Last week at the 70th Annual convention for the National Association of Farm Broadcasters, former NAFB president and director of Southern Farm Network, Johnnie Hood was inducted into NAFB’s Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Hood spent some time with SFN’s Bob Midles talking about the award, and what he’s been doing in the 12 years since his retirement:
“I came to WPTF in 1972. My dad was in the farm equipment business so I had a basic understanding. From 1977-2002 I was a farm broadcaster.
There were so many agricultural changes in that span of time, yet they were gradual. They didn’t just happen. With the tobacco program, it was the beginnings of if you didn’t farm your tobacco you would lose your allotment. The tobacco program gradually moved into the contract growing and that happened over a period of time.
One of the first meetings I covered was at NCSU, it was a joint effort announcement of the NCDA, USDA and the extension service of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program. I remember thinking ‘OK sure, that is really going to happen.’ But it did.
When my wife and I made the decision to retire and move to Florida, the Southern Farm Network was moving to internet and I was in on the ground floor of that. For the last year I worked, I was feeding my programs onto the internet.
When I started out we had reels that we used to record and then gradually we worked into cassette recorders. Now they have gone digital.
The farmers are also experiencing technology changes. I went to a farm meeting at a big wheat operation in Kansas a while ago, and they were showing this tractor with a GPS unit on it. The farmer had gone through earlier in the year and taken soil samples across his fields to see what deficiencies there were. He put them into the computer and then he would start putting out the fertilizer so he would have a good crop. The computer on the tractor knew what to dispense depending on where he was in the field.
I was surprised to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I thought I did a good job, I took my work seriously and gave my best. I wasn’t sure it was what others were doing or as professional sounding. But I kept on doing what I was doing. It’s an honor and a thrill for me.
My last association meeting was in 2000. I see a lot of familiar faces and its been great to meet new people.
In Florida, I’m working. I got bored quickly when I moved there. They needed bus drivers for the school system so I went to work as a bus driver. I love it. I take the kids to school. Then go back home and relax. Then go back and take the kids home. It’s a good day for me. It does start to get old in April, but by August you cant wait to do it all over again. I’ll do it until they tell me they don’t want me!
I haven’t been on the air but once in the last five years. I went on the air for SFN and promoted their internet site.”