Production Blog

Stop and Give Me Thirty

Reporting from Ohio, Genny Haun (center) has allowed readers a look at farming life. She farms with her husband, Matt (left), and her parents, Cindy and Jan Layman. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

DECATUR, Illinois (DTN) -- In the wayback machine -- before word processors, the world-wide-web, photocopiers, fax machines and cell phones -- I hammered out copy on a typewriter. And no, the first typewriter wasn't electric.

At the end of the manuscript, we typed the symbol "-30-" to signify "that's it, there isn't anymore" to the story. Theories abound as to the beginnings of this particular end mark. I've seen it connected to correspondence by telegraph during the Civil War. An editor once told me it meant to let the article rest 30 minutes and come back and edit it again. Another told me it means give an editor 30 seconds and the red ink will be flowing. In my early days when rewriting was a constant demand, I often wondered if it reflected the numerous drafts required to get an article published.

Occasionally, I will still enter the symbol just for tradition or taunting -- to see if anyone else still sees it as something more than a gremlin. However, I have increasingly come to realize that in agriculture, for this journalist, some stories never really end, nor do we always want them to do so.

It has been my privilege this year to follow two farmers through the crop season in a series we call View From the Cab. Since April, I've been talking to and writing about Genny Haun, of Kenton, Ohio, and Kyle Krier, of Claflin, Kansas.

Both of these young farmers applied for the opportunity to share their stories and they were selected from a long list of candidates. Each week we've had multiple communications and as we got to know each other, it has become somewhat routine to send notes to share thoughts on various topics.

There have been texts, direct messages, emails, phone calls and personal visits to each farmer. I've talked to them while they were baling hay, hauling kids to preschool and trying to fix computer issues (everyone's worst nightmare). We've birthed babies, announced pending arrivals, lamented labor challenges, disagreed and agreed on dicamba, crunched through crop insurance and covered many other issues.

And this year, we find ourselves in mid-November with snow on the ground, and still have not put a dash-thirty-dash end mark on this harvest season. Layman Farms has been beset by weather conditions that have made bringing the crop to a close more than difficult. Krier has put his row crops to bed, but this week still had a few acres of hay that had been covered by a blanket of snow with an uncertain gathering ahead.

This week's report was titled "Mud Wrestling" because both Haun and Krier have found themselves in saturated and sloppy conditions. Read it here:…

So expect to see a few more installments of DTN's View From the Cab than in years past. Ironically, we're close to reaching 30 articles in the series this year. And while I was rooting hard for a carefree harvest for these two farmers and their families, I welcome the opportunity to continue our lively discussions.

Watching young farmers like Haun and Krier grow their farm families and reach for the farming dream is what makes my job worth doing. I hope that never ends.

Farmers interested in participating in the 2019 View From the Cab series should email a short explanation of their farming operation and why they might like to participate to

Pamela Smith can be reached at

Follow her on Twitter @PamSmithDTN



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