Farmdoc daily marks anniversary with significant accomplishment
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[March 15, 2012]
URBANA -- Farmdoc daily, a website
designed to focus on "Corn Belt farm economics," has reached a
unique milestone. The fledgling website, directed at the commercial
agriculture sector, has published one original article of
research-based analysis and information every business day since it
was launched on March 17, 2011.
Scott Irwin, the team leader for farmdoc daily, is the Laurence J.
Norton Chair of Agricultural Marketing in the Department of
Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois.
Irwin is also the leader of the team that developed farmdoc, the
parent website, more than a dozen years ago.
"We wanted something
that would complement farmdoc," said Irwin, "and it needed to fit
with the technology that has undergone enormous changes in the last
decade. Smartphones, iPads, blogs and social networks are now
commonplace, but we could scarcely imagine them just a few years
Irwin said farmdoc daily marries the "blog revolution" with the
idea of a daily newspaper. "We wanted to use the blog format because
it's simple, and it presents information the way people are used to
seeing it electronically now," he said.
"But we didn't want to do a blog in the conventional sense of an
opinion journal," he continued. "We are a public university charged
with providing unbiased, research-based analysis and information. So
we came up with an idea that was closer to a newspaper that
published one article a day -- an original piece of analysis
directed at a farm-level audience."
The response to farmdoc daily was immediate and has been
overwhelmingly positive, Irwin said.
"We're up to roughly 30,000 visits a month and about 100,000 page
requests on the site. Visits are growing at a rate of about 10
percent per month, and we add at least 100 people a month to our
email list," he said.
Other team members and contributors include Darrel Good, Gary
Hoff, Nick Paulson, Gary Schnitkey and Bruce Sherrick, all
professors in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics;
Dwight Raab, an Extension specialist in the department; and Paul
Peterson, The Clearing Corporation Foundation Endowed Chair in
Derivatives Trading in the department. Chris Hurt, a professor of
agricultural economics at Purdue University, and Carl Zulauf, a
professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics
at The Ohio State University, are also regular contributors.
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Recently, two posts from farmdoc daily were featured on the front
page of AgWeb, the largest Web news service for agriculture around
the world. "The Amazing Continuing Story of Natural Gas Prices,"
written by Irwin, and "Should I Sell My MF Global Claim?" written by
Peterson, were given front-page coverage on the influential website.
"More than any statistic I can quote, I believe the use of those
articles on the largest ag website in the world is a true indicator
of our success -- that our vision was correct," said Irwin. "So we
will continue to focus on the flow of those daily posts that address
immediate and important topics and problems in agriculture.
"I knew when we began that we had something that was interesting
and fun, but I never could have foreseen that it was going to be
this successful this fast. We hit with exactly the right thing at
exactly the right time," Irwin concluded.
file received from
the University of Illinois
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences]