Back in my first column in Dairy Herd Management (“Changing (my) perspective,” February 2014), I outlined my overall strategies and perspectives in my new role as editor. Now that I’ve been here six months, I’ve dusted, moved a little furniture and, most importantly, gained new perspectives and cultivated new relationships.

As I write this, I’m about to board a plane for Germany and Austria for my first real vacation in years. My computer and cell phone are staying home. It’ll be a good time to refresh and, at the same time, review.

It has been a good six months, hectic at times. There have been surprises, successes and setbacks. One theme repeated multiple times over that period has been how important it is to surround myself with good people.

Working with Dairy Herd Management’s Editorial Advisory Board has created some new, rewarding relationships for me. I’ve met many of them in in-person at events, and hope to meet them all soon. And, from the feedback I’ve received, having my “advisors” share thoughts and experiences is one of the most popular new editorial additions to the magazine.

The hiring of Lucas Sjostrom as Assistant Editor has been a big step and, after only a few weeks, I think we will make a great team – as long as I stay out of his way. Thanks to his leadership, we’ve made fantastic strides in digital and social media areas. There’s more to come, both digitally and in the print magazine.

Dairy nutritionists receiving our monthly digital Nutrition e-Newsletter have undoubtedly seen improvements, thanks to a young woman I have known for years – but had no idea of all her capabilities. With dairy nutrition not being one of my strong suits, I turned to Laura Daniels to serve as Nutrition e-Newsletter Contributing Editor. Laura, is the general manager of Heartwood Farm, a 300-cow Jersey herd located in Cobb, Wis., owned in partnership with husband Jarred Searls. Laura also does consulting in the areas of dairy nutrition, labor management and team building. She will be a tremendous asset.

As I noted in my first column, dairy is about people and relationships – it’s about us, with all our various perspectives. This month, our “Young Farmer” column exemplifies that better than I ever could.

After dairy farmer Kevin Cernek read a Young Farmer column (“Taking the plunge,” by Andy Birch June 2014 DHM), Kevin sent a letter to Andy, describing his own experiences and offering words of encouragement.

With Kevin’s approval, we’ve reprinted the letter in this issue. I think you’ll agree it reflects the enthusiasm and enduring hopefulness among “dairy” people of all ages.

Economists tell us 2014 has been a good year for the dairy industry. I hope it’s been a good year in other areas of your business, as well.


I also hope you continue to share your perspectives with me. After all, I can only get better by surrounding myself with good people.