There are new and exciting changes being made to the paper.
Like many people who like to make New Year's resolutions or changes in their life on Jan. 1, the same goes for the Dairy Star.
Every time we start a new year, the Dairy Star editorial staff - Andrea Borgerding, Krista Kuzma and I - discuss strategies and then develop ideas on how we can continue to improve our dairy publication.
Many of the changes we make are an accumulation of visits throughout the year that we've had with farmers, subscribers and advertisers about which features they enjoy in the Dairy Star and what else they would like to read. We've always had an open door policy with our readers and enjoy hearing their ideas.
Several of the changes this year include saying good bye to a columnist, adding a couple new features, taking dynamic photos and increasing our video exposure.
First of all, we have to say goodbye to Kerry Hoffman. Her farewell "Getting Kerry'd Away" column is on page 34. For the past 12 years Kerry has informed and amused us with happenings from the dairy she operates with her husband, Steve, and their two sons, Russell and Joe, near New Ulm, Minn. After 400 columns she has decided to retire her pen.
We also have a slight change with the subject line from another one of our columnists, Natalie Schmitt. Natalie will continue to write her column "Just Thinking Out Loud" once a month. But she has added another duty as our cooking columnist. If you've ever visited the Schmitts and RALMA Holsteins, not only do you see great cows, but the food there is usually outstanding as well. Natalie will be writing a column about cooking on the farm and plans to share a recipe with us each issue. Her column was typically on page 32 of the first section, but now can be found near the recipes just inside the back cover of the second section.
Also new for 2015 is a Dairy Star Youth section that will be placed in the center spread of the third section. You will find popular features like "Kids Corner" and "Dairy's Star Youth" in that area. We also plan to develop other youth stories and have increased photo coverage from many youth events throughout the year. Those include dairy princess events, county fairs, 4-H and FFA events. We are committed to recognizing the many great kids that are proud of their background and love the dairy farm.
We've also made a minor change to "Dairying Across America," which we have been featuring for many, many years. Just when we think it's run it's course, we have readers tell us it's one of their favorite features in the paper. So, we decided to expand on it by beginning to do interviews of dairy farmers from around the world and have those titled, "Dairying Around the World." We plan to interview farmers from all different countries and continents - from Europe to Australia and Africa to South America. If you know of anyone who dairies in another country, please let us know if they would be interested in talking to us about their dairy farm and the dairy industry in their country.
Some other minor changes that we plan to make deal with our website. We will be posting many more videos throughout the year and plan to be more active on Facebook as well.
As the saying often goes, to see what's ahead of you, you must first look back. Looking back, we know that we have done a lot to cover the dairy producers of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. And that should be no different looking ahead. We will strive to continue seeking out the stories on dairy farms across the region.
If you have any story ideas or know of a candidate that would be perfect for any of the unique features we publish in the Dairy Star give us a call. Our numbers appear on page two of the first section.
The Feb. 28, 2015, issue will be the first issue of our 17th year of publishing the Dairy Star. Like the previous 16 years, we are extremely grateful for our faithful readers and hope you enjoy the changes we have in store this year.
May God bless you with a healthy family and a great year of dairy farming.