Penn State Greater Allegheny business students present analysis to reality TV farmer
Nobody ever said farm life is easy. It's commonly associated with long days of hard labor and a profit margin tied to the whims of Mother Nature and fickle consumers.
The reality TV show “Farm Kings,” which airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on the Great American Country network, offers viewers some insight into the challenges of running such an enterprise through its examination of Freedom Farms, a family-run business in Butler.
Business science students at Penn State Greater Allegheny are avid watchers of the show but their knowledge of the farm in question extends far beyond that of the casual viewer. For the past semester, the business program's graduating seniors have been conducting a detailed business analysis on Freedom Farms.
On Tuesday, Joe King, who runs the farm and its associated markets with his nine younger siblings, visited the campus to learn about the students' findings.
“You're wearing nice shirts,” King joked to the 14 students who greeted him wearing T-shirts promoting his farm with pro-agriculture slogans.
King, 29, was impressed with the scope of the report prepared by the class.
“Sixty-five pages?” he said, thumbing through the booklet.
Instructor Michelle Hough nodded and said, “That's single spaced.”
The report includes graphs, charts and maps related to the structure of the business, its finances and areas for potential growth.
Student presenter Steven Pro said he and his classmates focused on increasing sales and marketing. Inventory bar codes and customer loyalty cards were among the items considered in the report.
“This is modern retail,” said Pro, who noted farming is not an enterprise he'll likely go into after graduation. “It's a tough business.”
The marketing potential of the “Farm Kings” program was discussed. Students noted that with a potential audience of 59 million viewers, it lagged behind other popular reality shows like “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” “19 Kids and Counting,” and the Pittsburgh-based “Dance Moms,” all of which have about 40 million more viewers.
King talked about his experience with the show. He said he pitched and sold the idea to Stage 3 Productions because he believed the idea would succeed.
“It's huge for marketing,” said King, but added direct financial income from the show isn't as great as it might appear on paper when considering the interruptions it creates. He said the first season took 50 days to shoot. Production for the second season began in February and runs through July with crews visiting the farm every other week.
“We're trying to get our story out there,” said King. While viewers who tune in won't see the “reality” of farm life in the strictest sense, they will get an idea of what goes into running such a business.
“This is stuff we actually do all the time,” he said.
King hopes to open a one-stop shopping outlet for all the farm's products, including produce, baked goods and café items next spring. He said the students' report would helpful in planning future business strategy.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- West Mifflin renovation project uncovers time capsule of images
- McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge reopens to traffic after electrical fire
- Company announces it will close McKeesport site that employs 100
- McKeesport fire damages kitchen, but no one hurt
- Comprehensive plan for cities aired
- New McKeesport controller Maglicco takes oath of office
- Wilmerding targeted for mobile farmers market
- Jamie’s Dream Team charity grateful for Pens funding
- West Mifflin Area boosts technology
- McKeesport Area schools to provide outreach activities
- Plan to air Tuesday in McKeesport