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The internet (for agriculture) was born 25 years ago

Agriculture.com – among the first websites in agriculture – turns 25 in May 2020.

As a journalist, I always wished to witness the dawn of a new form of media in my lifetime. Wouldn’t it have been fantastic to have witnessed the earliest days of television?

I got my wish.

After being an early adopter of online services, I was part of a team at Successful Farming magazine to build the company’s first website, Agriculture.com. The website – among the first, we believe, in all of agriculture – celebrates its 25th anniversary in May 2020.

The team and I convinced our parent company, Meredith Corporation, to fund a “pilot project” and build the website. John Walter, a Successful Farming magazine editor, and I went about writing the first HTML pages by hand and launched the site.

Farming – and life – has never been the same and never will be.

What was once an experiment in agricultural communication has turned out to be an essential news and information source like nothing we have seen before. What would farmers do today without the internet? It courses through the veins of every avenue of communication and information:

  • Internet sites
  • Social media
  • Mobile phones (and all the apps)
  • E-commerce
  • Photo sharing
  • Email & texting
  • And on and on ...

Remember when all we had was dial-up service? Today, it’s all high speed and on-demand. We have a need to connect.

In times of social distancing, we need to stay connected more than ever. Whether it’s family, friends, grandparents, coworkers, or neighbors, we need to connect to make sure everyone is happy, healthy, and safe. An essential tool for most of us, the internet is a lifeline to keep in touch.

It was on May 15, 1995, we turned the switch to launch the website. We are proud to have a history of innovation in agriculture.

Agriculture.com has always been about covering what matters most to farmers: agricultural news, weather, markets, community, and more. Today, we’re reporting on a global pandemic that impacts the world while spring planting is in full swing. Tomorrow, who knows?

The same can be said of the internet. From news and community message boards, to social media and live video, the web keeps evolving and growing to suit the needs of the farmers and ranchers we serve. Our motto stands true today: We are dedicated to making farmers successful.

The internet is everywhere, and it is the nerve center of all of our connections, whether it’s on a phone, tablet, computer, or any device. Thank you for helping make Agriculture.com such an essential source for you and your operation. Stay connected.

The Impact of the internet

On the eve of the 25th anniversary, we asked several farmers: “What has the internet meant to you and your farm operation?”

Here are their replies:

“Efficient managers harness it, the rest of us don’t. And the difference is the abyss.”

“sw363535” via Ag Talk forum on Agriculture.com Community

“The internet has helped me to find so many beautiful destinations out in the country and shorten the driving time. No need to get out of the car to ask for wrong directions.”

“giolucas” via Ag Talk forum on Agriculture.com Community

“Much more information and all when I want it.”

“Canuck_2” via Marketing Talk forum on Agriculture.com Community

“What’s handy is if I need a belt on the combine I can call from the field and the dealer says, “We can get one tomorrow,” or he says, “There’s one at Hampton if you want to drive over there.”

– BA Deere via Marketing Talk forum on Agriculture.com

“It is the college that I never got to go to. The ability to learn.study. watch.compare. 24 hours a day.”

“pregitzerfarms” via Instagram

The internet has allowed us to connect with farmers and agribusinesses all around the globe, giving us information, advice, and “others tried this and that” stories, which all help us to make better business and farming decisions.

Michael Pechart, CEO of Sterman Masser, via email

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