When the ocean is rough, and a large wave breaks over you and pulls you towards the ocean floor, you lose all sense of up and down, and panic quickly sets in when fast, successive waves keep you helplessly floundering below the surface.
A lot has happened at Farmer’s Weekly over the past few months during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown period.
I am sure that, like me and the rest of the team at Farmer’s Weekly, many of you have also felt trapped and panicked, and at times almost struggled to breathe as the bad news and uncertainty just kept rolling in.
For Farmer’s Weekly, the lockdown meant that we had to stop producing our magazine for a couple of weeks as printers and distributors shut down and supermarkets stopped selling magazines.
As the lockdown eased, we were able to start producing and printing the magazine again, but then the news broke that Farmer’s Weekly’s publishing company, Caxton Magazines, would be exiting the magazine business.
Farmer’s Weekly was lucky to find a new home within one of the other divisions of the company, but then we were faced with the task of finding a new distributor.
The changes, uncertainties, disruptions and delays that were caused by this process have left us frustrated at times.
I know that many of our readers have been frustrated as well by the seemingly random frequency at which the magazine has been published, and many of you have complained that you have struggled to get hold of the magazine.
The good news is that we are approaching calmer waters. Supply chains are busy recovering from the hard lockdown and at Farmer’s Weekly we are now finalising the transfer of the magazine to its new home.
The issue (19 & 26 June) and the one after (3 & 10 July) will be the last of the biweekly issues.
From the 17 July issue onwards, we will revert to our regular weekly format. In terms of distribution, as long as the whole of South Africa remains on Level 3 of the lockdown, our transport and supply chain challenges will be resolved within the next few weeks and readers should experience no problem getting a copy of the magazine from the first week of July.
After a challenging few months, the future looks bright for Farmer’s Weekly. During April and May we saw exponential growth in readership on farmersweekly.co.za, with numbers doubling from what they were at the beginning of the year.
We have also launched a podcast, the Weekly Wrap, and the number of listeners for this new offering has climbed faster than we expected. Over the next few months, we will embark on some new projects that will make our content even more accessible to a much wider audience.
So much has been lost this year, but all is not broken; we are ready to start building again.
Dear reader, thank you for reading, and thank you for your loyal support, which continues to inspire us to make this proud and trusted publication even better.