November 10, 2022
Since 1974, Southwest Farm Press has been arriving in rural mailboxes across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The front page of the first issue, which was published in January of 1974 by editor Calvin Pigg, was headlined with articles such as, "Survey shows demand high for equipment," and "Grain sorghum increase likely," and under the subhead, Beltwide Meeting, "Cotton group takes look at changes."
For years, it's adorned tabletops and counters of various equipment stores and coops and maybe even the bottom of a few bird cages. I've even been told it makes for great bathroom fodder. I'm not sure if that warrants a rewrite or a thank you, but at least it's being read, right?
For some, Southwest Farm Press is as much a reminder of the farmer who read it as is his recliner or work boots that used to wait for him at the back door. Periodically, a widow will call me following the death of their farmer asking that I cancel their subscription. They tell me that each time it arrives in the mailbox, it's a bitter-sweet reminder of their late spouse, whether he sat in that recliner and read it after a long day in the field or in the morning at the kitchen table before he pulled on his boots and headed for harvest.
Others who I've featured in the publication have told me they store the extra copies in baby books in hopes that their children will read the article one day, preserving a piece of their family's farming heritage. And still others hang framed copies in their offices or businesses, while some, after reading Farm Press from cover to cover, file them in the trash. You are reading every word I write, correct?
While many newspapers and magazines have gone by the wayside since the introduction of the internet or converted to a digital format, circulation of Southwest Farm Press and Farm Press's three other publications (Delta, Southeast and Western) have remained strong.
What is it about print that we in agriculture relish? Is it the feeling of the slick pages between our fingers? Is it the larger font and colored photos or maybe the pause a physical publication requires as it takes two hands to read rather than one on our phone? Whatever it is, Farm Press will continue to arrive in mailboxes across rural America.
But we are also online. This year, for the first time, in addition to articles published daily on our website, a digital version of each print edition of Southwest Farm Press is available as well. So, what you see in print, you can now view online. It's the best of both worlds! In 2023, due to the U.S. paper shortage, some of our editions will be digital only. For Southwest Farm Press, those will include: Mid-January, Mid-February, May, Mid-October, Mid-November and Mid-December.
You can find the digital version by visiting "Southwest Farm Press Digital Editions." Click the link and you'll be able to view and flip each page that was published in print. Take a look and please keep reading Farm Press, even if it's in the bathroom.
About the Author(s)
Editor, Southwest Farm Press
Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions that have to be made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such a Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.
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