Several years ago, we launched Homefarm.com, the umbrella Internet site for BEEF magazine's Web site beef-mag.com and our company's eight other agricultural magazines. (Homefarm.com was the site you first reached when you typed beef-mag.com into your computer.)

This month, we take the next electronic leap as our company phases out the Homefarm site and beef-mag.com becomes part of AgriClick.com. AgriClick is a virtual online community designed to deliver the total package of up-to-the-hour news, information, e-commerce and services to our readers and Internet browsers.

Now, when you type in beef-mag.com, you'll go immediately to the BEEF magazine home page. There you'll find a site dedicated solely to the beef cattle industry - fresh industry news each Monday morning, current BEEF magazine content, our magazine archives, beef industry links, special projects - you name it.

From there, click on AgriClick.com and you'll find electronic coverage of all aspects and sectors of U.S. agriculture. The latest news of the day, market information, e-commerce, weather, legislative information, employment opportunities and the archives of nine of America's top agricultural magazines - that's what you'll find at AgriClick.com.

AgriClick.com is just one change in an evolution you'll witness the next few months as we integrate the electronic and print resources of BEEF magazine. The intent is to better serve you, the reader, with a wider universe of information, when you want it - a one-stop electronic shop.

A step toward that goal is the debut this month of a new monthly column, "The Market Advisor" by Harlan Hughes, cow/calf marketing and management guru and North Dakota State University (NDSU) professor emeritus. Harlan's writings each month will serve as the basis for additional reading, forecasts and study available this month at www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/cow. By February, those resources will be transferred to our beef-mag.com site.

Harlan is a Ravenna, NE, native. Throughout his career, which includes management and marketing Extension positions at the University of Wisconsin, Michigan State University, the University of Wyoming and NDSU, Harlan has been a leader in moving U.S. cow/calf producers into a management mode.

Harlan introduced Integrated Resource Management (IRM) in North Dakota and contributes mightily to the national program. IRM is designed to teach beef-cow producers how to conduct an integrated production and economic analysis and to database individual herd analyses into a set of benchmark herds that producers can use to identify their individual herd's strengths and weaknesses.

Harlan lectures extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada. How to profit from cattle cycles has been a primary subject of his recent producer presentations. Feel free to contact him at harlan.hughes@gte.net.

This month, we bid farewell to two long-time BEEF columnists - Ed Uvacek and Heather Smith Thomas.

- Ed has provided monthly market commentary for BEEF readers for the past 24 years. During that tenure, and a professional career totaling 46 years and counting, Ed has observed, studied and dissected a beef industry era studded with tremendous, far-reaching change.

His final monthly column appears on page 10. In it, Ed discusses some of the changes he's seen over his illustrious career and offers some comments on the future of the beef business.

Ed penned his first column for BEEF, then called "Ed's Educated Estimates," in January 1976. At that time, he was a marketing specialist and professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University. He retired from A&M in 1986 with emeritus status and formed Western Livestock Research, a private research-based consulting firm he still operates.

You will continue to see Ed's byline in BEEF on occasional stand-alone stories. I thank Ed for his tremendous contributions to BEEF readers and offer him our best wishes for continued success.

- For the past four years, Heather Smith Thomas has provided BEEF readers with glimpses into ranch life in the intermountain West. Few of our readers have met Heather or her family - husband Lynn, son Michael, daughter Andrea and granddaughter Emily. But, we've all gained an appreciation for this family's hardships and victories and the values and love that sustain them.

Through her words, we accompanied Heather and her family on muddy days, cold nights and sunny days. We shared the family's highest emotional peaks, like the birth of granddaughter Emily, and we've despaired with them in the emotional valleys, such as the severe burns Emily's mother Andrea suffered last summer.

Heather taught us about the challenges of ranching in the intermountain West. We also learned much about the character, strength and stewardship of this hard-working American family near Salmon, ID. You'll continue to see Heather's byline in this magazine as an article contributor, but this issue contains her final regular installment.

Soon, we'll be introducing to BEEF readers a new ranch family - this one in the Southeast. We hope you'll take the time to get to know them as you've come to know the Thomases.

Thanks, Heather, for letting us share your life. Heather's address is Box 215, Salmon, ID 83467.

Correction: A typo in the December "Editor's Roundup" claimed South Dakota sent 800,000 voters to the polls in November. That figure actually was 315,000. The math comparing South Dakota's electoral clout to California's, however, was correct.