By Jeremy C. Nagel
My recent work junket to Springport put me in close-enough proximity to the tiny-fields region of western Jackson County and I couldn’t help but explore a little. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I followed my curiosity briefly south and east into Parma Township.
Along Devereaux and Parma Roads I saw many of those tiny fields came with beautiful gates — a double bonus I wasn’t expecting. I stopped several times and hopped out into the drizzle to snap some quick gate pix.
Even better is when readers submit their own — and one of those readers recently (finally!) asked why.
Pretty simple, really: One of this publication’s missions is to bring order to the previously chaotic landscape of MFB member publications. Prior to 2018 it was a Wild West of program-specific newsletters and too-frequent single-purpose e-mails from anyone with half a reason to reach out.
Members were complaining about information overload and I was entrusted with the task of building a better mousetrap. This involved wrangling program-specific content from coworkers who’d previously enjoyed hitting ‘send’ on a whim.
That wrangling responsibility was baked into my new job description with the word ‘gatekeeper.’ And from there you can see the finish line: Farm Bureau… Gatekeeper… Farm Gate.
It struck me as a perfect fit: Gates are practical tools used to control the flow of things into or out of defined spaces, just like any door, window or valve. (And yes, I do nerdily love that they’re part of the agricultural landscape and how they represent a kind of variable boundary.)
For several months before we launched in February 2018 I was already referring to the new publication as Farm Gate. Nobody objected and only two brains went to the -gate suffix as used to indicate scandal.
Seeing no objection, the gavel came down and here we are: issue number 84 of Farm Gate.
Here at Farm Gate Headquarters we love seeing submitted photos of working gates in action on your farm. To date we have a 100% success rate of turning such photos into interesting content, so drop everything and send yours to [email protected] with a brief description. We’ll make your gate a star!