Editors Pick Favorite Stories of 2013

December 29, 2013 11:38 PM
Editors Pick Favorite Stories of 2013

We here at Farm Journal Media are so honored to provide you with the latest, most interesting and helpful news and content.

Whether you read us in print (Farm Journal, Top Producer, Beef Today, Dairy Today), watch us on TV (AgDay, U.S. Farm Report), listen to us on AgriTalk or visit us here at www.agweb.com or attend one of our 40 or so live events, we appreciate your time and hope we’ve made a positive difference for your farm or ranch.

As we prepare to put 2013 to bed, several of our editors reminisced about the past year and identified the stories, pieces and clips they enjoyed producing the most. Please enjoy our short trip down memory lane.



What to Do When the Tractor Won’t Budge

July 17, 2013
By Jen Russell, Managing editor

Russell: "While this wasn’t the most challenging story to write, it certainly was a heck of a lot of fun. Safety stories can get dry and dull pretty quickly, but fortunately Mr. Whitford is a fantastic speaker and great on camera. In the end, this story turned into a nice little 'how-to' multimedia piece with lots of take-home tips that farmers can use. I think it serves our audience well, which is why I’m especially proud of it."

Beef Today

Standing Tall

Beef Today September Issue
By Sara Brown, Livestock and Production Editor

Brown: "This was the first article of our new redesign. After years of drought, tight forage supplies and tough genetic choices in their operations, cattlemen are truly standing tall in the midst of the storm—and thriving towards new profit opportunities. For me, this was the best piece of encouragement I could give to our readers."

Food Versus Feed

Beef Today December Issue
By Wyatt Bechtel, Associate Editor

Bechtel: "This one was my favorite article because it was one of my first pieces that I worked on after joining the Farm Journal Media team."

Dairy Today

Hope in a Glass Bottle

Dairy Today October Issue
By Cathy Merlo, Western and Online Editor

Merlo: "This was my favorite piece of work from this year. It was a simple, upbeat story about a California dairy that’s added retail marketing of deliciously flavored milk in glass bottles. After years of reporting on tough dairy conditions—especially in California—it was a pleasure to highlight this out-of-the-box venture, where the Rosa family turned an old-fashioned product into a modern, marketable one. And I liked the headline, which reflected the gist of the story in just five words."

Nowhere But Up

Dairy Today March Issue
By Jim Dickrell, Editor

Dickrell: "Like most dairy farmers, Jerry and Karen Dakin were frustrated that they were only receiving a 'commodity price' for their milk. They thought they could do better on price and marketing by processing their own milk. So they did—and found that the road to retail riches were filled with potholes and speed bumps they never anticipated. But they persevered, learning many hard lesson along the way."

Farm Journal

A Tale of Two Soils

Farm Journal October Issue
By Darrell Smith, Conservation and Machinery Editor

Smith: "On behalf of Ken Ferrie, as well as me, I pick this one as my favorite story. I think we received as much or more reader feedback, all positive, on that story as on anything we've ever done. I was told NRCS linked to the story on their website. At any rate, it was an innovative story that could not have been provided by anybody except Ken. No one else would have had access to, and records on, similar fields that had been farmed differently."


Homegrown Energy: Exploring the Future of Fuel and Fertilizer on the Farm

Farm Journal Mid-November Issue
By Ben Potter, Technology and Crop Editor

Potter: "I love writing about the wilder side of farming, and this year’s Farm of the Future series has let me indulge in a lot of that. From weed-zapping robots to tractors that drive themselves to 3-D printed meat, it has been a fun project to work on. My favorite of the bunch was this story. Maybe I read too much science fiction, but I always envisioned a future where we could dump our table scraps into some sort of cold fusion reactor that would power our homes. While that particular idea still seems pretty far-fetched, there are a plethora of alternative energy solutions researchers are working on today. It’s still hard to predict which of these technologies will break big, but make no mistake—some type of large-scale renewable energy source is on its way."

Demand Hoes New Rows

Farm Journal Seed Guide
By Nate Birt, Social Media and News Editor

Birt: "My favorite article for the year appeared in Farm Journal’s annual Seed Guide and profiled several crops that are non-traditional for the Corn Belt—namely, chickpeas, flaxseed and hemp. It’s memorable to me because it helped me better understand the spectrum of agriculture, including geographic preferences, optimal growing conditions, planting/harvest dates, legal considerations (in the case of hemp) and more."

Serious About Seafood

Farm Journal Mid-November Issue
By Rhonda Brooks, Seeds and Production Editor

Brooks: "I enjoyed writing this story because the topic is unique and offered lots opportunity to play on fish and water related words and phrases; plus, producing seafood is a business opportunity that some of our farmer readers will hopefully be able to tap into."


