Among the most amazing transformations I’ve witnessed during my career in the magazine business is information delivery. When I started with BEEF magazine 28 years ago, there was essentially only print, television and radio with which to reach the masses. However, our only vehicle to reach readers at that time was the monthly printed issue, and readers’ only options for interacting with editors was to call, write, or track us down in person.
Today’s information technology is almost miraculous in retrospect. Today, information moves into readers’ hands almost instantaneously. Plus, interaction with the reader is just a few keystrokes and a click away – very fast, convenient and inexpensive.
During BEEF magazine’s relatively short time traveling the so-called “information super highway,” we’ve added websites, seminars, videos, newsletters (daily, weekly and monthly), and social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to our communication vehicles. And this month, on the occasion of the start of BEEF magazine’s 50th year of publication, we’re adding another – the BEEF Editors’ Blog.
Via BEEF Editors’ Blog, the members of the BEEF editorial staff will take turns reporting and commenting on industry topics. We’ll begin by posting at least twice each week, with those postings consisting of everything from our musings on breaking industry news, to trends, and an occasional sermon from the bully pulpit. The best part is that readers will have the opportunity to respond with their own thoughts and opinions to our thoughts and opinions.
The column you’re now reading serves as the inaugural piece for the blog, but be sure to check back regularly for posts by Senior Editor Burt Rutherford, Senior Associate Editor Jamie Purfeerst and Contributing Editor Wes Ishmael. Our cross section of interests and writing styles should provide for a good variety of topics and opinions.
Along with the launch of BEEF Editors’ Blog, we’re kicking off our golden anniversary year with a September issue chock full of special commemorative content. The cornerstone of the issue is our BEEF 50, a feature in which we honor 50 industry leaders who were instrumental in guiding the direction and success of the U.S. beef industry over the past half-century.
The BEEF 50 consists of some truly notable names in our business, icons really. The honorees were determined by an impartial panel of three judges who weighed the nominations submitted by readers to arrive at this hallowed list. Reading the bios of the BEEF 50 provides a history lesson in itself. You learn, for instance, the identities and notable achievements of some of the leading architects of today’s beef industry – the leaders in genetics, beef quality, beef branding, animal health, the development of EPDs, beef promotion, etc.
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BEEF magazine was novel for its time. Farm publications of that era of the early 1960s tended to be diverse in their coverage, providing articles on multiple crops and livestock, as well as lifestyle. But agriculture was rapidly changing at that time, moving toward specialization. Technological advancements were driving U.S. agriculture into larger, more efficient farm units. The 1963 Fact Book of Agriculture reported that the farmer of the day tended to specialize because they had reached the effective limit on productive processes on which they could keep up to date.
And that was the breach that BEEF magazine stepped into in September 1964. Under the direction of Paul Andre, the founding editor, BEEF was a monthly publication aimed exclusively at Corn Belt farmer-feeders. It later expanded into the Southwest commercial cattle feeding arena, and later added commercial cow-calf production.
But all along, the magazine’s focus has been on practical production information for U.S. beef producers. Our mission statement says it all:
“BEEF is the authoritative source of business management and production information for U.S. beef cattle industry professionals. Via a synergy of in-print, online and in-person products, BEEF provides practical production and industry information that will allow producers to more efficiently, cost-effectively and profitably manage their businesses on a sustainable basis, while keeping an eye toward evolving industry changes and consumer concerns for quality.”
So while the number of options available with which to reach readers has changed considerably in the last half century, BEEF magazine’s mission to provide our readers with cutting-edge, practical production information has not. And we look forward to continuing to perform that mission for another 50 years.
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