Top Crop Manager

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INTRODUCTION: Traditions are important, even in hard times

As hard as it may be to believe, a great deal of comfort comes out of the month of February, particularly now in the early days of 2009.


As hard as it may be to believe, a great deal of comfort comes out of the month of February, particularly now in the early days of 2009. Against foreground reports of global recession and failing economies is that stalwart and annual reminder that no matter what, farming always presents a series of constants in our lives. As much as farming is a business, it also represents a sense of tradition, and traditions provide structure and stability, and from those, we can derive a great sense of comfort.

Despite plant shutdowns and layoffs within the residential and commercial construction sectors, most primary producers have been busying themselves, making some kind of plans for the spring. The ground may be locked in snow and ice for another eight to 12 weeks, yet the process of seeding, spraying and harvesting is never far from the minds of growers. Contrary to perceptions from those not involved in farming, growers in Canada continue to grapple with volatility in the commodity market; in spite of declines in the price of inputs, planning and preparing, and “controlling the controllable” are as much a part of success as being blessed by the weather.

And although February is often disparagingly referred to as the “longest month of the year”, it is rife with meetings and workshops, seminars and conferences, all geared to helping growers improve their farming operations. More important, there is a greater sense of renewal and anticipation in this second month of the year, beyond resolutions made in January yet far enough away from the anxiety that comes with the lingering effects of winter in March and April.

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February is an important month for Top Crop Manager: it marks the beginning of a new year for our Western editions. It is also our annual Pulse Focus issue, featuring stories that address the topics of crop, weed and pest management. In this edition, we also offer the Truck King Review, as a supplement to the Truck King Challenge, and I extend my thanks to Howard Elmer of Power Sports Media Services for his dedication. Last summer he opted to postpone the 2008 Truck King Challenge, in light of the troubles experienced by the truck manufacturers even then. Although this Truck King Review does not have the full participation of all manufacturers, Howard has pulled together an excellent series of model reviews and written them in a style that is as insightful as it is unbiased.

This is very similar to our sense of tradition at Top Crop Manager, where our goal is to provide our readers with solid, unbiased stories that deal with agronomics, research, machinery and farm business practices. We want to offer you value, right from the moment you turn the first page or click on the website. Meeting that goal has always been part of our tradition, and always will be, just like thinking about farming in February.

Because a sense of tradition, even in these trying times, can be comforting.