Happy birthday to us! Happy birthday to us!

Well, not The Social Silo. We’re just seven months old. Not even toddling around yet. But it’s a new year for Farm and Dairy, our parent print publication. Each October, we start a new volume (each volume has 52 weekly issues), and we’ve just turned over into our 98th volume.

We were first called the Tri-County Farmer, then Farm and Dairy Profit, but every week, since 1914, Farm and Dairy has published farm and rural news, thanks to the dedication of our family of readers and advertisers. Every week, for 98 years. (Well, there was that week in 1974 when a 25-inch snowfall caved the flat roof right on top of our Goss rotary press — worth, at that time, $100,000. But the next week, we were back at it, thanks to printing friends at the local daily, until we could install our new offset web press.)

Since we’re celebrating our publishing new year, we thought we’d share some more numbers with you:

There are Farm and Dairy subscribers in 44 states, stretching from Maine to California. If you have family or friends in Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, North Dakota, Oregon or Wyoming, send them a gift subscription so we can claim all 50 states! And, of course, we have readers in all of Ohio’s 88 counties, as well as numerous subscribers in neighboring Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Indiana and Kentucky. And these readers are loyal: An average reader has been subscribing to Farm and Dairy for 9 years, and one out of every 10 readers has been getting the paper for 25+ years!

We take credit for 1 marriage (they met at a Singles in Agriculture event they both saw in a news blurb in our pages); and at least 2 adoptions (parents learned of a northeastern Ohio agency through an item in the paper.) And we know of at least 1 super-reader who took his Farm and Dairy to the grave — his family placed a copy in his casket, at his request.

We have not, however, caused any divorces, just threats. “My husband of 19 years told me that he had grounds for divorce, as I had let his Farm and Dairy subscription lapse, and he missed an issue. It is the first time that he has ever mentioned divorce, so you know where you rate,” wrote an eastern Ohio woman in 2002.

There have been 3 generations of one family to own and publish Farm and Dairy. Current owners, Scot and Tom Darling, continue to build the paper (and its parent company, the Lyle Printing and Publishing Company) that their grandfather, J.T. Darling saved from folding during the Depression.

We are an auction-lovers dream. Very early on, auctioneers began using Farm and Dairy to reach a rural audience. Then urban readers discovered they could fill their auction appetite in the pages of our paper (and we discovered we had a great opportunity to share farm stories with a nonfarm reader). This week, for example, you’ll find ads for 117 auctions in our pages.

We’ve had 8 editors, but it may be awhile before anyone matches the tenure of the late Elden R. Groves, who started writing for F&D while he was still a student at Ohio State University. Groves served as editor from 1934 to 1938, and then a 40-year run from 1942-1982. A pioneer of ag journalism, he earned a spot in the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame for his industry leadership and insight.

The paper is delivered primarily by the U.S. Postal Service right to your home, but we also have 574 newsstand locations. (Word to the wise: You save $43 by subscribing vs. picking it up at the newsstand each week!)

We have our own offset web press that uses a ton of newsprint each week. In fact, if you unspooled the giant rolls of paper used in our largest issue, the newsprint would stretch 383 miles. We use between 500 and 700 pounds of black, soy-based ink in every issue.

We may be rural, but we try to keep abreast of communication changes, and we created our first website in 1997. We’ve been on Twitter since June 2008, and currently have 5,324 followers, and have 2,931 fans on our Facebook page (won’t you help us get to 3,000???).

We do a whole lot with very few people: 31 full-time employees, to be exact. And the newsroom has only 2 reporters — one in Salem and one in Wooster, Ohio.

And the number that’s looming large in all our minds is 2 — the number of years to get ready for our centennial celebration!

100 years! Now THAT’s a number to be proud of!

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University.
Susan Crowell
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