With roots the go back before 1900, Country Guide is among the oldest magazines in Canada, and partly because of this, and even more because talking to farmers is what the Guide has always been about, it may not surprise you as much as it surprised me when I got here that we get contacted by historians from time to time who want to piece together a picture of how our agriculture has evolved.
We’ve never been a great magazine for the news about agriculture, so I suspect if you want to trace what farm was sold to whom, or what elevator was built where, or even what this or that political party campaigned on, our archives have never been your first choice.
But if you want to know what farmers think about their farms and their communities, and what their hopes are, and their dreams, Country Guide has always been a good place to start.
Is it still?
Well, that’s for you decide, based not on the stories in one issue but on the stories we present over a year.
I really would be interested in your thoughts, though. You’ll find my email address at the bottom of this column, as always, and you can also reach me at 519-674-1449.
The truth is, our attitudes about what’s historic are historic in and of themselves, and at the very least they’re always endlessly interesting to talk about.
Here at Guide, we don’t intentionally set about creating an historic record, but you can’t spend your days in agriculture without being aware of the tremendous rate of change we’re seeing. These truly are pivotal times.
Besides, our goal is to talk to farmers about the most important decisions they’re making, so we can’t help but get caught up in thinking about what farmers think now versus five years ago.
After one of our issues has been out a few months, I’ll often pick it up with a pen in my hand. I’ll re-read the articles, and underline or highlight the quotes or paragraphs that I think I might want to return to.
I could do it electronically, of course, except it’s better to have that stack always staring at me.
You would enjoy doing the same. It’ll make your next few solo drives to town more interesting.
What will you underline in this issue? Part of it must have to do with the fact that although we continue to think agriculture is unique, our path forward must involve today’s consensus that learning the best that is being thought in other sectors.
Country Guide‘s twin stories on the benefits of off-farm employment in our January 2019 issue are pieces to go to school on. I also think Brenda Schoepp’s whole column merits underlining, as it tells us some of the questions history will ask us. And so too with too many other articles to name in the space I have here.
So, enjoy your read. And let me know: Are we getting it right? I’m at [email protected].