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Video Producer Aims to be a Voice for Agriculture
Originally published August 06, 2012
By Ike Wilson
Photo by Bill Green
Conrad Weaver plans to use his videography talents and resources to produce agricultural and farming productions featuring Frederick County farms.
MOUNT AIRY — The average American is generations removed from life on a family farm.
Conrad Weaver wants to close that gap by highlighting the importance of agriculture in a television miniseries, using Frederick County’s farms as subjects.
Weaver, a videographer and producer, and owner of Conjo Studios LLC in Frederick was named a 2012 silver award winner in the 33rd annual Telly Awards for the “Great American Wheat Harvest” documentary movie trailer he produced.
The documentary, which followed the wheat harvest in a 10-state region from Texas to the Canadian border, includes stories of wheat producers and harvesting crews.
Weaver is now focusing his expertise on local agriculture.
Weaver discussed his plans Tuesday at Linganore Winecellars — Berrywine Plantations in Mount Airy, with a PowerPoint presentation for local business leaders, government officials and agriculture stakeholders.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there about farms, and farming practices have been under attack by the media,” Weaver said.
As an example, Yahoo News listed agriculture as one of five useless college majors, Weaver said, even though the industry is the nation’s largest employer with 23 million jobs in the U.S. directly related to food production.
“If we aren’t telling our story, other people will,” Weaver said, using a quote from change.org.
With its 1,400 farms, Frederick County offers the perfect venue for the project, which Weaver hopes will expand from a bimonthly webcast to a weekly television program.
“I didn’t know I could buy socks that were grown in Frederick County. It’s time for Frederick County to tell our story,” said Weaver, who grew up on his grandfather’s farm in northeast Ohio, where he milked cows. “I want to … focus my company on agriculture video products — be a voice for farmers and agriculture.”
The public needs to become aware of why and how farmers do what they do, said Weaver, a former president of the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association.
Some people complain about farm odor or wonder why cows live so close to their neighborhoods, Weaver said.
Weaver’s ultimate goal is a national farming network, but he wants to begin on a small scale by producing high-quality, 30-minute programs, highlighting dairy, grain, cattle, swine, equine, and organic farms and vineyards in Frederick County, and then expand to neighboring counties.
Weaver hopes to establish a panel of business and agriculture experts to guide the project. If he garners funding on time, he wants to launch the first program in conjunction with the opening of The Great Frederick Fair in September.
“As you can see, this is an awesome opportunity to initiate some great programming,” Frederick County’s agriculture development specialist Colby Ferguson said. “I encourage you to join the effort.”
Helen Riddle, director of the county’s development office, met Weaver about a month ago. “I felt his passion for local agriculture, and it’s good that you were here to feel it,” she told the gathering of about 25 people.
“It’s a great idea,” Commissioners President Blaine Young said, “but I think funding may be an issue. Obviously, the county supports all businesses, but the county is not in the TV programming business.”
Weaver will have to find sponsors, Young said, “and I think it will need to be entertaining, as well, not just informational.”