A nationally broadcast PBS show that highlights American agricultural life is filming in Rapid City later this month.
The crew of the show, America’s Heartland, will descend upon Baker Timber Products to do a story about daily life in their family’s timber business here in the Black Hills.
Filming is scheduled for July 17 and the episode will air this fall or winter.
Brothers Bill and Bob Baker, along with their wives, Dianne and Rita, and Bob and Rita’s son, Jack, run the business that was started by their father, Clayton Baker, in 1961.
“Back then it was basically chainsaws and tractors. We even had a horse we skidded logs with,” Bill Baker said.
Baker Timber Products has come a long way since then, he said.
America’s Heartland is an Emmy-award winning half-hour magazine-style series. As the only nationally broadcast series of its kind, the team travels the country telling stories that shows the daily lives of America’s farmers and ranchers. The show allows agriculturalists to share their stories.
Baker said his family is thrilled to be featured on the show. He hopes to tell the story of their family business and their commitment to the Black Hills. The company does some thinning and logging through contracts with the U.S. Forest Service to help combat the mountain pine beetle, Baker said.
Baker said he hopes the show reaches people who may have a negative view of the timber industry.
“I think the timber industry sort of gets a black eye for being big, greedy companies and not caring about the land,” he said. “For us, like most people in our business, that is just not the case. We need trees as a resource to make a living. We care deeply about how the Black Hills are taken care of. Not only for our business, but because we live, work and play in the Black Hills so we care about it a lot.”
Like many agricultural families, the brothers started working with their father at a young age after school, on weekends and through the summer.
“We would go to the woods and just do whatever we could,” Baker said.
Before arriving in Rapid City, America’s Heartland reporters and crew will also film episodes in Buffalo, Wyo., and at the Livingston Ranch in Sundance, Wyo.