Nov. 2, 2015 10:44 AM
Mike Rankin, Managing Editor

Agriculturally, you might call it dormant or fallow. That’s been the status of Hay & Forage Grower magazine since late last year when its publisher terminated the publication. Like many of you, I felt an old friend had moved away forever. In fact, I still had the premier issue from March 1986 stuffed away in my desk (and most of the ensuing issues stored in a file cabinet). I would miss the occasional call from editor Fae Holin, and before her Neil Tietz, asking about how to price standing forage or some other facet of haymaking. Such is the life of an academic forage junkie. Not too many months ago, I was working on my 27th year as a county crops and soils agent with the University of Wisconsin Extension Service. Previous to that gig, I attended graduate school at Iowa State researching alfalfa and worked eight years on a large dairy and grain farm in southern Illinois.

While at my extension desk earlier this year, I read that the W.D. Hoard & Sons Company had purchased the rights to Hay & Forage Grower along with its companion email newsletter, eHay Weekly. It meant my forage friends were coming back and would be on pretty solid ground with the publisher of Hoard’s Dairyman, an institution in the dairy industry for 130 years. It also meant the life and job I loved were about to change after many years of being pretty much the same.

Long story short — in mid-April I found myself retired from my long-held university job and thrust into the role of managing editor for a forage magazine and digital newsletter; and to think I always figured I’d work part time in a hardware store during retirement, or maybe as a Wal-Mart greeter. No, forage crops and forage people would now be a daily focal point . . . the perfect retirement job, though no workload reduction.

In early June, the first issue of eHay Weekly hit the email inboxes. The goal of the newsletter is to provide timely forage updates that focus on the production, marketing, and utilization of forage crops for ruminant livestock. Yes, you’ll also get some personal commentary from yours truly and news from the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm. That’s right, in addition to running a publishing company, the W.D. Hoard & Sons Company also owns and operates a dairy farm just north of our home base in Fort Atkinson, Wis. You can read more about it on page 24. If you’re not an eHay Weekly subscriber and would like to check it out, go to http://on.hoards.com/subscribe-eHay

Expect a magazine in your mailbox from this point forward. To start, there will be six issues per year with information for livestock producers, custom operators, commercial hay growers, forage consultants and educators. We’ll cover bermudagrass to alfalfa to corn silage. Editorial comment will also come free of charge. Together, we’ll soon see how quickly an agronomist can transform himself into a journalist. It should be an educational and enjoyable ride. I’m looking forward to it and hope you are as well. Finally, don’t be afraid to pass along your opinions of what you like or don’t like in the publication. My door and email box are always open.