This, my last editorial

When I first walked into the offices of Farmer’s Weekly thirteen years ago, I could never have foreseen the impact that its staff and readers would have on my life. It was just another job, I thought.

My father taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing well. So naturally I worked hard, expecting the return to come in the form of satisfaction in seeing a job well done. However, this job, this magazine and the industry it serves wasn’t satisfied with only my inputs – it wanted nothing less than my heart. And in the end, that is what it got.

The agricultural sector won’t allow you to simply function within its sphere of influence. The sincere and straightforward people who work within it will draw you in and forever change your life’s priorities. When your publication has the power to make a real difference to the lives of thousands of people, you cannot but care intensely about the quality of your work. The payoff is so much more than mere job satisfaction, because when you give your all to the agricultural sector, its people return it tenfold.

In a few weeks, Farmer’s Weekly will celebrate its 105th year. As the oldest magazine in South Africa, it has been a part of countless lives. It has brought news, the latest technology and research, practical advice and real-life stories to its readers as candidly as possible, while simultaneously providing a platform for differing views to be voiced.

Although each editor lends his or her own personal touch to the magazine, at the end of the day, Farmer’s Weekly is bigger than any editor. The magazine is a reflection of the hopes, aspirations, concerns and struggles of ordinary farmers. An editor can only act as the conduit and ensure that the publication stays true to the mandate for which it was created: to serve the agricultural industry. And I’m confident that my successor will do just that. 

Farmer’s Weekly is ‘owned’ by its readers; perhaps this is the secret to its longevity. Any drop in quality or factual error is always picked up quickly by our readers, who never hesitate to steer the magazine onto the right course. They contribute to its content by communicating with us through letters, welcoming our journalists on their farms, and keeping the editorial team on its toes.

It goes without saying that in recent years Farmer’s Weekly has evolved into more than just a print magazine. Keeping pace with the needs of its readers, it must be accessible on the platforms its readers make use of.

The past decade therefore saw Farmer’s Weekly enter the digital sphere, with a website and Facebook and Twitter accounts. I look forward to seeing how Farmer’s Weekly develops further, and thank you for entrusting me with the custodianship of this iconic brand.

Long may Farmer’s Weekly continue to serve the agricultural industry.