This is the first version of the new format for our Ag News & Views. Several factors enter into the choice for this new format. First of all, we have a new editor. If you read the back page of our last newsletter, Shan Ingram remarked that he was passing those duties to Grant Huggins for this year. As you may have noticed in Shan's parting comments, he has served as editor of this newsletter since its inception 15 years ago. If any of you have ever had experience working with a staff as large as ours to get them to put together an article for a newsletter, you realize the difficult task that Shan has had. We are very indebted to him for that service and appreciate the leadership he has provided to this newsletter for the last 15 years.
In discussing the assumption of his role as editor with me, Grant has suggested some changes that are evident in the paper you are now reading. In addition to the color and format changes, we are lengthening the newsletter to allow specialists more space for their articles and are adding graphics to help explain subject matter. Please let us know what you think of our newsletter, particularly the changes that we have undertaken. We know by comments from cooperators and others that the newsletter has been one of our most effective tools to communicate timely information on subjects of importance to producers in our region.
We also have a web site on the Internet, www.noble.org. We are making plans to upgrade the contents of that Internet site by making it more user friendly and linking it to other pertinent sites. On that site, you will find copies of recent Ag News & Views issues. We plan to add recently published Noble Research Institute publications as well as other items of interest. If you have suggestions for something you'd like to see in our newsletter or on our web site, please drop me a line or give me a call so we can improve the services we provide.
One additional item that is important to us is obtaining accurate data about the agricultural enterprises of the region we serve. You probably have received forms from the USDA Census of Ag that should have been completed by February 2, 1998. We receive those mailings ourselves and know how time consuming it is to fill out those forms.
However, please take the time to fill out and return them. You can even call 1-800-4AGSTAT to request an extension if you have not already completed them. The detailed data accumulated every five years is sometimes the only information we have to help determine shifts in agricultural practices in our region.
We scrutinize those data carefully to make sure we are providing services appropriate to the agricultural enterprises of our service area. Therefore it is critical that we have accurate information. Please help us and your fellow producers by thoroughly completing those forms.