The rapid change of technology on dairies has been immense the past 30 years. Five-gallon pails, wheelbarrows and a recording notebook with a pencil were once common; however, TMR mixers, smartphones and computers have more often taken over in barns and offices.
Similarly, the newspaper industry has flourished and changed. When we printed the first Dairy Star in February 1999, our staff had to work differently. Photos were developed from film, and if a reporter didn't work in the Sauk Centre, Minn., office, they had to mail their pictures.
Fax machines were our avenue for getting a story quickly. If a farmer had a letter to the editor or column they wanted to submit in quick fashion, it was done by fax.
Our design was done on one of the first Macintosh computers available. Then, we would paste the story on a page with the photo and our printer would take a picture and use the negative to publish the paper.
There were no digital cameras, emails or the luxury of using websites to validate information.
Oh have things changes. Nowadays, we lay the paper out on our large monitors and pages only need to be downloaded to the press for printing. We have digital cameras with memory cards that can store over 2,000 photos and a reporter can cover an event and have a story with photos to us in seconds.
While on the topic of change, I wanted to let you know about two new columnists we are privileged to have join our staff, along with a new feature we hope you enjoy.
We've had many talented columnists come and go, such as nutritionist, A.J. Kunkel, veterinarian, Florian Ledermann, or dairy farmer, Kerry Hoffman. Recently our nutritionist, Jim Linn, put the pen away.
A couple new additions to the columnist group includes John Rosenhammer and his daughter, Laura, who have a column titled Transition Pen. They started writing this column in late December with a focus on farm transition. This can be a touchy subject, that if not done right can lead to disasters for families. John and Laura are in the initial stages of their farm transition and have been open to sharing their experience with our readers. Laura graduated from the University of Minnesota with the goal of someday taking over the farm from her dad and her uncle, Greg, on their 200-cow dairy near Sleepy Eye, Minn.
Another new face to join our team is nutritionist Barry Visser and his column is titled Something to Ruminate About. He replaces Jim Linn who stepped aside late last year. Visser has an impressive track record working with farmers and fellow nutritionists. His column can be seen the second issue of every month.
We also introduced a new feature called Family Ties in our Feb. 25 issue of Dairy Star. The goal with this feature is to highlight family members who dairy, but not together. The questions deal with anything from how often the family members talk farming to what technology they wish they would have had when they were kids, along with what the industry means to them. If you know of a unique situation where this is happening in your area, please contact our staff for possible inclusion down the road.
As always, the staff at Dairy Star is very grateful for the time you take to share your story with our readers. Countless times farmers tell us their favorite things to read are the farmer interviews. Well, we don't have those unless you share your story with us. Thank you. Hopefully sometime this year we will be visiting with you about your operation. Keep us in the loop if there is a great story in your area.
Dairy Star is mailed free to dairy farmers in our circulation area. That's the way it was when we started, and the way we want to do it in the future. But we need your help in our plan to keep it that way. In an effort to keep our postage rate down, we send out reader requester cards. If a certain percentage of our farmers send back their cards, we can mail out the paper at a much more reasonable price, which helps us keep your copy free. If you have not sent back your reader requester card or misplaced it, please call Dairy Star at 320-352-6303.
Thank you and God Bless.