon, executive producer. "Each week we strive to give our viewers context to the changes in our world. We go behind the headlines and try to offer intimate stories on people and places who illustrate the bigger picture."
Agriculture is a $7 billion industry in Oklahoma. "Oklahoma Horizon" focuses on agriculture because it is so vital to the state's economy, though many people do not realize it. The innovations and commitment of farmers and ranchers throughout the state are driving Oklahoma's economy forward.
"Oklahoma Horizon" is a 30-minute weekly show that is a partnership between the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.
"Oklahoma Horizon" tries to give a global perspective on stories with a local focus. "Cattle and wheat are the big two agricultural receipts in Oklahoma, and we realize that growers and ranchers know their own operations well," McClendon said. "What we want to do is show how their industry can be impacted by global events."
"Our world is changing so fast, and it's only human nature to be resistant to change," McClendon said. "But what we do with each of our stories is show how people and even entire towns have embraced everything from new technology to new attitudes to improve their lives."
Members of the "Oklahoma Horizon" production team are employees of the Education Technology Resources and Communications and Marketing divisions of CareerTech. McClendon and the other staff members will cover stories from across Oklahoma, showcasing those people and businesses who contribute to the state's economic development.
The show is also done in cooperation with Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Farmers' Union and several other organizations with a vested interest in rural Oklahoma. But the show does not cater only to rural Oklahomans. "Oklahoma Horizon" pushes to keep urban Oklahoma involved as well, from stories about the agurbs featured in Jack Schultz's "Boomtown U.S.A." to the urban harvest and Food 4 Kids programs sponsored by the Regional Food Bank in Oklahoma City. Capitol Insight is a weekly segment. Rachel Hubbard gives an analysis of the week's legislative session for the layperson.
"There's so much out there in Oklahoma, and people just don't realize it," said Alisa Hines, reporter and editor. Agri-tourism is on the rise in Oklahoma. "Oklahoma Horizon" will take a look at this industry and what it could mean economically for rural Oklahoma. According to the Center for Rural Studies, agri-tourism and related activities like hunting now equal production agriculture in economic impact.
To view stories from previous shows or to give the "Oklahoma Horizon" staff a story idea, visit the web site at www.OkHorizon.com. There you can find links to daily market prices and weekly analysis from leading ag economists.
McClendon said he recently read a book by noted economist Thomas Friedman where Friedman says parents need to treat children not wanting to study, the same as they would picky eaters. "We grew up hearing we had better clean our plates, because there were hungry children in China. Today's kids need to know that they had better finish their homework, because there are a billion children in China who will want their job." We live in a global economy and no industry has felt the effects more than agriculture. According to McClendon, now is the time for rural America to take those changes by the hand, before they take us by the throat.