Over 25 years ago, I made a call that changed who I am. I was working as reporter for a local Dodge City newspaper, and my former Kansas State University advisor called to check on me and see how I was doing. He had heard of a job opportunity at High Plains Journal and thought I might be interested. I hung up and turned right around and called. When an opportunity to work for one of the leading agriculture publications comes up, you don’t delay.
For my entire childhood, High Plains Journal sat on the end table next to my dad’s chair. It was a staple. It was a constant. And it was where I wanted to play a small part in the world of agriculture.
A few short weeks later, I was walking into my first day as a field editor for HPJ. Galen Hubbs was the editor. He was a veteran of Vietnam and newsrooms and didn’t quite know what to think of a young woman who was eager and didn’t know any better than to ask a ton of questions. Through the years, I’ve worked with a host of talented editors, publishers, salespeople, production crews and business professionals. They often scratched their head at my crazy ideas but always encouraged and supported me.
Recently, I came across one of my first stories. I remember spending the day with a couple talking about incorporating sunflowers into their farm. It was a new crop for them and they were in the twilight of their career, and yet they were innovating and changing to meet the demands of agriculture.
There is one common theme among all of the High Plains Journal stories I’ve written and the ones that will continue to be written for years to come—the people of agriculture have a passion for the industry that cannot be denied. Each and every day, you give of yourselves to become better stewards of God’s world. As we tell the story of agriculture, it’s not about yields or feed-to-gain ratios or new technology. The story of agriculture is about you—the people of the industry.
There are hard times and difficulties no consumer can fully appreciate. There are early mornings and nights filled with worry. There are stomachaches from money issues. There are tears (or tight throats) from crop and livestock losses. But through it all, you prevail. You feed the world and you do it extremely well.
I have a saying that you, the readers, might not know but the HPJ employees have heard me say so many times they are sick of it. “If High Plains Journal keeps farmers and ranchers at focus of everything we do, the rest will take care of itself.” I hope you’ve felt it through the years. I hope you know that HPJ readers are the core of our business. We want nothing more than to see you succeed and thrive.
This is my last week as editor and publisher of High Plains Journal. I will be the new director of communications for the American Angus Association. As I end my time at HPJ, please know I will always have a special place in my heart for High Plains Journal and its readers. HPJ is more than a business. It is more than a job. It helped make me who I am, and for that I say, “Thank you.”
Holly Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.