These last three years have flown by quickly. While I'm excited to be settled in to my new role as editor of the Nebraska Farmer, it goes without saying at this point that I've got some mighty big shoes to fill taking over the role of Don McCabe, who, after writing for the Nebraska Farmer for 37 years, has become a well-known friend of agriculture throughout the state.
In addition to those who have worked with Don at the Nebraska Farmer, it seems, even in the short time I've been here, that everywhere I go I meet someone Don has influenced during those 37 years. In case you missed it, last month, the Nebraska legislature passed legislative resolution 117, in recognition of Don's commitment to Nebraska agriculture and congratulating him on his retirement.
Although I'm a Hawkeye in Husker country, I see it as a perfect fit to cover Nebraska, a state I consider, despite misconceptions by those passing through on the interstate, to be one of the most diverse states in the Midwest in terms of agriculture, geography, and climate – from Sioux County to Richardson County and from the native prairie grass of the Sandhills to the fertile cropland in the Platte River valley.
Indeed, as a Nebraska Department of Agriculture blog recently pointed out, Nebraska has plenty to brag about when it comes to agriculture, whether it's having more irrigated farmland than any other state in the U.S. or recently taking the spot over Texas for the highest number of cattle on feed, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service.
As highlighted in a University of Nebraska-Lincoln blog profiling Don's background on his family's farm near Newcastle and his career writing for the Nebraska Farmer, Don offered the following advice to aspiring agriculture journalists: "Read as much as you can, and be curious about the world."
Nebraska agriculture, in my opinion, is the perfect setting for this philosophy to never stop exploring – dynamic, resilient, and ever-growing and changing to meet the growing demands of a growing world population.