Intertec, the parent group for BEEF and 77 other business-to-business trade journals, recently conducted a survey of each magazine's readership. The objective was to gauge the importance of each magazine's editorial content to its audience. In that survey, BEEF was rated by more than 71% of beef producer respondents as the “must read” publication in the U.S. beef business.

It was a welcome result for our BEEF editorial staff, which strives each month to provide our readers with a package of fresh, thought-provoking and pertinent news and information. Our purpose is to give our readers the insight and ammunition — in an easily digestible format — that's necessary to stay on top of a rapidly changing industry.

To accomplish that goal, we work to diversify the package to keep content fresh and inviting. For instance, for the past three years we've cooperated with Texas A&M University and commercial sponsors to bring the industry the highly successful Beef Quality Challenge contest. We've also strived to integrate our electronic media efforts (www.beef-mag.com and www.agriclick.com) with our printed product in order to provide deeper and more timely coverage of industry happenings.

For more than a year, BEEF has presented a continuing series of feature stories on the beef industry's top marketing alliance programs. Our 14th installment — Caprock's Sharing Total Added Value (STAV) alliance — appears on page 14. In addition, we publish an annual index of alliance programs — The Alliance Yellow Pages — each August.

Last fall, we began a monthly series of taste tests on new beef convenience foods available at retail — the “BEEF Taste Test.” You'll find the latest (Excel's Cattleman's Reserve Fully Cooked Beef Patties) on page 35.

Recently, we've also revamped our regular column offerings to introduce our readership to new industry experts and personalities. For instance, we added economist Harlan Hughes as a regular marketing columnist in January. His column — “The Market Advisor” — appears on page 16 of this issue.

In our April issue, we gave you a sneak peek at our new specialist in agricultural legal issues — Jane Easter Bahls. Her accompanying story on liability issues having to do with a national cattle ID system was a dandy complement to the April cover story. Look for her byline dealing with agricultural law topics in upcoming issues.

All these additions, features and efforts are dedicated to keeping our readers abreast of what's transpiring in the beef business, both inside and outside of the production sector.

Series Focuses On Florida

This month, it's my pleasure to introduce Mary Anne Cruse, or “MAC” to her friends. MAC begins her monthly diary on ranching and ranch life in South Florida in this issue.

MAC assumes the challenge filled ably and wonderfully for four years by Heather Smith Thomas of Salmon, ID. Heather's “Monthly Journal From The Lemhi Mountains” imparted to BEEF readers a better understanding of the unique challenges faced by ranch families in the Intermountain West.

Now, MAC will provide insight into the challenges of operating in the Southeast, with its attendant heat, humidity, abundant grass and even-more-abundant environmental and urbanization issues. Give her column, which appears on page 18, a read. I think you'll find what she has to say both enjoyable and enlightening.

MAC is the latest tweak in our efforts to provide you with a beef industry trade journal that will be indispensable — a “must read” — in your business. Any comments or suggestions on how we can do a better job of helping you do yours are welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for your support. It's what we work for.