Time to focus on writing skills for ag

Farm Forum

Through the past 10 years, I’ve focused on learning about agriculture and all of its facets for my job. As editor of the Farm Forum, the publication has grown from 80 pages to its all time high last year of 196 pages.

The ad listing the job opening for the Farm Forum Editor appeared in the American News and online this week. For the past six months, I’ve considered working part-time. I want to devote more time to writing stories about agriculture and turn over some of the day-to-day duties to other staff members. On Oct. 4, I’ll no longer be the Farm Forum Editor. I’ll move to be “Farm Forum Writer.” Stan Wise, who has been the Farm Forum News Assistant for the past 17 months, will be the temporary Farm Forum editor as applications for the job are reviewed and a decision made on who will be hired. I know Stan will do a great job as we’ve worked closely to prepare information for the pages.

With this change, I plan to be in contact with people about stories and write about the passion people have for many spectrums of agriculture. Like many in farming and ranching operations, I need to change my focus. I plan to work on being a better writer as a conduit for important stories about agriculture in this region.

At a time when many print publications struggle, the success of the Farm Forum has expanded, reaching deeper into North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa in addition to covering the state of South Dakota. Advertising fuels that increase.

The number of pages for stories depends on the number of ads sold. To add additional value, we’re working to provide timely information about what is going on in agriculture. We welcome all of the information that comes in to us. We work to get in stories that are most pertinent to our readers. Some of that is from reporter-generated stories, and some comes from press releases from companies. We partner with both South Dakota State University in Brookings and North Dakota State University in Fargo as well as the Extension service to print information about research and meetings. Results from 4-H and FFA competitions showcase the talents of the young people who will be the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

We’ve developed contacts with numerous companies about new products and new people hired. We provide a lot of “meat and potatoes” content for our readers. My job is great as we often hear that people love the Farm Forum and that it’s the Bible for people in agriculture.

In October, many of the stories I’ll work on will be directed to our special Innovations Edition that comes out Nov. 15. And in November, I’ll work on stories about cattle for our Cattlemen’s Edition that will come out on Dec. 13. Suggestions for story topics are appreciated.

To better understand our industry, I’ll also spend more time on our farm. I’ve gotten mixed signals from Dale, so I don’t know if he thinks that is a good thing or a bad thing. My first challenge will be learning to drive the blue tandem truck. (I hope he doesn’t remember that I blew the brakes out on one of our farm trucks when we first got married.)

I’ll continue to work with the American News staff to provide ideas for stories about agriculture for the daily newspaper as agriculture affects so much of our economy in this area. By focusing on these stories and the incredible work done by the people in our industry, my goal is to make the Farm Forum a publication that will be of more value to our readers. I hope to talk with many of you on my journey.