Lessiter Publications, Inc., the publishers of Farm Equipment, No-Till Farmer and Rural Lifestyle Dealer, has launched a new 18-week video/blog series, entitled “Shipping Out.”

The series, which is sponsored by Great Plains Manufacturing, Salina, Kan., chronicles Frank Lessiter’s journey on a Mississippi River grain barge carrying $5.4 million in cargo. Lessiter’s first-hand experience on the barge (an opportunity seldom afforded to the media), coupled with 40-plus years of agricultural reporting, raised numerous questions regarding the goal of 300-bushel corn and the ability of the U.S. to transport that grain with an aging river infrastructure.

Lessiter Publications’ Frank Lessiter (l) and son-in-law Mark Hansen about to board Show-Me State tow boat in St. Paul, Minn.

“For some time, the industry’s been abuzz with talk about boosting average corn yields to 300 bushels per acre and soybean yields to 100 bushels per acre,” says Lessiter, founder and editorial chairman of Lessiter Publications. Citing United Nations population growth estimates of 9 billion people by 2050 and the growing attention for food-production, Lessiter maintains that many challenges must be addressed, including on-the-farm technology and grain storage as well as the transportation required to move crops to overseas markets.

"This new series is the definition of multimedia," says Paul Markgraff, e-media director, who produced the series. "It reaches our different agricultural universes through electronic means such as blogging, video, Twitter and Facebook, while also using tools like barcoding and mobile phones to tie our media offering together. We’re delivering the content to our readers using the methods they prefer."

Shipping Out is an eight-part video/blog series available through numerous Lessiter Publications media. The first installment is now available at http://www.shippingoutseries.com. To sign up to receive updates when later segments appear -- about once every two-to-three weeks -- visit http://www.lesspubserv.com/ShippingOut.