farmdocDAILY celebrates 10 years of providing farm business analysis online
URBANA, Ill. – For a decade, agricultural professionals in Illinois and beyond have had a trusted online source for daily analysis and information. farmdocDAILY, part of the University of Illinois farmdoc project, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary on March 17.
And to mark this occasion, the farmdoc team will be releasing its list of the all-time top 20 articles.
“We originally launched farmdoc in 1999 to assist Corn Belt crop and livestock producers with decision-making for farms under risk. It covered marketing outlook, market advisory, and financial management,” says Scott Irwin, U of I agricultural economist and farmdoc team leader.
While the main focus hasn’t changed, the scope of farmdoc has grown. In 2011, the team launched farmdocDAILY with the goal of publishing one new article of original analysis and information each day of the business week.
“We've largely met that ambitious goal,” Irwin says. “For a decade, we have published articles that contain substantial analysis and research at an astonishing rate. Now, 10 years after we started, farmdocDAILY is still incredibly unique. There is nothing else like it in the publishing world.”
For Maria Cox, farmdocDAILY is a favorite information source. Cox farms with her parents, Ethan and Penny, on their family grain, hay, and livestock operation in White Hall, Illinois.
“I read farmdocDAILY regularly and find it very helpful. I use their publications as resources for making farm decisions such as grain marketing,” Cox says.
While the core audience is grain and livestock farmers in Illinois, farmdocDAILY reaches far and wide. Irwin says 19% of website visitors hail from other countries, while those from the U.S. are split between 60% from the Corn Belt and 40% from other states.
Over the last decade the team has recorded almost 150 million pageviews to the farmdocDAILY website, with 16 million unique visitors. Just in the last year, the site had 22 million pageviews and 2.2 million visitors.
farmdocDAILY has multiple contributors from around the U.S., but a core group of 15 farmdoc team members from the U of I and other Midwest universities produce most of the articles.
The team strives to provide economic analysis on topics of immediate interest to farmers, says Gary Schnitkey, professor of farm management and Soybean Industry Chair in agricultural strategy at U of I.
“We have used the farmdocDaily platform to help farmers decide between the ARC [Agriculture Risk Coverage] and PLC [Price Loss Coverage] commodity title choices. We did many articles in 2019 on prevent plant decisions. Whenever a new crop insurance product comes out, we can provide analysis and deliver it to decision-makers. Producers look to our updates on costs and returns in making acreage decisions and for setting rental levels,” Schnitkey explains.
Covering those and many other critical issues, farmdocDAILY is an invaluable resource for farmers and ag businesses, Irwin states.
“I think people have gotten used to having at their fingertips up-to-date analysis and information. They know we are going to put out those articles in a timely manner and in a format that quickly gets to a bottom line so they can actually use the material to make decisions,” he says.