Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How AgTalk Grew


I found today's topic in the Cafe on AgTalk today. AgTalk is short for NewAgTalk.

A poster asked a simple question, how did you find AgTalk?

A decade ago a bunch of us farmers were hot and heavy on Crop Scouting on AgOnline.

We had computers for bookeeping and other reasons and bought a modem and got on dialup. We discovered the Internet and quickly found the number one site on the Ag Internet, AgOnline.

One day Meredith Publishing, the owners of AgOnline and Successful Farming discovered we can sell ad space on our highly visited website!

Dialup speed went to a crawl and I mean a crawl.

Here is what I posted:

"There was a bunch of us who were still on dialup, about the only thing available in the country when Meredith decided to put banner ads on there site.

We were quite disgusted with this idea when Dave Orr stepped up and said I think I can do better than that.

Many years later, here we are!

Best ag page on the Internet. That was the goal and thanks to Dave and others it was obtained.

There is no better page to talk about farming and lif, share pictures and links, all from a Word page Dave created.

He has to be pretty humbly proud of that but he did it.

Thanks Dave!

This all grew from a pile of email and a guy willing to spend umpteen hours meeting our wishes."

I can't tell you the date of that first AgTalk page but it had to be in the 90's. I probably have the date around here somewhere but my computer isn't all that organized, kind of like my office!

More information has been exchanged in these years on these pages than one could imagine. I was able to sort out the good stuff so my experience has been positive.

The mid nineties were like this year, cold wet springs and I had to wait forever it seemed to notill my crops. I posed my question on Crop Scouting and a farmer in Iowa replied you need to take the notill coulter off.

That set me on to a whole new way to farm via notill and the rest is history. That one idea enabled us to plant again this year when others thought it was too wet to even work ground.

In January 2000 I picked up my friend Tim Reinhart from his college apartment in Champaign Illinois so I could speak at the National NoTillage Conference in Des Moines. We stopped and met with John Walter at the Meredith offices, still the editor of AgOnline and told him our problem.

He recognized our problem and did all he could to have AgOnline remain the farmer's favorite. It was obvious that his bosses wanted to put profit above simplicity and they stayed with the banner ads.

So farmers came up with their own webpage, NewAgTalk and here we are almost ten years later. So maybe it was 2000 that AgTalk was born.

It was born out of frustration and the thought we can do this better. AgTalk remains the number one ag forum because of popularity that grew out of sheer simplicity. KISS method. It is the easiest page to read and post links on but the picture uploads still have a lot of posters baffled.

All is well that ends well and this has ended up really good.

Now you know at least part of the Rest of the Story of AgTalk.

AgTalk gets tons of hits a day because of the simplicity to read what farmers are thinking and doing.

Ed Winkle

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