Just trying to nudge the world a little

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“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.”

– Playwright Tom Stoppard


While on her honeymoon a couple weeks ago, Farm and Dairy reporter Kristy Hebert and her husband, Jay, took an ATV ride through the countryside of Barbados, winding through farm country.

When they stopped, Kristy immediately reached in her bag for a pen and paper. Giving her an odd look, Jay asked, “What are you doing?”

Kristy, who had been soaking in the landscape while Jay drove, said simply, “I just want to write this all down.”

That’s what we writers do. We observe and listen and question – and then we just want to write it all down.

I was honored last week to receive recognition from the Ohio Farm Bureau for doing what comes naturally to me – ag journalism – although I am reminded of a quote attributed to Adlai Stevenson: “Journalists do not live by words alone, although sometimes they have to eat them.”

One of our former computer gurus shared another quote with me, this one from Mark Twain: “I am not the editor of a newspaper and shall always try to do right and be good, so that God will not make me one.” And I must confess, there are those days when I agree with Twain’s sentiment.

The award, however, recognizes all of Farm and Dairy as much as it does any of my contributions, for Farm and Dairy plays a unique role in the agricultural community – one that is not easily duplicated.

In the 1914 premier edition of the Tri-County Farmer, the forerunner of Farm and Dairy, the president of the Eastern Ohio Jersey Breeders Association, D.E. Howatt, wrote these words of support to our founder, R.B. Thompson:

“We want a truly farmers’ paper of our very own, one that will watch the great agricultural doings of the whole world and tell us about them in a way that we can understand…

“Reading local farming and stock news is a great help, it gives you confidence, because you know it is not necessary to visit the Corn Belt to see good corn, not needful to grow Irish potatoes in Ireland or buy a Jersey cow on the Island of jersey. This section of ours is good enough to grow any needful thing…

“The professional farmer comes in contact with many problems, some of them of minor importance, but many of them of great and vital import.

“All of them are hard to solve by unassisted effort; that is why the paper you promise us should be so helpful, get us together, educate us to assist each other, teach us to endeavor to fill our wants at home, to patronize nearby merchants and especially fill us with the desire to unite professionally.”

The news staff at Farm and Dairy works hard to ensure accuracy and objectivity – and above all, to maintain the trust and respect that readers have given us for 89 years. The entire company works hard to bring you a “truly farmers’ paper of your very own.” Our reward is not in awards, but in comments like these from readers:

“I read the Wall Street Journal, I read Time magazine and the National Review, but I learn more and enjoy Farm and Dairy much more than those other publications combined.”

And this one: “If I ever get down to Salem, I would like to stop in and meet all of you. You are my kind of folks. Just keep up the good work.”

With your support, we’ll try to do just that – and nudge the world a little, along the way.

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