[imgcontainer left] [img:derry-brownfield.jpeg] Derry Brownfield [/imgcontainer]

Derry Brownfield, one of the Midwest’s best known farm broadcasters has died.

Born in 1932, Derry Brownfield died in his home early Saturday from an apparent heart attack. Derry was known for his informative, witty and colorful delivery of the news on his radio show, the Derry Brownfield Show.

Even at the age of 79, Derry could still saddle up and ride a horse.

Derry first entered the world of broadcasting when he and a friend established the Brownfield Network in 1972. In 1994 he established his own radio show, the Derry Brownfield Show. In 1997 Learfield Communications purchased the Brownfield Network, but Derry remained on the air until 2008 when a dispute with major advertiser Monsanto resulted in cancelation of his show. Never one to give up, Derry continued broadcasting his show via webcast.

In 1949 at the age of 16 Derry earned his FFA American Farmer degree. He later attended Missouri University earning both BA and MS degrees. After graduating from MU he taught Vo Ag for several years before working for the Missouri Department of Agriculture as a marketing specialist. He also served as director of the Kansas City Livestock Foundation. 

Over the years Derry grew his family beef operation to 200 head of purebred Charolais cows on 1,000 acres of Missouri pasture.

Long an advocate for family-based agriculture and a harsh critic of its enemies, Derry Brownfield will be missed across Missouri and the entire nation.

(To see Derry in action, go to the end of this post.)

• Enrico Ponzo was a gang member of sorts and. in 1997, was indicted along with others for attempted murder and extortion. He was also the target of a contract killing by another mobster.

So he fled and wound up in Marsing, Idaho, where he took the name of Shaw and became a sort-of rancher. But everybody knew he wasn’t from around there (or anywhere near there!). Reporter William Yardley explains:

Jeffrey John Shaw, known as Jay, was never a natural rancher. The accent from back East and his inexperience with cattle gave him away quickly as another newcomer reinventing himself in the West. “He wore bib overalls and straw hats,” said Brodie Clapier, a neighbor and a longtime rancher. “People did wear bib overalls here — in the 1930s.”

Ponzo/Shaw was arrested by federal marshals. He’s asking neighbors to feed his cattle and dogs. 

•The Lexington newspaper tracks a decade of prescription pill addiction in rural Kentucky. 

It is a sad story. Every time authorities find some way to cut off supplies, another avenue opens. The latest is the “pill pipeline” between Florida and Appalachia, write Bill Estepp and Dori Hjalmarson.

Meanwhile, the paper reports, Rep. Hal Rogers (Republican and new chair of the appropriations committee) is pushing the Obama administration to act. “Crook doctors operating these pill mills” in Florida are running rampant and are fueling the flow of illegally obtained prescription drugs to states like Kentucky, Rogers told Attorney General Eric Holder during a recent hearing. “My people are dying.” 

Holder responded: “They’re not your people. They’re my people; they’re American citizens.” 

• It could be harder to maintain public radio in rural areas if federal funding is cut entirely. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that nationally, Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants account for about 10% of a station’s funding. For the local KUSM, however, CPB funding adds up to 18% of the station’s revenue.

The Derry Brownfield Show: 

The Derry Brownfield Show from Steve Mays on Vimeo.

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