Author Archives: Jim Sulecki

Long-Time Meister Editor Gordon Berg Dies At 93

It is with regret that Meister Media Worldwide announces the passing of long-time editor Gordon L. Berg, 93. Berg was Editor of Farm Chemicals magazine (now CropLife® magazine) from 1961 until his retirement in 1985.

“Gordon was the Editor of Farm Chemicals during a period of great technological expansion with fertilizers, pesticides, and application equipment, but also a time when agriculture was under almost daily attack from environmentalists and others who feared change and made doomsday predictions,” said Richard T. Meister, Chairman Emeritus and Editor-in-Chief, Meister Media Worldwide. “In every monthly issue, Gordon took up his pen to refute these claims and to fight for a strong industry, a strong agriculture, and a strong America. It was in Farm Chemicals that his strong and often opinionated editorials challenged the industry to never be satisfied with the status quo.”

Berg also edited County Agent and Vo-Ag Teacher magazine, later Ag Consultant, championing the expanding growth of independent crop consultants and their services to agriculture service and winning lifetime membership of the National Association of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC).

Berg was born in 1920 in Reeder, ND, population less than 200. When he finished high school he started a newspaper and was its editor, printer, and salesman, then hired onto another newspaper where he was proud of his skill at running a Linotype machine setting type from hot metal. He graduated from South Dakota State University and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943. He was one of the few remaining survivors of the Battle of the Bulge, which he fought with the 191st Field Artillery Battalion, 3rd Army. After the war he wrote a history of the 191st Battalion.

Words and writing were Berg’s love and passion. After college he became an Extension editor at Pennsylvania State University, then editor of Everybody’s Poultry magazine. Later he moved to Philadelphia, PA, to take the reins of County Agent and Vo-Ag Teacher and Farm Chemicals magazines. When these titles were acquired by Meister Publishing Company (now Meister Media Worldwide) in 1961, he moved with them to Willoughby, OH, where he lived for 53 years until his death.

Berg often railed against agricultural regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When an exasperated EPA official characterized him as a “wild turkey,” Berg formed a “Wild Turkey Club” to encourage industry support for reasonable regulations that would not stifle farm productivity. Always a fighter, Berg said at his retirement: “I intend to keep on ruffling feathers and fighting for a strong agriculture and a strong America.”

Meister Media Closes Cotton International, Continues Strong Commitment to U.S. Cotton with Cotton Grower

Meister Media Worldwide today announced the closure of all business activities for its Cotton International title. The recently published 2014 Cotton International Annual will be its last print edition, and digital products exclusively serving global cotton also will be discontinued.

CI and CG logosThe company cited the structural transformation of the global cotton market and the business transition of both the merchant and mill communities to a vertically integrated, multi-commodity focus as factors directly impacting Cotton International with its singular focus on cotton.

“This is a bittersweet moment for both Cotton International and Meister Media, as we have served the global cotton industry for nearly a century,” said Mr. Gary T. Fitzgerald, Chairman & CEO of Meister Media Worldwide, Cotton International’s parent company. “Cotton International, and its predecessor Cotton Trade Journal, have been the global voice for the cotton trade and a fixture at industry events around the world. However, the world of cotton has fundamentally changed, and we must shift our resources to other agricultural markets we serve around the world which now offer greater opportunity.”

Fitzgerald added, “We thank all the strong supporters of Cotton International through the years and the generations of families who have been so welcoming and who joined in our efforts to advance the interests of cotton around the world. We will miss these many friends, and we wish them all the best.”

Meister Media maintains a strong ongoing commitment to the U.S. cotton industry with its Cotton Grower title serving all segments of the U.S. cotton market from seed to mill through its magazine, digital products, awards, events and related business activities. Cotton Grower also continues the website, to be renamed, with a focus on all segments of the cotton market as they relate to the interests of the U.S. industry.

Fitzgerald emphasized that “with the U.S. cotton industry rapidly responding to the changing dynamics of the global cotton industry, continues as a strong advocate advancing the interests of U.S. cotton from our base in Memphis, Tennessee.”

Meister Media Worldwide – headquartered in Willoughby, Ohio, USA with additional offices in Memphis, Tennessee; Orlando, Florida; and Modesto, California, USA ; along with affiliates in key agricultural centers around the globe – serves a full range of specialty agriculture, horticulture and related markets worldwide with a diversified portfolio of media and business products and services.

Meister Media Launches “Connect” Series of Strategic Events

Greenhouse_ConnectBeginning in 2014, a series of new, multiple-market events owned and operated by Meister Media Worldwide will carry the unifying brand name “Connect” – conveying their unique value in bringing influential growing and retail operations together with their peers and with major product and service suppliers in a high-level, strategic environment.

The first such event – to be called “GreenhouseConnect™” – is planned for October 22-24, 2014, says George Casey, Group Publisher of Meister Media’s Ornamental Group including Greenhouse Grower® and Today’s Garden Center® magazines. Representatives of an expected two-dozen leading greenhouse operations from across the U.S. will join senior-level suppliers in a resort location for several days of one-on-one strategic meetings, producer discussions and general sessions of informative, relevant content.

