Content ID

322054

2021: A game-changer for farmers and ranchers

The year’s top stories tell a different story for agriculture.

What a difference a year makes. The story of 2021 is certainly a lot different than a year ago. In 2020, our website traffic skyrocketed through the coronavirus pandemic. This year, traffic to Agriculture.com is holding strong and now averages 700,000 unique visitors each month.

Every day, our staff’s mission is to create content that is “Trying to Make Farmers Successful” with every story, podcast, video, and social media post. We strive to be your #1 choice for ag news — no matter if it’s web articles, a magazine story, a video segment, an email, radio shows, or on social media.

The rise in commodity prices, which started in August 2020 and took off in January of 2021, has put a new lens on agriculture, and what matters most to our readers. Each year, we monitor and share the top stories of the year on Agriculture.com. This year, we’ve grouped them by category to show some trends that matter most to farmers and ranchers.

Land

Bill Gates
Photo credit: Chesnot, Getty Images

The “Land” category took off in 2021. It escalated in January with the story of Bill Gates becoming the largest farmland owner in the United States. This story went “viral,” for sure, and is a reminder that farmers — and nonfarmers — are fascinated with Gates, and the fact he invested so much of his Microsoft-earned money into farmland.

Farmland may be an “asset class” that is attractive to new investors like Gates, but farmers and ranchers know the value of land, and always will. Our readers spent 6.5 minutes reading that story, which is a lot of time for a story on average.

This article also shows the value of partnerships. The story was written by Eric O’Keefe of The Land Report and the Gates story was part of the annual “Land Report 100” featuring the top 100 landowners in the United States. O’Keefe also shared other land-related stories with us, including “Top 5 farms with the largest acreage in the U.S.” in 2020 and “3 of the biggest U.S. farmers” in 2019. 

Cover of Successful Farming from September 2021

Our readers were engaged with other key stories on farmland:

The interest in land also inspired us to create a special-focused “Land Issue” of Successful Farming in September. The 16-page section was a big success with our readers.

Machinery

Successful Farming has a long history of covering “Machinery” stories: new, used, parts, or prices — our readers have enjoyed our coverage for decades. Part of that is due to the fact that Executive Editor Dave Mowitz has been covering machinery for nearly 40 years. 

This year, 11 of the top 50 Agriculture.com stories of the year were about machinery. Why? One reason is our team’s coverage of new product launches, such as Natalina Sents Bausch’s August story, “An exclusive look at the 8S tractor Massey Ferguson just launched.”

We also added an entertaining new machinery columnist, Ryan Roosinck of TractorZoom.com. Roosinck’s columns have been well-read because of the humorous titles he creates, such as:

Mowitz covers our “Steel Deals” reports every year in Successful Farming magazine and has had very timely coverage when machinery sales began moving away from in-person auctions to digital, with the story, “Online iron sales thrive in COVID-19 world.”

He also spearheaded our coverage in the supply chain challenges of 2021 as parts and machinery shortages made our coverage as important to farmers than ever, with the article, “What led to the machinery shortage of 2021 and what to expect for 2022.”

Crops and Commodity Markets

The Crops category always is a top-performer on Agriculture.com. It is always in the top 5, led by Executive Editor for Crops Technology Gil Gullickson.

The Markets category is always popular as well, led with advice from Al Kluis and daily coverage from Mike McGinnis on the movements of the grain markets. This year, because of the run-up in prices, farmers and ranchers watched this topic closely, such as the January article, “Highest corn and soybean prices since commodity boom, says USDA.”

A farmer holds a ripe ear of feed corn
Photo credit: USDA

The Basics & Farm Life

I am proud that Successful Farming is where farmers and ranchers turn when they are ready to start farming, or expand their operation. In 2021, 8 of the top stories are about the nuts and bolts of farming. We deliver these year-in and year-out:

I cannot forget the touching story this August from columnist Jerry Nelson about the emotional moment when he had to put down a beloved golden retriever. This story really connected with readers, and was among our top 10 stories of the year. Readers were touched deeply by the piece — they spent an average of more than 7.5 minutes reading "Goodbye, old friend."

The year was a game-changer after all. We are fortunate that commodities prices finally bounced back after 7 years of being down. As we look to 2022, farmers and ranchers have a new outlook to make their operations successful. There will be challenges, with rising prices in seed, fertilizer, farm equipment, land, parts, and more. But we are committed to delivering top-notch stories to continue to “make farmers successful” in every season.

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