PORK'99 is gone. Go ahead, take a look.

After 19 years of inquires about what we're going to do with the name in 2000, you have the answer. You are holding the first issue of Pork. We are officially Y2K compliant.

Why just Pork? That's easy. Our readers are pork producers not hog farmers. What you do every day and what we do every day leads to one thing – producing safe, high-quality pork products. Part of our responsibility as an industry information source is to provide insight into all aspects of the pork chain, not just production. That's why in Pork you will find details on consumer trends, pork product research, value-added product guidance, directions in food-service and retail marketing and much more.

We're not abandoning production information; we're supplementing it. Like a well-balanced swine ration, Pork will bring the right mix of ingredients to help you grow as a professional pork producer. A glance at the past year's hog numbers is enough for anyone to see that you know how to produce hogs. But there's more to pork production today.

We surveyed pork producers to determine what you like, need, want from information sources as well as what you're not getting. You told us you don't have a lot of time, yet you want a lot of information.

Profit Tips and the practical, concise information presented in its user-friendly format is a keeper. Pro Center Talk, and its real-world application, also must stay.

New to the mix is Cause/Effect. This is a marketing column that's not a marketing column – at least not in the traditional sense. Too often the word marketing conjures up images of hog numbers and prices. But marketing is much more complex. There's a yin and yang to the markets; you have to dig into many factors to understand what influences the price outcome. For example, last year we saw firsthand the results of Canada's packing plant shortage and labor strikes – it put 4.1 million extra hogs on the U.S. market. What are Canada's future plans? Pork's record cold storage supplies will burden the market for another year, what does that mean? Cause/Effect will tell you.

Another new column – Perspectives – will provide insight into any number of industry and business topics. Turn to page 62 in this issue and you'll get a look at what lenders are thinking today. Are you at risk of losing antibiotics? How do retailers price pork products? You will receive Perspectives on those topics and more each month.

You told us that news and information on developments occurring inside and outside of the pork industry are important to you. In response we offer Pork Inc. This section incorporates news, business issues and pork chain developments to give you a well-rounded look at factors that affect your business. It's the kind of information you need as you develop short- and long-term strategic plans.

Features are the heartbeat of the magazine. That's where you get in depth information, but we also know your time is limited. We won't sacrifice the details, but we will present shorter features, with more graphs, sidebars and what we call information entry points.

As for topics, you will see more business-related features, an earlier look at new technology, innovative ideas and alternative ways of doing business. You will occasionally see articles involving concepts outside of the pork industry – after all, others have answers that you might be able to apply.

As always, your ideas are welcome. If there's a topic you would like to see addressed or a person you would like to hear from, drop me a note or give me a call. Also, let me know how you like the new look and feel of Pork.

Change is constant whether you're in the pork production business or the publishing business. We can't afford to stand still and neither can you.

Like it says on our cover, Pork is the "business magazine for professional pork producers". In 1981 when this magazine first hit the press, folks wondered why the industry needed another "hog magazine". Truth is it didn't, but then we've always been about Pork.