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Old curmudgeon taking final lap to finish line

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  • There may be a special project or two along the way, but I am definitely easing out of the deadline grind. Fifty years as a journalist is enough. Old Yeller begs to go down the road and there are grandchildren and one great-grandchild I would like to spend more time spoiling.

To paraphrase Mark Twain’s famous quote upon reading his obituary; reports of my retirement are greatly exaggerated. However, they are not.

This is not my “30” commentary. It will come later. I am sticking around for a few more months. Dec. 31, 2013, will be my last day as an editor of Western Farm Press.

Over the past few weeks, several people have had kind words for the old curmudgeon on his impending retirement. Thank you. Your kindness means far more than my words can express.

Between now and then, I will be working on several projects, including taking care of unfinished elements of the online continuing education platform Farm Press has offered for the past eight years. And we will continue to develop new courses for the platform behind pentonag.com.

The online CE program has been an incredible experience because of the overwhelming acceptance of it. There are now more than 10,000 people registered on the portal and more than 65,000 courses completed online. This year there are 20 CE courses accredited not only in California and Arizona, but 20 other states as well. All courses are also accredited for Certified Crop Adviser continuing education units.

I will not be in the field and at meetings as I have been in the past, but I will continue to grind out commentaries from time to time. As my friend Steve Beckley often says, “Harry, you are having far too much fun writing those columns.” He is correct. I will continue to pursue my passions in this space.

There may be a special project or two along the way, but I am definitely easing out of the deadline grind. Fifty years as a journalist is enough. Old Yeller begs to go down the road and there are grandchildren and one great-grandchild I would like to spend more time spoiling.

My wife Georgann deserves better than walking into my home office at 11 p.m. telling me good night. She knows I truly enjoy what I do, but I also know she wants a husband and not an editor.

There are some bucket list road trips. I want to visit the four halls of fame:  National Football League, Major League Baseball, NASCAR and Rock and Roll.

There may be another car to build. Who knows?

Like I said, my "30" column will come later, but for now I would appreciate it if you would give my successor, Cary Blake of Gilbert, Ariz., the kind of support you have given me for the past 35 years as editor of Western Farm Press. Plans are to give Cary help by hiring another editor to work and live in California, and give that person the same support.

Cary has a big job. Any ag journalist who works in the West will never learn all there is to know about California and Arizona agriculture. That is what makes this spot the best ag journalism job in the country. It never gets old. I learn something new on every interview, every field day and meeting I attend. If someone tells you they know all there is to know about Western agriculture, they are lying or are a fool.

It has been a fun ride, and I look forward to the final lap to the finish line. Hang on.

Discuss this Blog Entry 6

Mary Orcutt (not verified)
on Feb 21, 2013

Good luck and have a lot of fun.

Bill Lalor (not verified)
on Feb 21, 2013

Congratulations on such a long and productive career!
Now, how about a book of your wisdom, wisecracks and unique SJV encounters and belly-laughs --- please?

Kevin Lehar (not verified)
on Feb 21, 2013

Harry, its been a pleasure knowing and working with you all these years- you a truely a friend to the farmer and western agriculture. Your editorials often brought common sense to the challenges we face her in California.
Good Luck and God Bless!

Nat DiBuduo (not verified)
on Feb 21, 2013

Harry for you and I, it's probably been 40 years of friendship and professional courtesy, respect and healthy discussions. You have always been a friend of agriculture and the grower. You have never steered away from controversial issues but handle them straight forward. Over your years as a agricultural journalist California Agriculture and the California grape growers have benefited from your writings. God Bless and we will be working with you & Cary through 2013 and the future as well.Looking forward to a retirement party!

Peter Cherbak (not verified)
on Feb 21, 2013

If ever see old Yellow driving down the street I will hail you down to thank you for all the informative articles you have written over the years.

jim coburn (not verified)
on Feb 21, 2013

Like the great frontiersmen of the west, Kit Carson, Jim Bridges, Tom Fitzpatrick and even Henry Miller, you have left your mark and the trail made easier to follow. Damn fine job!

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