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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release June 26, 2013

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

NBC’s Harry Smith to attend IPTV’s “The Farm Crisis” premiere Thursday

Reception at 6 p.m. followed by film documentary premiere at 7 p.m. at State Historical Museum

DES MOINES – NBC News Reporter Harry Smith will attend the premiere of Iowa Public Television’s “The Farm Crisis” film documentary Thursday at the State Historical Museum of Iowa.

“The Farm Crisis,” which examines the personal and economic disasters that marked the agriculture industry during the 1980s, premieres at 7 p.m. Thursday at the State Historical Museum, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. A reception will be offered at 6 p.m., sponsored by Iowa Public Television, the Iowa History Center at Simpson College and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, with additional support from the James W. Hubbell, Jr., and Helen H. Hubbell Foundation. The reception and film are free and open to the public.

Narrated by Smith, “The Farm Crisis” chronicles the tragedy farmers faced during the 1980s, when thousands were forced into bankruptcy, land values dropped by one-third nationally, and sky-high interest rates inflicted the greatest damage to rural America since the Great Depression.

The program features interviews with policymakers, business owners, economists, and farm families, including Gov. Terry Branstad, Sen. Charles Grassley, Sen. Tom Harkin, former Rep. Jim Leach, the late Mark Pearson, former Sen. Tom Daschle, economist Neil Harl, and recording artist and Farm Aid Founder Willie Nelson.

In addition, the program examines the emotional toil on people whose livelihoods depended on farming. Some broke under the strain of economic disaster – in some cases, even committing murder or suicide. Communities fractured, friendships ended and identities were lost. But amid the tragedy, viewers will see stories of hope: men and women who helped save family farms; activists who rallied for action; and music legends who raised money.

Smith graduated from Central College in Pella with a communication and theater degree and began his career in broadcasting at radio stations in Denver and Cincinnati. He joined CBS News in 1986, where he served in various capacities until July 2011. Smith currently contributes to the primetime newsmagazine show “Rock Center with Brian Williams” on NBC.

Following Thursday’s presentation, “The Farm Crisis” makes its broadcast premiere on Monday, July 1, at 8 p.m. on Iowa Public Television. The program also will air Friday, July 5 at 11 p.m.; Wednesday, July 10 at 7 p.m.; and Friday, July 19 at 8:30 p.m.

Funding for “The Farm Crisis” was provided by Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa; Humanities Iowa; John and Carole Lea Cotton; and Tim and Wendy Haight.

More information about the State Historical Museum of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is available at www.iowahistory.org or www.culturalaffairs.org.

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The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is responsible for developing the state’s interest in the areas of the arts, history and other cultural matters with the advice and assistance from its two divisions: the State Historical Society of Iowa and the Iowa Arts Council. DCA preserves, researches, interprets and promotes an awareness and understanding of local, state and regional history and stimulates and encourages the study and presentation of the performing and fine arts and public interest and participation in them. It implements tourism-related art and history projects as directed by the General Assembly and designs a comprehensive, statewide, long-range plan with the assistance of the Iowa Arts Council to develop the arts in Iowa. More information about DCA is available at www.culturalaffairs.org.



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