Farm Journal Artwork

Infographics by Lindsey Benne, Art Director

Benne: "I always enjoy working on infographics." Here are her favorites from 2013.

A Sinking Feeling, February 2013
A Sinking Feeling


Acreage Shuffle, Late Spring 2013
Acreage Shuffle


Food Labeling Initiatives Put Tech at Risk, Summer Seed Guide


Export Opportunities Brighten Livestock Outlook, Sept 2013

Export Opportunities


Take a Load Off illustration

Farm Journal November Issue

By Lori Hays, Artist

Hays: "I enjoyed learning about the two different types of skid steers, vertical and radial."

Take a Load Off Illustration (2)


Top Producer

Charts Ease Decisions

Top Producer February Issue
By Julie Deering, Managing Editor

Deering: "This is one of my favorite articles that I had the opportunity to work on this year for a few reasons. The first is that Harry has an amazing story and has been a part of cattle marketing since it began trading at the Chicago Board of Trade. Second, I got to get my boots dirty and travel out to his Knobbe Feedyards, Livestock Sales & Commodities and see him at work. And last, but certainly not least, Harry has worked to understand his employees and what makes them tick. He is truly an on-farm expert at employee relations and management."

Power Surge

Top Producer September Issue
By Julie Deering, Managing Editor

Deering: "I also had the pleasure of covering our Top Producer of the Year, which was awarded to Luke Brubaker of Lancaster, Pa. It was incredible to see how Luke had managed to bring his sons back into the operation and how the Brubaker family continues to add value to the farm, even though they are essentially farming in suburbia. Luke and his sons have been pioneers in adopting and creating on-farm energy. They are innovative and calculated risk takers. I spent the day with Luke touring their Pennsylvania operation and learning more about the dairy industry."

Biofuels Outlook Centers on Politics

Top Producer Summer Issue
By Ed Clark, Business and Issues Editor

Clark: "I chose this story because the outcome of the biofuels debate not only has enormous price impacts for corn producers, but for other crop producers, too, such as soybeans. The article was great fun because not only does the issue have bottom line importance, but I was able to go in depth on the topic by interviewing more than 15 cutting edge experts—from DuPont to farmers—on how their crystal balls see the future and what that means for farmers."

Secrets to Courting the Landlady

Top Producer November Issue
By Sara Schafer, Business and Crops Online Editor

Schafer: "Several years ago I heard an astounding statistic: One in every 10 acres in Iowa is owned by a single female older than 75. As someone who writes stories specifically for young farmers, I felt like this provided a huge opportunity for young farmers looking to rent land. For the story, I visited with three fantastic female landowners who shared their personal stories and wishes for their land."


April 25 Episode of AgriTalk

By John Herath, Executive Producer

Herath: "This broadcast was from a vineyard in Lodi, Calif. We talked with growers, the California Farm Bureau and the United Farm Workers to get a first-hand account of how the fight over immigration is impacting agriculture. We heard how the legislative limbo is causing a severe labor shortage and that crops were going to go unharvested. The broadcast was also noteworthy for us because, quite frankly, we never could have done anything like it before coming to Farm Journal. It was a nice partnership to cover the story on both AgriTalk and AgDay and take a close look at all sides of the issue."


Are You Addicted to Technology? (Straight from the Heartland)

Oct. 28, 2013 

By Pam Fretwell, Special Projects Editor

Fretwell: "One of my favorite stories I told this year was in conjunction with a harvest report. After visiting with a North Dakota farmer about his cropping year...I was surprised and thrilled to finally meet 'the Gadget Guy,' a farmer who loves technology!"


AgDay: Meet the 2013 Dairyman of the Year: Velmar Green

Oct. 3, 2013
By Tyne Morgan, National Report

Morgan: "I'd say my favorite story from the year...as far as feature was the Dairyman of the Year, just because he was SO interesting. He was one of those guys you enjoy meeting and leaves a lasting impression."



Farm Journal Corn College

By Margy Eckelkamp, Farm Journal Machinery Editor

Eckelkamp: "For the sixth year, we hosted our Corn College series of events! These events bring together farmers from more than 30+ states all with one goal—grow better crops.

"On top of our Corn College events, I had another reason to be excited this summer. We got a new team member who loves writing about machinery. Machinery Pete joined Farm Journal as our used equipment value expert on July 1, and we’ve been having a ton of fun ever since. I’ve worked with Greg since 2008, but he was only a columnist for Implement & Tractor. Today, we are working across all of our media platforms to provide his data straight to farmers and equipment dealers, including getting his expert perspective on AgriTalk, AgDay, his blog on AgWeb and every issue of Farm Journal and Top Producer. And you can check out his latest data and funniest stories from 2013 in our annual Machinery Guide."


What was your favorite Farm Journal Media story from 2013? We'd love to hear from you. Email your thoughts to editors@agweb.com.


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