Farming in the Black Patch is the story of a family farm in Murray that for generations has grown dark-fired tobacco, which is only common to Western Kentucky and Tennessee. The film, narrated by the nationally acclaimed Peter Thomas of Nova, explores for the first time on film the process of producing dark-fired tobacco from start to finish. The program airs Monday, Feb. 11 at 9/8 p.m. on KET.
“It’s sort of history lesson meets reality show,” says producer Michael Breeding. “We started out producing the history of dark-fired because so little is known about this subject matter.”
The film traces the arduous task of running and operating a modern tobacco farm by following Billy Dale Smith, Josh Smith and William H. (Billy) Smith Jr. of Calloway County for more than two years. Other western Kentucky farmers featured include Scott Lowe, Steve and Craig Carraway, Danny Cunningham and JohnMichael Puckett.
Breeding said the idea for the film came about when Bobbie Smith Bryant, sister to Billy Dale Smith and daughter to Billy Smith Sr., talked to him three years ago about how her family had been giving tours of the farm.
“As I learned more about our family’s history, I discovered that we have ten generations of ancestors that grew tobacco in Western Kentucky. Our family, like so many others in the region, has made a living from working tobacco – and we still do. It has paid for our homes, our education, our entire way of life,” Bryant said.
Along the way, the film explains the process of tobacco cultivation and specifically focuses on the dark-fired process. The narrative also explores the history of tobacco at key pivotal points beginning as far back as 6,000 B.C.
The film features original music by western Kentucky native Beau Haddock, originator of the Kentucky-based 1970s folk-rock group The Little River Band.
Farming in the Black Patch was produced by Michael Breeding Media.