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Adapting to changing times

As the Manitoba Co-operator moves into the future we plan to reflect the changing faces of Manitoba farms

The Manitoba Co-operator has seen a lot of change since its inception in 1925.

Through the Great Depression, Second World War, the postwar boom, the farm boom of the 1970s and the bust of the 1980s and 1990s, it has evolved right alongside its readership.

It chronicled the end of summerfallow, the evolution of zero tillage and the death of the farm co-operative movement that gave the publication its very name.

Like all facets of modern society, at times the pace of change in agriculture can be dizzying, and there are few signs it’s going to slow.

We’re on the cusp of another major revolution. Agriculture in Manitoba is a tipping point towards digital and precision technology and a fully integrated approach to crop production. What once appeared to be the realm of science fiction is now on the verge of becoming reality in the field.

At the same time the industry is in the midst of a generational transfer unlike it has seen before. The baby boomer generation is approaching retirement and pondering how to hand over the keys to the farm gate to the next generation. That next generation is of course grappling with the challenges of sorting out how those farms will evolve.

The coming changes are at once exciting, tantalizing, terrifying — and even entertaining. Throughout the province young producers are taking up this challenge and seeking innovative new ways to farm.

They’re looking at regenerative agriculture as a way to leverage the biological system that is their farm to lower cost, greater profitability and a more sustainable way to do business.

Others are seizing on to the technological possibilities that the digital farm presents, going well beyond the issues of what to seed when and where and how to manage that crop precisely. They envision a time where information technology spreads out like a web from the farm, capturing efficiencies and opportunities.

Against this backdrop, we’d like to welcome you to the new Manitoba Co-operator, a new look for a new era, but beyond that even, a new way of delivering information to you for the management of your business.

Our team of designers, directed by creative lead Ron White, have put considerable time, effort and expertise into modernizing the look of the publication and finding a better way to tell the stories, including more visual elements. The result is a package that better recognizes the limited time we all have to consume information today, and will better integrate our print and online efforts into one seamless package.

From the editorial side of the equation we’ve been working hard at developing a new editorial package that addresses this new era. We’ve been delving more into stories about what you’re doing on your farms, and what you need to be doing to prepare for this fast-approaching new era.

We’ve been striving to ensure we tell the stories that are important to Manitoba farmers, from their perspective. In future issues you’ll see this focus showing up in the form of more stories about farming culture. That culture is a unique one, combining business, family, cutting-edge technology and proud traditions. It’s a mix like no other, and it needs and deserves a media that understands it and serves it.

Times may have changed, but, as our new tagline on the front page masthead now reads: “Farming matters.” That’s true now more than ever. It’s our privilege to cover Manitoba’s farm community as it enters this new era.

We hope you’ll come along for the journey. It promises to be quite the ride.

About the author

Editor

Gord Gilmour is Editor of the Manitoba Co-operator.

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