Mike Rankin here...and for the past nearly 27 years, I was the crops and soils agent with the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Fond du Lac County. Previous to attending graduate school at Iowa State and moving to Wisconsin, I worked eight years on a large dairy and grain farm in southern Illinois. Regardless of where the hat was hung, my passion has always been forage crops. Anyone who knows me will tell you that . . . right before or after they tell you I'm a baseball nut.
I, like many of you, was sorry to hear last December that an old friend, Hay & Forage Grower magazine, was being terminated. Heck, I still had the premier edition from March 1986 stuffed away in my office. Several weeks later, I was elated to hear that the W.D. Hoard & Sons Company had purchased the magazine rights along with eHay Weekly and was again going to fire-up the presses and fill my inbox with a digital newsletter. My forage friends were coming back home.
What happened next is too long of a story for eHay Weekly, which will consist mostly of short, timely forage bits. I will, however, pass along the ending: I'm now retired from the University of Wisconsin and find myself as managing editor of Hay & Forage Grower. . . about as good of a forage fix as it gets.
As for eHay Weekly, our goal is to provide you with timely forage updates that focus on the production, marketing, and utilization of forage crops for ruminant livestock. There may even be a little personal commentary; I've been known to express my opinion from time to time. Our “Forage Road Trip” section will offer the opportunity to see how the forage situation stands in states outside of your own. In addition, we'll toss in a forage photo (or foto) each week. Photography is another of my favorite pastimes.
Finally, we'll discuss what's happening on our farm. That's right, in addition to publishing great agricultural content, the W.D. Hoard & Sons Company owns and operates a dairy farm just outside of our home base in Fort Atkinson, Wis. I'll let you know what is going right, going wrong, or not going at all from a forage management standpoint. Be sure to read our “Down on the Farm” section in this week's edition to get the scoop on how alfalfa led to the purchase of the Hoard's Dairyman Farm in 1899.
Together, we'll soon see how quickly an agronomist can transform himself into a journalist. It should be an educational and enjoyable ride . . . for both of us. I merely hope that I can carry on the tradition for providing quality information in the same way that former Hay & Forage Grower editors like Neil Tietz and Fae Holin so capably were able to before me.
So, welcome to the launch of eHay Weekly and be looking for our first print edition of Hay & Forage Grower later this summer. Also, check out our website at hayandforage.com along with our Twitter and Facebook feeds. Time to make hay.