We do a lot of writing in the farm magazine business about working relationships: often between fathers and sons, but also among daughters, siblings, spouses, grandparents, co-owners and the like. And in the end, those relationships get amplified because they all work together. All day long.
I get that, in part because we farm and I have observed the occasional inter-family farm relationship. Also because I’ve worked for a company for 18 years, with dozens of awesome people over those years.
And boy, have I been fortunate. Mike Wilson was my first boss. Our editorial team back in those days consisted of Mike, Cherry Stout and myself. It was a good time and my learning curve was steep. Mike dispensed timeless advice next to the light table. (“Never shoot a fat man from the side.”) He gave me back edited copy full of red ink and wisdom. I just tried to soak it all up. And he and Cherry both showed me what it was to ask hard questions while appreciating the salt-of-the-earth people we do it for.
Later, Mike moved to Farm Futures and Cherry and I manned the ship ourselves. Then Cherry left to pursue her horse passions, and Josh Flint came on board. Not coming from a farm background, Josh’s learning curve was steep, too, but he was a quick study. We developed an incredibly entertaining working relationship, complete with random texts and his utter understanding that sometimes I had to go drive a semi. Or clean up after a small person occasionally. Because he did, too.
This week marks a new change in the Prairie Farmer staff, and the chance for new relationships. Jill Loehr has joined our team as an associate editor. Jill is a farm girl from northwest Iowa and she earned a degree in ag journalism from Iowa State University. (Don’t hold that against her! I-L-L forever.) Her career took her to agency work in Wisconsin and northern Illinois, then most recently to the communications team at Wyffels Hybrids.
All of this is to say that she knows corn and Illinois agriculture, and she’s already done time at the Farm Progress Show. Frankly, that’s half the battle here.
So I hope you’ll welcome Jill to our pages, both paper and digital. She’s already dug in, with a story this morning on the recent floods across central and southern Illinois. We’ve had a lot of editors in our history, dating back to 1841. I’m confident Jill will be another of the great ones.
And in the meantime, we’ll have a lot of fun covering Illinois agriculture together. Because that’s the other half of the battle.