If you've noticed something new about Hay & Forage Grower, it may be its “new coat of paint.” The magazine, with nearly 23 years under its belt, now boasts a more modern, clean design and a spiffed-up logo.
One new department that we'll periodically feature is an Industry News page. It will cover news from forage organizations that are lobbying for, marketing and researching forages.
But don't expect too much different as you page through this issue. We're still covering production aspects of forages, talking to growers, university extension specialists and researchers and other industry leaders. We continue to report on new technology, new methods of forage management and, in this issue, the newest alfalfas on the market.
Our online newsletter, eHay Weekly, has also undergone a metamorphosis. It has an easy-to-read format, links to hayandforage.com, USDA prices and even the weather.
More importantly, it's being edited by veteran ag journalist Rick Mooney, whose byline you frequently see on the pages of this magazine. Mooney, with regular contributions from the editors of Hay & Forage Grower, will be delivering 50 issues of the newsletter to the computers of hay growers, university specialists and industry leaders each year.
If you don't get this weekly edition, sign up at hayandforage.com by clicking on the Subscribe button.
While you're dialed into hayandforage.com — assuming you have a computer, of course — click around our site. We're constantly offering new information that the magazine doesn't have room for.
Several new features that beg for reader response include our poll questions. A question asked last winter — “Are you planning to harvest more hay acres in 2008 than you did in 2007?” — was answered by 993 readers. Seventy-two percent said they would plant more hay acres.
Another newer feature on the Web site is our Ask The Experts section. Readers can ask questions and we'll either do the research or find an expert to provide the answers. It takes time, so ask any planting or harvest questions well ahead of when you need the answers.
A third new feature allows readers to communicate with each other. At the bottom of our articles — whether they're from the Web site, our magazine archives or eHay Weekly — article commenting is offered.
Readers can provide reactions or ask questions relating to the story or stories they just read by quickly typing them in. Those thoughts are then stored to be approved or rejected by our editors. Not many are rejected — only those that go beyond the realms of good taste or reason disappear.
We hope this feature will help give growers a forum to discuss current issues or concerns online. This also allows us editors the opportunity to “talk” with readers.
Curious to try it? Just log onto hayandforage.com and click onto any story you're interested in. Or want to give us feedback on our new features or our new magazine design? Just go to “Most Recent Issue,” find this story and page to the bottom of it. Let us know what you're thinking. We're interested.