Our March 10 issue of Grainews is my last as editor.
When I took on this job in November of 2011, I planned to stay for six months. I was covering a maternity leave for the previous editor. I wasn’t fully qualified for the position. I’d never been an editor before, and I didn’t have a background in journalism. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. (I suspect the publishers were too.) But how much damage could I do in just six months?
I was hired for the short-term gig, and when previous editor Lyndsey Smith didn’t come back as planned in the spring of 2012, I realized I was having a good time, so I quietly stayed on, wondering if anybody in the Winnipeg office would notice.
Then, before I realized what was happening, eight years had passed! And now it’s time for me to move on to a new challenge. (If I don’t move on soon, I’ll have to get my eight-year-old photo updated.)
Editing Grainews has been a great privilege. I’ve had an opportunity to learn about agriculture, about the publishing industry and about farmers.
One of my favourite parts of the job has been interviewing experts. When farmers, scientists or researchers are excited about their jobs, they love to talk about their work. It doesn’t happen every time, but sometimes when you interview a researcher, you can hear the passion in their voice and see the gleam in their eye. When someone is eager to share their knowledge, that excitement comes right through over the phone, and it makes me happy to share the information with Grainews readers.
The other great thing about this job has been hearing from readers. It’s been great getting emails and phone calls from longtime readers who have comments about an article — even when you’re pointing out an error. It’s been nice to read your solutions to our regular Casebook feature. It’s been really interesting to hear your ideas for articles. And I’ve loved seeing the photos you’ve been sending for the Give Us Your Best Shot contest. I’ve also learned that nobody has more fun sending an email than a farmer pointing out an incorrectly labelled photo of a crop in an ag paper!
I will miss these parts of this job very much. I will also miss my co-workers at Glacier FarmMedia and I’ll miss working with the columnists and freelancers who write the material you read in each issue.
I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do next, especially in the winter, but I am planning to spend more time on our farm. Over the next few months I plan to put in some effort learning about tax and accounting rules so I can do a better job with our farm bookkeeping. I’m going to find a better way to organize our farm data and records. There have been a few discussions about me learning to clean out bin bottoms — we’ll have to see if I have extra time for that.
Before I took this job, I had written three plays, all comedies set on farms in rural Saskatchewan. I have had a few more ideas over the past few years (some good, some not so good), but it’s been hard to find time to write with all of these pages of Grainews to organize. I’ll spend some time on that, and I’ll also keep on writing the Hanson Acres column that runs regularly in Country Guide.
When I took this job in the fall of 2011, our farm was just recovering from a major flood that left us with no crop to harvest. The 2019 season brought such a crazy fall that we weren’t able to harvest all of our 2019 crop. In between 2011 and 2019 we’ve had hail, drought, bouts with disease and some worrying meetings with our accountant. But during that same time period, we’ve also grown some nice lentil crops, sold a few loads of canola at the right time, built a new large storage shed and had our accountant nominate us for an award. Life (and farming) is a mix of ups and downs, so you might as well enjoy the journey.
You’ll be fine
Nobody is irreplaceable, and that is certainly true in this case. Grainews will continue to thrive with a new editor at the helm.
Please welcome Kari Belanger to the position of editor. You’ll see her photo and hear her story in the ‘Editor’s Column’ in our next issue.
Kari brings a lot of experience and enthusiasm to this job. I couldn’t be more confident that you’re all going to love her.
While it was the publisher who hired me on and gave me this opportunity to work on this publication, I owe a big thank you to all of you readers for letting it go on for so long.
What a fun journey this has been!