Abby Bauer

There is no doubt about it; the agriculture landscape has changed. Farms have grown, evolved, modernized, and specialized. Each decade brings new ideas and new outlets for farmers to better care for animals and the land.

This certainly holds true for nutrient management, and more specifically, manure. What was once considered a waste product, spread on fields closest to the barn to “get rid of it,” has become an opportunity for today’s farmers. Yes, handling manure can still be difficult, but there are now more options to get value from this plentiful resource than ever before. Fertilizer, energy, bedding, even drinkable water — these are all products that can be derived from manure.

And let’s be honest. Just as livestock farmers have a responsibility to care for their animals, they also have an obligation to manage manure in a way that protects not only their farm, but the natural resources that surround them. Nutrient application that meets the needs of the crops is a smart business decision that also protects waterways and the groundwater we all depend on.

While manure itself may not be a glamorous topic, handling it is a necessity, and the opportunities we have now — and those that will be developed in the future — are pretty incredible. That is the reason our team decided to focus in on this crucial matter and launch a quarterly magazine, the Journal of Nutrient Management. We want to bring insightful information from respected sources to you — the individuals working every day to properly store, handle, and utilize the manure produced by cattle, hogs, and poultry.

While this is the very first issue of the magazine, our roots in agriculture and publishing run much deeper. For 135 years, the W.D. Hoard and Sons Co. has published Hoard’s Dairyman, an industry-leading magazine about dairy production. It’s offered in four languages with readers in more than 50 countries around the world. Then, five years ago, we added Hay & Forage Grower to our portfolio, a respected magazine focused on producing and utilizing high-quality forages.

We also write with a practical perspective. It was important to our founding father, W.D. Hoard, that his editors remain connected to the magazine’s readers and the dairy industry. That was one of the reasons the agricultural leader and former governor purchased a farm just outside of Fort Atkinson, Wis., in 1899. Now, more than a century later, we continue to own and operate the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm. Located just a mile from our office headquarters, that part of our company is a constant reminder to our entire team of the challenges and triumphs faced by our fellow farmers. It gives us a front row seat to all aspects of production agriculture, including manure management.

Let’s move forward together, as partners in agriculture, and explore all the opportunities available to turn manure from waste into something worthwhile. Thank you for picking up this first issue, and we look forward to serving as an information outlet that can help us all make better use of this nutrient source moving forward.

Until next time,

Abby Bauer
Managing Editor

This article appeared in the February 2020 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 4.
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