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At least two sides to every story

FG Editor Lynn Olsen Published on 27 February 2012

If you read any good business management books, one of the things they will tell you is that you need to have a mission statement, something to help you define your purpose and that gives you guidance and direction.

It helps to serve as a basis for setting goals and making decisions. The owners of Progressive Publishing have some business philosophies they believe strongly in and have shared with us as employees. They include:

1. Give our best service to our readers.

2. Give our best service to our current and potential advertising clients.

3. Give our best service to each other.

4. Continuous improvement by focusing on trying to get better in each of the above three areas.

As the editor of Progressive Forage Grower, these ideas are on my mind as I work to provide relevant and useful information to our subscribers.

We want to be able to provide content that is the best information available and depend on industry, extension and other allied partners, as well as freelance authors and our in-house editorial staff to accomplish this task.

Part of our editorial content is contributed by various forage industry personnel, but we also believe in having a separation between articles and advertisements.

This is difficult on occasion because a company will obviously favor their own product(s) and want to convince the reader that they have something better to offer than the next person that might write about a particular topic.

The last two issues of the magazine contained some articles that some have felt blurred the line a bit between sales and editorial. In hindsight, I see that there could have been a better way to present the information so that it showed more of the whole picture in one article.

And after discussing internally and also with several of our industry colleagues, I will try to do a better job of that moving forward.

However, I also think it’s important for our subscribers to understand that while we do try to present as many sides of an issue as we can, it doesn’t always occur in one article. Topics may be covered from different angles over the course of a period of time.

For example, our last issue contained an article that talked about what you are buying when you purchase a bag of alfalfa seed. It discussed pure live seed and light versus heavy coating on seeds.

It was submitted by one of our valued industry partners and we appreciate both their contribution and their viewpoint.

Shortly after the article hit mailboxes, I received phone calls and e-mails from other equally valued industry folks that had a different view of the subject, and a submission from one of them appears in this issue (click here to read). Another angle about this topic (click here to read).

It was written by Dr. Richard Leep, Professor Emeritus, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State University, and his colleagues a few years ago, but much of the information is still very relevant today.

In a phone interview with him about the topic, I think he summed up nicely what I would hope you will consider:

“...the results of seed coating have been inconsistent. However, each producer should check with their own seed supplier and ask for test results of their product to make their decision of whether to purchase the seed.

I would also encourage producers to do side-by-side tests in their own fields to evaluate coated versus non-coated seed.”

While his comments refer specifically to the issue of coated versus non-coated seed, his advice is wise. You, as the producer, need to do your research.

You need to ask lots of questions, to your seed supplier, extension and industry personnel, as well as fellow growers in the industry. Some on-farm evaluation will also serve you well as you make decisions for your specific operation and conditions.

We will continue to do our best to provide you with as much information as we can to help you do a better job of producing high-quality forage.

But always keep in mind that every story has at least two sides, and ultimately it is up to you to do enough research and ask enough questions that you are comfortable with the direction you ultimately take for your farm.  FG

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Lynn Olsen
FG Editor