By Mike Jiggens
This month marks 20 years since Turf & Recreation has been in the hands of its current ownership, and I’ve enjoyed the entire ride.
It seems like only yesterday that I left my newspaper career behind to become editor of this fine publication.
To put things into perspective, my youngest son was just about to start kindergarten on my first day on the job. By the time you read this, he will have been married for about a week. (Incidentally, he, too, is now in the industry as a mechanic at Legends on the Niagara.)
Over the course of the past 20 years, there have been numerous changes and developments in both the turfgrass and publishing industries. Most of these changes have been for the better. Some, such as provincially or municipally-mandated cosmetic pesticide bans, remain contentious.
The way in which we produce this publication today is a far cry more effective than the way things were done in 1994. Computer technology largely drives most of what is done to produce each issue. In our early years, for example, we would farm out the colour separations of our photographs to a company in nearby Woodstock. Although they did a splendid job for us, it was usually a two or three-day turnaround period to get them back.
Today, it’s all done through Photoshop and is instantaneous.
Correspondents who would occasionally write for us would “mail” in their stories back then. Remember mail…which needed an envelope and a stamp? I would then have to type the entire story all over again on my computer to have it ready to go. Thankfully, that archaic process gave way to email which allows me to simply copy and paste these submissions into my editorial files. It has probably saved me from years of potential tendonitis.
The turf maintenance industry, too, has seen its share of improvements over the past 20 years. Irrigation has come a long way as computer technology and moisture sensors have helped to save water. Newer amendments and improved seed varieties have given turfgrass a better chance to survive and contend with the various challenges Mother Nature continues to throw its way.
Many in the lawn care industry may argue that there has actually been backward movement over the past couple of decades now that some provinces have stripped professionals of many of the tools in their toobox. This is more of a sign of the times from a political point of view, and politicians will likely have more to say in the coming years.
Both the turfgrass and publishing worlds have been most enjoyable for me, and I look forward to many good years ahead.