Marji Guyler-Alaniz stands on a gravel road in a denim shirt.

From a Photography Project to a TV Show

FarmHer the television show is back for it’s fifth season, premiering on RFD-TV  September 4, 2020 at 9:30 PM EST.  This new season of 25 original content episodes has me taking the road less traveled, to tell the story of the women who grow our food.  Join me as I explore the world around me, learn from the FarmHers I meet about how food is grown and produced, and enjoy the fruits of the FarmHer’s labor.  Now, how did a I take a photography project to a TV show?

Marji stands on a gravel road in am image previewing Season 5 of FarmHer on RFD-TV.

Taking the Leap to Look to the Future

Seven short, but long years ago I set out on the road less traveled, to do something new.  I walked away from my stable, secure career to figure out what was next.  I honestly had no clue what I was going to do. I did know that I needed to spend more time with my kids and find a way to put my creativity and camera to better use.  

Ram Trucks Beautiful God Made a Farmer Commercial

That very weekend after I left my career the Super Bowl was on.  I sat in my basement, enjoying the company of good friends and delicious crock-pot dips. Mostly my mind was wandering about where I was going. Also, slightly scared at what was to come. Then, the most beautiful commercial I can ever remember was on the screen.  It was just gorgeous still images of Farmers and Ranchers set to the powerful words of “So God Made a Farmer” by the late, great Paul Harvey.  I remember that we all sat and just silently stared as the Ram Trucks commercial ran.  My arms broke out in goose bumps and I felt a little choked up.  

A Beautiful and Rugged Image of the American Farmer

The commercial was beautiful, iconic and showed off the rugged and real faces of farmers that looked just like my grandpa.  I wasn’t the only person who felt that way.  Everyone here in my house that day has some direct or distant connection to farming and food.  Then it was over and I didn’t think another thing about it until the following week.

Where Are the Women?

That next week a newspaper story pointed out that yes, the commercial was amazing and beautiful. It also gave kudos to our family’s favorite truck brand, RAM for highlighting agriculture on such a big, national stage.  But, where were the women? Where are the women, not just in the commercial, but anywhere in agriculture imagery?  It went on to detail that 30% of the farmers in this country are women (now 36%). It also shared the stories of a few of them here in Iowa.  When I read that article, it was like the world stopped for a moment.  Where WERE the women? Why don’t we see them and why hadn’t I thought about this before?  

From God Made a Farmer to FarmHer

So, I started a photography project to show the real, everyday roles that women play in growing food, raising animals and caring for the land.  I called it FarmHer and I set out to photograph a handful of women around Iowa.  By that summer I had photographed seven women and was so excited about how I could portray them through my lens.  My goal was to show the world just how important they are.  That is still my goal, shining a light on the women who grow our food.

Lois Reichert of Reichert's Dairy Air micro dairy in knoxville, iowa milks her goat, gracie before making cheese.

Ready, Set, Run at FarmHer

Fast forward thousands of miles on my truck, hundreds of cold calls, countless hours standing and showing off FarmHer at events and two years.  I received a phone call out of the blue from RFD-TV.  Despite my uncertainty, I stepped up and answered the call.  They wanted to create a television series, called FarmHer, out of my concept.  So, together, that is what we did.  I hit the road and started figuring out how to be on the other side of the camera.  

FarmHer the TV Show on RFD-TV

The RFD-TV crew and I have criss-crossed the country finding the very best stories of FarmHers from coast to coast.  We have filmed well over 100 episodes of our weekly, 30 minute show.  Each story is the story of a woman, a day in her life, a walk in her boots.  In each episode you will travel with me to a a new farm and meet the woman behind it.  You will see what makes her tick, learn about what she grows, and experience the end product, right along with me.  

FarmHer Teresa Smithmeyer hause hoses to Bulls Bay getting ready to harvest sea water that she will dry down to make her delicious Bulls Bay Sea Salt.

The Fifth Season of FarmHer on RFD-TV

We began filming Season 5 in Arizona in February of 2020, right before the world changed.  With only about five episodes filmed, we sat and waiting until it was safer to go back out into the world. In late June we traveled to Iowa and filmed outside, while making sure to give everyone plenty of space.  We filmed again in July in Nebraska and then in August in Wisconsin and Illinois.  Despite the challenges, we have almost wrapped it all up and are working hard now behind the scenes to bring the stories to life for television.  

Lupe Camarena of Nature Fresh Farms stands near a field of broccoli in southern Arizona where she works as a Safety Manager.

Hit the Road Less Traveled in Season 5 of FarmHer on RFD-TV

In this newest season viewers will continue to see diverse operations, ranging from vast farms with thousands of acres to urban farms with a very small footprint.  We will visit a community farm, a preschool farm and meet a few journalists who have spent their careers telling the stories of farmers.  Then, we visit a farm growing thousands of special varieties of apples and turning them into hard cider.  I can’t forget my trip to see the sisters of Triple E Equine, running a horse hotel in Nebraska.  We’ll even visit our very first large scale chicken operation, with a young FarmHer at the helm.  Join me, on the road less traveled, for FarmHer Season 5 on RFD-TV, weekly at 9:30 PM EST on Fridays and Sundays.  If you don’t have cable and would rather stream the show, check out the RFD NOW streaming app!

Want more FarmHer?  Check out our weekly FarmHer Stories on YouTube!  Short stories to entertain, educate and inspire the FarmHer in all of us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *