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Thanks to Farm Press Publications for giving me more than 40 years to wander around the Sunbelt and talk to farmers and ranchers.

Ron Smith, Editor

July 29, 2020

3 Min Read
Ron Smith, preparing for retirement n Northeast Tennessee. Ron Smith

Just one more thing before I go.

Thank you.

Thanks to Farm Press Publications for giving me more than 40 years to wander around the Sunbelt and talk to farmers, ranchers and a few turf and landscape managers about how they perform miracles on a daily basis.

I could not have chosen a better employer. Farm Press editors and publishers offered me uncommon freedom to travel where I needed to go, interview people who could offer insightful information and to use a bit of creativity to tell their stories.

I am thankful that the late Bill McNamee saw some potential in a green Extension editor and hired me back in 1978.

And I have to mention my mentors — Joe Williamson, Hembree Brandon, Forrest Laws, Glen Rutz and Ed Phillips, who have done remarkable and necessary editing to make my stories and photos better.

Behind the scenes, I could not have functioned without Ann King, Sandy Perry, Sherry Cook, and Slate Canon, Kathy Jordan, Cindy Hubbard, and Baker Patton.

My colleagues and friends, Brad Haire, Brent Murphree, Shelley Huguely, John Hart, Tim Heardon, Todd Fitchette, and Alaina Dismukes, keep the editorial bar high and challenge me to do the same.

Willie Vogt, thank you for challenging me and the editorial team to stretch and to embrace new ways of telling farmers' stories in a digital age.

Related:42 years marks best career move ever

Greg Frey, thank you for being a champion of editorial integrity and for your support of numerous projects and story ideas, not because they promised to be profitable but because they made good stories. I never worked for a better publisher.

Thank you to the many Extension and research scientists who spent time explaining agriculture to a liberal arts major — with exceptional patience. I wish I had space to list all of you. I don't and I would leave some out and be embarrassed. You know who you are.

Thanks, too, to commodity organizations that always made time to provide information I needed to cover agriculture. One of the first I leaned on heavily was the Georgia Peanut Commission. I appreciate the folks at the National Cotton Council, especially Cotton Nelson and Marjory Walker, for guiding me to important stories and the sources to tell them.

I probably abused the good nature of the Plains Cotton Growers' staff for keeping me updated on High Plains cotton and also arranging farmer interviews and chauffeuring me around the area to track them down.

Perhaps most important, thanks to the hundreds of farmers who trusted me to tell your stories. You welcomed me onto your farms, often into your kitchens and living rooms, sometimes onto your combines and cotton pickers, and explained how you did your job, often against incredible odds of bad weather, breakdowns and poor markets. I treasure your friendship.

And thank you Pat for your love and support.

I am deeply grateful for this incredible career. Thank you.

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith

Editor, Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 30 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Denton, Texas. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and two grandsons, Aaron and Hunter.

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