For others, agriculture entered their lives through an experience or a mentor. That was the case for the founder of our publishing company, W.D. Hoard. Hoard did not grow up on a farm, but he started working on a neighbor’s farm as a teenager. That dairyman encouraged him to read and learn all he could about dairy, and there’s no doubt his advice played a pivotal role in propelling Hoard toward a lifelong career of leadership and serving dairy farmers.
Agriculture as a whole would not be what it is today without the strong history and tradition of farming we have in this country. At the core of today’s practices to maintain fertile soil and care for animals are foundational lessons that were learned decades ago.
At the same time, we would not be where we are now without technology, either. As the country grew in population and cities sprawled into the countryside, farmers were tasked with producing more food on less land. To do this, farmers made adjustments to how they managed fields and raised animals, incorporating more technology into the everyday aspects of production agriculture to enhance efficiency and productivity.
For manure, advancements in technology have provided options for storage that maintain nutrient content and minimize odor. More advanced equipment allows us to transport manure farther, and it tells us precisely where it should be applied to better use manure as a nutrient source for crops. With technology, we are able to turn manure into bedding and energy, too. We are able to use these nutrients in a way that not only is more productive but also protects the environment.
The opportunity that technology brings is also what draws some bright, young minds to agriculture. That was the case for Mat Stutzman, the poultry farmer featured in the story on page 10. His original career plans did not involve farming, but the chance to add technology to grow and enhance their farm excited him, and that is what motivated him to return.
This year has been far from normal, and it has forced us to alter some of our traditions, at least for a while. Thankfully, access to technology has allowed family members and coworkers to easily communicate, and even see each other, through phone calls, texts, and video chats. Perhaps some things will never be the same again, as the pandemic forced us to discover new ways to do daily tasks. Still, there are important traditions at the core of our families, our farms, and our communities that can’t be replaced. I hope those traditions are able to return — and flourish — as soon as it is safe to do so.
This is the fourth and final issue in our first year of publication. Thank you for joining us on this ride as a reader, and we look forward to sharing the latest news and research in nutrient management with you in the year ahead.
We appreciate your steadfast commitment to agriculture. May the upcoming holiday season be filled with health and happiness for you and those around you.
Until next time,
This article appeared in the November 2020 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 4.
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