5th Anniversary Edition: July 6, 2005

Plant Management Network Celebrates
5th Anniversary

The Plant Management Network (PMN) is celebrating its first five years of online publication. To commemorate the occasion, PMN took a look back interviewing some of those involved when it began.

Started in July 2000 as a single journal, PMN now offers a full suite of applied science-based agricultural resources. Said Tim Murray, first Plant Health Progress journal editor-in-chief and Washington State University plant pathologist, "As one of the web's first electronic-only publications, I remember that when we first went online people wondered if it would last. After five years, I think the answer is definitely 'yes'. Not only is the journal now part of the permanent literature, it has evolved into a comprehensive network for applied agriculture." He added, "People I talk with today canít imagine not having this kind of hands-on information available electronically."

Today, PMN offers three additional journals, Crop Management, Forage and Grazinglands, and Applied Turfgrass Science. In addition, it offers a unique set of other electronic resources, including a Soybean Rust Information Center, Image Database, Plant Science Database, Education & Training Center, B&C Tests, F&N Tests, and Commodity Variety Trials. "PMN is truly an innovative resource," said Dick Stuckey, PMN advisory council chair and former executive vice president of the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). Stuckey said, "By providing so many tools in a single website, PMN offers a first-stop Internet address for those agricultural practitioners seeking reliable information."

Since its inception, PMN has partnered with scientific/professional societies, land-grant universities, and agribusiness companies. Inaugural partners in the year 2000 were the American Phytopathological Society, American Society of Agronomy, CAST, Crop Science Society of America, and Syngenta Crop Protection. The partners program has now grown to include nearly 50 of the most highly respected organizations in agriculture. PMN director, Miles Wimer, said, "The PMN partners program is one of a kind in that it brings together over half of the land-grant colleges of agriculture and many nonprofit organizations and corporations. We hope to also engage international organizations and government agencies."

"We strive to not only deliver a top-notch education, but to also train our students to use the best possible educational resources throughout their careers," said Jim MacDonald, director of the APS Office of Electronic Communications at the time that it originated the concept of PMN. He said, "In the face of an ever-changing environment and advances in the agricultural sciences, it's imperative that professionals have access to current information. PMN fills this need. It's an affordable resource that we suggest graduates maintain throughout their work lives." MacDonald is Executive Associate Dean of the University of California, Davis, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Vern Cardwell, University of Minnesota agronomist and president of the American Society of Agronomy at the time that it and the Crop Science Society of America became partners, said, "I remember how progressive this all was when it started. It seemed the perfect vehicle to communicate the practical side of our research to advisers, growers, and the many other agricultural professionals that we serve." Cardwell added, "Over time, the cooperation among the various ag-related societies has been most fruitful bringing forth added journals and resources. PMN is an excellent example of interdisciplinary collaboration that provides an integrated resource no one organization can produce on its own."

Allison Tally, Syngenta Crop Protection's partner representative to PMN, stated, "I'm very proud that Syngenta was PMN's first industry partner. PMN provides useful management information to agricultural practitioners in non-technical language. It also provides a forum for agribusiness companies to communicate information through PMN's news and perspectives sections." Tally, a soybean rust specialist, said too, "I'm also proud that Syngenta is a sponsor of the PMN soybean rust page. It's one of the most comprehensive, yet concise, resources available and itís overseen by a committee of experts to ensure its accuracy."

The author of PMNís very first research article, Gary Grove, Washington State University extension specialist, said, "It meant a great deal to me to have a refereed research article in the 'launch' edition of PMN's journals. PMN is a great initiative and seeing it succeed is really rewarding." PMN provides authors a distinct set of benefits including peer-reviewed journal citations, rapid publication, worldwide readership, free use of color, and no page charges.

One of PMN's earliest subscribers, Chris Becker, a Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) and member of the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants, said, "PMN has become a major online resource for advisers. It has a clean user interface, no advertising, and is an abundant source of unbiased information---invaluable!" PMN has subscribers in more than 70 countries on all continents in both temperate and tropical zones.

PMN is a not-for-profit effort that provides science-based solutions in agriculture. It seeks to sustain itself through subscriptions and partnerships in both the public and private sectors. For more information, visit www.plantmanagementnetwork.org.

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