What’s in a Name?

Welcome to the 5th Anniversary issue of Direct Driller / Normal Farming magazine. When we started the magazine, we really didn’t know what to call it. We knew it should focus on soil health, reduced cultivation, conservation agriculture (remember when it was called that), sustainability, efficiency and profitability. Lots of good words and I’d hope we have done well to sticking with those goals over the past 2000 pages of content. But that also gave us a lot of options for a title.

No-Till farmer already existed in the USA – so that was out, as was TCS from France. We put about 20 options up on a white board. It’s fair to say that none really grabbed us, but one was Direct Driller. It referenced more the machinery than the practice and that was our main reasons for not loving it. Because, while the right machinery is critical, we have always believed that to change anything requires a mindset change first. “Mindset Magazine” though didn’t sound a lot like farming and also now exists. Zero-till, Reduced tiller, Zero tiller, Conservation Farming, Regen Farmer were all considered too but nothing grabbed us.

When considering such creative questions, beer should be used to help come to a decision. It didn’t really help, in this instance, but as always made the process more enjoyable. After a couple of weeks, we settled on Direct Driller Magazine. We knew that most of the farmers who undertake this process will be using a direct drill of some sort, it seemed like common ground for all. The magazine was born.

You will see from the front cover we have changed to “Normal Farming Magazine” for this issue. We aren’t changing the name permanently,
mostly because this is an even worse title. However, we wanted to highlight just how much farming media and farming attitudes have changes over the past 5 years towards regenerative farming.

We often say the reason we started the magazine was because we were told there was not room for a niche publication that only focused on
regenerative agriculture. We were in a unique position to be able to break new ground and launch something without a solid business plan behind it. This was at a time when companies were saying the print media didn’t have a future and smaller publications were going to digital. Yet now all the mainstream printed magazines are now full of regenerative content. They are all pivoting fast to this new normal. ESG,
sustainability, biodiversity and carbon credits are talked about everywhere.

And this is our point behind the title. Regenerative farmers, like yourselves, have become trend setters, not followers. You are not outliers, those weird farmers who do things differently. You are now “normal”. I realise some of you are going to be quite disappointed by this new status, but I’m afraid it’s the truth. Those farmers who fight change are now seen as outliers, fighting for a past that clearly just doesn’t
work without governmental financial support.

They are now realising they have to change, although that change could also be to move even further away from conservation practices. An odd consequence of what the government is trying to do. Regenerative farming is becoming the new normal – although with a long journey and a lot of learning still required. This new normal means this magazine will keep growing and growing. We never thought it would get to the size it has, but we see no reason why it won’t eventually have more farmer readers than anyone else.

Direct Driller magazine today, is the fastest growing agricultural magazine, created for and by farmers. Giving voices to those farmers who wanted to change and have not only changed their farms, but also influenced hundreds of other farmers to take steps that they would not have done without their support. This is something for regenerative farmers to be proud of. I wrote an article in Issue 14 about the 3.5% rule. We have seen this change in farming being driven by farmers themselves.

By reading this magazine, by going to Groundswell (and now Down to Earth as well), we have created a change in overall farming attitudes. Now everyone is reading about regen ag, even if they don’t read this magazine. For just one issue – here is to being “normal”. Embrace it, tell your nonfarmer friends about it and profit from it.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make this magazine what it is over the past 5 years. Raise your glass to the next 5 years over a Xmas drink with your family and friends.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.