WASHINGTON CH — Do you know what I loved about my job? It has been working with all the people in Ohio’s rural communities.
A lot has changed since Rural Life Today began as a monthly farming and agriculture publication more than seven years ago. But a lot has changed in our rural communities, as well.
When I started as Rural Life Today editor, issues like opioid addiction and political division were not big issues in our Ohio small towns. But many things have remained the same – weather, prices and land costs remain topics of our rural communities and always a part of our coverage.
I will miss following and reporting all the trends in agriculture that affect all of you every day.
I retired the end of June as Rural Life Today editor. I have been in the media for the past 42 years as a newspaper reporter, editor, publisher, and for the last seven years editor of Rural Life Today.
While I will miss all the great people in our rural communities that I have come to know and respect, the decision to leave was a no-brainer. It’s time to relax and worry no more about deadlines and schedules.
There are many things about Rural Life Today that I am proud of. The many features about people, our coverage of the many issues in agriculture like GMOs and water quality.
I think I am most proud of the fact that this publication has always covered all farm groups and organizations, from the Farm Bureau to OSU Extension to the FFA and 4-H to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. We didn’t favor any one group, nor did we ignore any organizations or farm production methods.
We have always been independent, giving a voice to everyone in rural Ohio.
Changes over the years
In the years we have published, we’ve had several names. When we started out – just for several newspapers in southwest Ohio, we were called “ACRES.” But I guess someone owned the right to that name so it was changed to “My Own Rural Life.” Luckily that was short lived before being changed to the appropriate “Rural Life Today.”
I’ve been editor of Rural Life while I was also publisher and editor at two daily newspapers over the years and also for several years as editor full time. Our new editor will also serve the publication full-time.
Over the years the “topics” of interest in our rural communities have grown and evolved to a degree. There is a lot more discussion about food, where it comes from and how it is produced. There is more talk about “sustainable agriculture” and developing closer ties between farmers and consumers such as CSAs.
However, what hasn’t changed is coverage of those people in out agriculture and rural communities and the hard work they do every day.
It’s all about people
I, and in recent months reporter Amanda Rockhold, have enjoyed writing about the lives of people and their work – this “slide of life” in rural Ohio every month.
That is what I have enjoyed most these years as editor of Rural Life Today.
Whether it was talking one-on-one with farmers as they attended the annual Farm Bureau Washington Trip or meeting folks at the Rural Life booth during Farm Science Review, I’ve enjoyed listening to what rural Ohioans have had to say.
And shouldn’t we journalists do a lot more of that these days? Actually sit down and listen to people?
As I retire, it would be nice to say that there was one feature, one story I enjoyed writing the most – I can’t. I’ve enjoyed them all.
For me, meeting and listening to rural Ohioans all these years hasn’t been work, it has been a pleasure.