Agriculture.com was launched in May 1995 when the Web was young. It was the Wild West of digital media development when there was no precedent for something like a website. But just like in the real Wild West, farmers played an integral role in its settlement and cultivation. Now, something that started out as a tool for information sharing and connecting with others has begun to become something bigger to both agriculture and general life in the U.S. and abroad. Who was leading that transition from simple words and discussions to full-blown systems connecting the digital and physical worlds? That's right - farmers.
Though the existence of the Internet precedes its widespread consumer use by several decades, the medium as a way to communicate, find information, entertain, shop, network, and more has only been around for a couple of decades, a time in which its utility and general role in everyday life has been nothing short of meteoric in its rise.
Editor's Note: Ed Winkle passed away peacefully on April 3, 2015. The interviews for this story were conducted in February 2015. LuAnn Winkle was working in a Soil and Water Conservation District office in Erie County, New York in 1999 when she got a question from a farmer who wanted to implement some soil conservation measures on his farm.
In May of 1995, Jim Meade was working on getting back into farming, having bought his family's farm in eastern Iowa to work the land after three decades of military service. That same month, Jared Calvert was born.