The Planted Row: Access to information in the 21st century

Farm Forum

In a previous job, I worked for a book publisher. When confronted with an early e-book reading device, the owner of the company said he didn’t think it would catch on. “There’s a utility about ink on paper that’s hard to beat,” he said.

At the time, I agreed with him. Part of me still agrees with him, but history is proving my old boss wrong. Many people enjoy reading content on mobile devices. Everywhere I go, I see people checking their phones for the latest news and updates from their friends. For a long time I resisted this trend, but back in February, I bought a tablet. My wife and I were taking a long anniversary trip to Hawaii, and instead of taking several books with me, I bought a tablet and downloaded the books I wanted to read. The tablet weighs less than most books, it can hold hundreds of them, and I get access to the books instantly instead of having them mailed to me. I had a great time reading on my trip, and I love the fact that my tablet lets me check social media, visit webpages, and take photos and video.

So there you have it. My desire for instant information finally won out over my nostalgic love of the printed page. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll relent and get a smartphone.

Here at the Farm Forum, we try to cater to both crowds. Most people in the ag industry here on the Northern Plains are familiar with our newspaper. They either get it delivered at home, or they see it in various stores and restaurants. However, you might not know that we have a very robust online presence, as well.

Our website,, is chock full of features. For one, there’s more ag-related news stories on our website than ever appear in our printed paper. The reason is that we only have so much room for stories in our paper, but we never run out of room on our website. Also, the news stories on our website are updated daily, so you don’t have to wait until Friday to find out the latest information.

The website features much more than stories and columns. All of the classified ads that appear in our paper are also on the website, and they are updated daily. It also has current commodity prices, weather forecasts and radar, an auction calendar, photo galleries and videos. There is also a link to our e-edition. This is a really neat feature that recreates our newspaper exactly how it appears in the printed edition. You can flip through the pages and save and print individual stories.

Another cool feature is our equipment website,, which allows you to search from over 4,500 pieces of equipment from area dealers. The site is updated with the newest offerings from these dealers, so a quick stop at this website might save you a lot of driving if you’re looking for a new tractor, trailer, truck or implement. You can’t beat that kind of convenience.

If you are active on social media, you should also follow us on Twitter (@FarmForum1) or like our page on Facebook for daily updates.

I know farmers and ranchers don’t have a lot of time to run inside, sit down at a computer and check our website for the latest commodity, weather, or equipment information. That’s why we offer a free app for your smartphone or tablet. You can get everything I just mentioned through our app. That way, if you just have a few spare moments while you’re eating lunch or autosteer is driving the tractor, you can use your phone to catch the latest market prices, weather, news, or equipment sales.

Our team works very hard to offer you the most convenient and relevant information. I’ll hope you take a moment to check out our digital offerings and see if you enjoy them as much as the paper sitting on your kitchen table.