All About: Farmweek
Farmweek is broadcast from Mississippi, one of the South’s most geographically diverse states. The Magnolia State encompasses the rich soils and flat landscape of the Delta, the rolling hills of the northern counties, and the sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast. The state’s most important resource is its people, about a fourth of whom work jobs tied to agriculture.
Mississippi State University’s Office of Agricultural Communications produces the program, and it is recorded on-campus each week at the MSU Television Center. Farmweek is the state’s oldest and only locally-produced agricultural TV show. It’s a vehicle for Mississippi State University specialists, scientists, and researchers, as well as experts from other agencies to use in presenting useful information and advice directly to viewers.
One gauge of Farmweek’s effectiveness and quality is the recognition the program regularly receives from other professional communicators. Awards have come from the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE); the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi; and the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters just to name a few. An independent survey even found almost 90% of viewers have made a decision at their farm or home from a story they saw on Farmweek.
The show has something for everyone. From the novice with a few tomato plants wanting to provide homegrown nutrition for their family to the third-generation farmer with 500 acres, Farmweek is here to educate and inspire you with fresh ideas and a renewed perspective.
LEIGHTON SPANN, FARMWEEK ANCHOR
For almost 25 years Leighton Spann has served as a reporter and co-anchor on Farmweek, and produces the market segment each week. A television broadcaster for basically his entire career, Leighton worked as a local news anchor for 16 years at stations in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana before joining Farmweek.
Leighton is a native of Pensacola, Florida. He and his wife, Katharine, have been married more than 30 years and have five children and six grandchildren. Leighton received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Samford University in Birmingham and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Mississippi.
Besides his role with Farmweek production, Leighton is Electronic Media Manager in the Office of Agricultural Communications at Mississippi State University in Starkville. The seven-member Electronic Media unit produces video and audio programs along with a variety of educational and promotional videos for MSU Extension and other clients.
TROY MOLING, FARMWEEK ANCHOR
Troy Moling serves as managing editor, reporter, and co-anchor for Farmweek. His career in television spans almost 15 years, first as a video editor at stations in Memphis, Tenn., and then as a meteorologist and reporter for KTVO News in Kirksville, Mo.
He’s researched and reported on stories including Missouri’s fight to raise ACT scores, a community’s resurgence after a devastating tornado, a three-part series chronicling the future of farming in the Midwest, and even a profile of Mississippi’s largest alpaca ranch.
Troy graduated with honors from Union University and earned meteorological certification through Mississippi State University.
In his free time, he enjoys video editing, running, traveling, trying new restaurants, following NBA basketball (Go Grizzlies!!!), and binge-watching Netflix. Follow him on Twitter at @farmweektroy.
AMY MYERS, FARMWEEK REPORTER
Amy Taylor Myers grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she found a passion for showing livestock. Growing up in the country, with parents who taught them the value of hard work, responsibility and good citizenship definitely laid the path for both her personal and career life. For about 11 years, she showed sheep, swine, and horses in 4-H and FFA. Over time, she developed an interest in journalism and hoped to one day combine that with a career in agriculture. In 2006, she completed her Broadcast Journalism & Speech Communication undergraduate degree at the University of Southern Mississippi, and in 2007, joined Mississippi State University Extension Service, as a reporter/producer for Farmweek. She obtained a Master of Science degree from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at MSU.
Amy says she loves what she does because having a career in agriculture teaches her things that pertain to daily life, which she wouldn’t have otherwise learned! For example, she told her fiancé she would NOT be a happy bride if their lawn wasn’t healthy, lush, and green for their backyard wedding... in October. Of course, her husband responded with skepticism, since Mississippi lawns are anything but lush during the fall season. However, thanks to advice from a Mississippi State University Extension County Agent, they had green grass just in time for nuptials! Along with learning helpful “life hacks,” she also enjoys meeting new people throughout her career. She’s met many interesting people and made friends who she will always cherish. Learning their life stories, how MSU Extension has helped them, and how everyone learns from each other is an aspect she loves in this job.
During her free time, Amy enjoys DIY projects, visiting towns with old, historic buildings, traveling with her husband, shooting sports, pet fostering, playing with their dog, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, hiking, photography, riding horses, and picking muscadines off the vine behind their house.
NATASHA HAYNES, THE FOOD FACTOR
Natasha Haynes is a Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent for the Mississippi State University- Extension Service, Rankin County. You can catch her every week on Farmweek’s Food Factor segment which presents, research-based information related to food, nutrition, diet, and healthy lifestyles for Mississippians of all ages. She brings food science down to earth and makes it useful for today’s families.
In addition to her role on Farmweek, Natasha provides educational programs on financial management, leadership development, child development, family life, and nutrition and food safety. Natasha enjoys traveling, exercising and meeting new clients. Her favorite color is purple. She refers to herself as a “purpleholic” because everything in her office is purple and a good bit of her houseware is purple. She wears purple tennis shoes and socks when filming The Food Factor to help her feel comfortable and relaxed. She enjoys being a full-time aunt to her nieces and nephews which keeps her on the go.
She is the daughter of Drs. Worth and Linden Haynes. She holds a Master’s Degree in Communication from Mississippi College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Consumer Science from Alcorn State University.
Don’t forget to follow her on social media:
DR. GARY BACHMAN, SOUTHERN GARDENING
Gary Bachman is a Professor of Ornamental Horticulture and earned his BS and MS at Clemson University and Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. He is located at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi, MS. He is the lead horticulturist and host of Southern Gardening, the most visible Mississippi State University Extension outreach effort. Southern Gardening television, radio, and newspaper columns have been recognized for excellence state-wide, regionally, and nationally. Originally from Detroit, Gary and his wife Katie (who is a consultant for IBM), live in Ocean Springs and operate the Heritage Cottage Urban Nano Farm designed as a model small-footprint urban farm to demonstrate techniques to grow an abundance of specialty vegetables for local growers and homeowners.