A Better Start

A Letter to Our Readers
(As published in our first issue of Better Farming, November 1999)

"With this issue we proudly introduce Better Farming, a new magazine produced by experienced writers and editors and dedicated to the interests of the farmers of Ontario.

Our first issue is the fulfillment of a vow taken on Friday, July 30th, 1999. At noon that day in Toronto Ken Larone, chief operating officer of Agricultural Publishing Company Ltd. (APC), read a layoff notice to 13 employees of Farm & Country and Farm & Country Pork, then supervised their final walk out the door of the 15th-floor offices at One Yonge Street. Before the sun went down, a majority of the APC employees gave themselves a special challenge. A solid core group of six risk-takers, aided by a similar number of supportive fellow workers, vowed to launch AgMedia Co-Operative Inc.

AgMedia's publication, Better Farming, is geared to deliver the most authoritative information available for Ontario farmers. You will find more than a dozen award-winning writers, former contributors to Farm & Country, in our pages.

In some cases, the unceremonious passing of Farm & Country and Farm & Country Pork from the scene snapped ties for employees who had devoted more than 20 years of their lives to those publications. So great was the wrench that some staffers decided to leave agricultural journalism altogether. The farm community will miss them. One veteran staffer says he feels pain every time he drives past a cornfield, because it reminded him of what happened.

As we launch a new province-wide farm magazine on the eve of a new century, our goal is to be forward-looking and responsive to you, the province's ultimate entrepreneurs, the farmers whom we serve. Managing Editor Robert Irwin and Senior Staff Editor Don Stoneman have combined their award-winning writing and hands-on farm expertise with the talents of former Reader's Digest editor-in-chief Alex Farrell, who has a long history in magazine and newspaper journalism.
We want to give you articles that say more with fewer words so that it will take you less time to be well informed and up to date on agricultural matters.

We earnestly believe that small-town and rural Ontario were better served when newspapers and journals were family-owned and operated, and when publishers and editors called the shots from Main Street digs. This is the kind of editor-reader bond that we aim to re-establish, and we think our move out of Toronto to the Farm Museum at Milton will help.

We intend to serve you by focusing primarily on the issues that affect the profession of farming most directly. But we know we won't be able to please all readers all the time. Some of the issues professional farmers face today (and we insist farming is a profession) are complex and need to be examined from many perspectives.

We have the highest regard for the advertisers who have supported us, but objective reporting, which is our steadfast purpose, means not being able to please all of them all the time either. Those who appear in the pages of this magazine are demonstrating their willingness to invest in an independent voice for Ontario agriculture and in you, our readers, the professionals who make it all happen.

We hope you'll tell us how we're doing."

-- The Editors