(Todd Fitchette is the new associate editor with Western Farm Press, based in Tulare, Calif.)
The main reason I enjoy agricultural journalism so much is that I am not a farmer, nor did I grow up on a farm. That sounds odd in a sense, but stick with me.
First and foremost, I am an American consumer. I eat and drink from the cornucopia of food you produce. For that alone I say, “Thank You.”
I like to tell people that my father fed us and kept a roof over our heads in rural northern California by busting his knuckles on car engines and heavy equipment. We did not have to grow food for our own consumption. Mom simply went to the grocery store and bought it for us.
Like nearly 99 percent of my fellow Americans not involved in agriculture, I don’t pick it, pluck it, plant it, or pack it. Neither do I grow it, graze it, or raise it. But I do write about it! And that is the challenge I enjoy.
I don’t have to file pesticide application reports, meet with the dairy inspector, stay up all night to irrigate fields and orchards, juggle schedules to get the machines and people necessary to harvest my crop on time, or worry that some invasive pest is going to wipe out my orchard and my livelihood.
I sort of fell into agricultural journalism a number of years ago working for a California daily newspaper. I quickly became intrigued and impressed by all that farmers have to do to profitably produce an edible commodity.
Now my goal is to provide my readers with information they can profit from.
Years later, I discovered the Tulare Farm Show for its Disneyland-like atmosphere of big machines, social interactions, and barbecue tri-tip. Did I say one of my top-10 reasons for liking agricultural journalism is the food?
Where else but the Farm Show can I score enough free pens to keep me writing for months?
I greatly enjoy the people in agriculture. As a photographer, I particularly enjoy the many opportunities to photograph agriculturally-rich California.
I’m sure many of you will see me around or hear from me as I seek to build an ever-larger library of agricultural images which I hope to share with you through Western Farm Press’ print and online media.
Until then, I look forward to serving you from this desk.
Have a story idea? I can be reached at (424) 465-6606 and at [email protected].
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