This issue of Farm News is our traditional anniversary issue. The paper enters its 17th year of covering farm and rural living in 33 Iowa counties.
“The first news editor for Farm News, Bill Rentsch set a standard for us that we still try to live up to,” said Larry Kershner, the fourth and current news editor, now in his third year with the paper. “We endeavor to be as informative and timely as a weekly newspaper can be.”
Kershner noted that readers express their appreciation for this free distribution newspaper by their continued support during the two annual contribution campaigns.
He said the paper is still a minimum of 24 pages as the first issue, although the page size has changed with the industry.
“The nicest compliment I’ve received about the paper,”?Kershner said, “was at the Pork Congress last January when a reader said that Farm News reads like a hometown paper.
“That was gratifying, because it’s that’s the ‘feel’ we are working for.”
Over the years, the newspaper has added features that, he said, has made the paper stronger.
Crop Watch, by Bob Streit, “is the most timely column we have,”?Kershner said. “And David Kruse and Alan Guebert are usually guaranteed to generate letters to the editor.”
Other popular features include Jerry Nelson’s entertaining “County Agent Guy,” the weekly Farm Cook, plus the summer Century Farms edition and the fall Barns of Iowa edition.
Kershner said the paper’s writing staff of Kriss Nelson, Darcy Dougherty Maulsby, Clayton Rye, Karen Schwaller, Robyn Kruger, Doug Clough and David DeValois are dedicated to cover the seminars, workshops, field days and special features to bring the latest in farm technology and precision farming and trends to readers.
“This is an exciting time to be a farm reporter,”?Kershner said. “And 2011 promises to bring a plethora of headlines as weather, pests, diseases and weeds will all have an impact on the growing season.”
In light of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest estimates of year-ending grain stocks, especially corn, keeping an eye on all these yield-affecting influences will be a big job.
“And I’m confident we are up the challenge,”?Kershner said, “not only this year, but in years to come.”
He said he always welcomes reader feedback.
“We all have blind spots, and our readers help us to know when we are overlooking essential stories.
“Being a full time farm reporter has been a dream job for me,”?Kershner said, who is in his 30th year in journalism. “I’m proud of our product and work hard to not do anything that will hurt this publication.”
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