Backyard Farmer TV Ratings Best in Program's Long History

Backyard Farmer TV Ratings Best in Program's Long History

Ratings for Nebraska-produced show are at all-time high for program that began 60 years ago.

As "Backyard Farmer" enters its 60th year of production, it has something else to celebrate. Ratings for the popular garden show reached an all-time high this year.

May sweeps reached 23,500 households, which was about a 46% increase in audience across the state, says Backyard Farmer Producer Brad Mills. The show was averaging 14,000 households since 2007. 

"I think people are getting a lot more serious about growing their own food and they want to know how to do that," Mills says. "We've been concentrating on getting people back to their own backyards and getting the most out of their home gardens."

STATE FAIR: The Backyard Farmer panel at the 2011 Nebraska State Fair.

Mills also attributes the ratings to younger people who are buying homes for the first time and then want answers on how to make their surroundings look better.

"The show offers quick, economical and unbiased answers. We've always been able to fulfill those two priorities -- growing your own food and making your landscape surroundings more pleasant to the eye as well as conservation and reducing pesticide use," he adds.

Mills hopes these priorities will take the show another 60 years.

The show also received a bumper crop of emails, letters, samples and phone calls.

It also is the most downloaded UNL program, according EdMedia's Mark Hendricks. In addition, the show has made a splash on iTunes U and YouTube, consistently being in the Top 10 of the science category on iTunes and No. 17 overall on iTunes U--a distribution system for everything from lectures to language sessions, films to labs, audio books to tours and a way to get educational content into the hands of students and others.

The show also receives thousands of hits on its YouTube channel at

"It's not just Nebraska anymore, it's going across the country," Mills says.

Mills will continue to offer viewers more information on its YouTube channel with fall and winter gardening issues--from snow blower information to preparing your flower beds for winter.

To watch "Backyard Farmer" live from April through early September tune in Thursdays at 7 p.m. Central Time on NET1. Check your local listings for replay times on NET 2 and NET3.

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