“Every grower has business pains to resolve. Our GreenhouseConnect event offers leading growers a one-stop shop of solutions that other growers don’t have access to,” Casey says. “For participating suppliers this is an opportunity for uninterrupted, one-on-one time with key customers and prospects while also getting invaluable feedback on potential new product or new service development.”

Comparable regional events in horticulture – called “FruitGrowerConnect™” and “VegetableGrowerConnect™” – are planned for November and December 2014 as extensions to services long provided by American-Western Fruit Grower® and American Vegetable Grower® magazines.

“Growers who attend our Connect events get quality time with key people from major suppliers, deepening their relationships with them and learning what new products are coming down the road and help in the development of new products,” says Gerry Bogdon, Group Publisher of Meister Media’s U.S. Horticulture Group. “Participating suppliers deepen their relationships with very large growers and can further initiatives such as securing grower partners for on-farm trialing of their products.”

Katie Smith, Corporate Events Director for Meister Media Worldwide, says other Connect events are being planned, including Today’s Garden Center® magazine’s “GardenCenterConnect™” (formerly TGC Business Builder Conference).

“Our audiences and the suppliers who serve them have come to rely on us to pull the important players together,” Smith says. “Paired with our industry-leading magazines and digital products, Meister Media’s Connect series is a seamless – and enhanced – face-to-face extension of a valuable service we’ve brought to our markets for some time. Whether the Connect event is national or regional, multiple-day or one-day, it’s been tailored to the unique dynamics of that market and is a unique opportunity to bring together leading growing and retail organizations in a high-level, strategic environment. ”

Produce Industry Leaders Join GenNext Growersâ„¢ Advisory Council

GenNextGrowers_logoMeister Media Worldwide’s GenNext Growers™ initiative – the aim of which is to ensure a successful transition of American fruit, vegetable and citrus farms to the next generation of owners and managers – is pleased to welcome a growing number of produce industry leaders from across the nation as founding members of the GenNext Growers Advisory Council.

As of April 10, 2014, the Council’s roster includes:

  • Bruce Hollabaugh, Production and Personnel Manager, Hollabaugh Brothers Fruit Farm, Biglerville, PA
  • Tim Coolong, Associate Professor, Horticulture, University of Georgia
  • David Doll, Pomology Farm Advisor, University of California – Davis
  • Chris Drew, Production Manager, Ocean Mist Farms in California, a producer of mixed greens and other vegetables
  • Catherine Lara, Specialty Crop Program Manager and Young Growers Leadership Development, Penn State University
  • Christine Nevosh, Western Marketing Manager, DuPont
  • Joe Petrocco, Vice President, Petrocco Farms in Colorado, a producer of leaf lettuce, spinach, cabbage, onions, spinach, and beans
  • Justin Sorrells, Owner and General Manager, Sorrells Citrus and DeSoto Fruit & Harvesting
  • Sonia Tighe, Executive Director, Florida Specialty Crop Foundation, representing the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

The role of the GenNext Advisory Council is to serve in a mentor / advisor capacity to the Initiative as it endeavors to identify candidates for GenNext Growers and host a community of peers with online, social-media and in-person interactions; foster the professional development of the GenNext Grower community through focused content and educational opportunities in areas of greatest need and interest; and share the best thinking and success stories of GenNext Growers to the wider growing and produce communities so that anyone can share in and benefit from the initiative.

About the GenNext Growers Initiative
GenNext Growers was founded in 2013 by American Fruit Grower, American Vegetable Grower and Florida Grower magazines as a cross-produce-industry “umbrella” initiative to help identify, inform and inspire the next generation of grower who:

  • Were born after 1970
  • Are preparing to assume, or already have assumed, leadership in a farming enterprise
  • Have a passion to produce high-quality specialty crops: fruits, vegetables and citrus
  • Seek to be advocates for their industry

The aim of the initiative is to identify, develop and promote across the industry the best practices of the nation’s most promising up-and-coming specialty crop growers; to help pull together and bring a national voice to the many regional young growers programs currently underway; and to ensure a smooth generational transition and the long-term viability of America’s fruit, vegetable and citrus industries.

Meister Media’s “Sustainability Blueprint Projectâ„¢” Fosters Practical Approaches, Solutions Across All Markets

sustainability-blueprint-logoWith consumer demand building for sustainably grown food and produce, fiber, flowers and plants and other consumables, Meister Media Worldwide is pleased to announce the launch of a program touching on all of the markets served by its media brands.

The Sustainability Blueprint Projectâ„¢ helps to make sustainability manageable and immediately actionable to crop producers and their allied service-providers and input suppliers. It is designed to augment and amplify current and future initiatives in agriculture including Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture.

“Data-Intensive Management” – a look at some of the programs and tools that are laying the foundation of sustainable production through data collection, record keeping and analysis – is the first of a planned series of reports to appear under the Sustainability Blueprint Project nameplate. Sponsored by Syngenta, the report is appearing across various December, January and February issues of American/Western Fruit Grower®, American Vegetable Grower®, Cotton Grower®, CropLife®, Farm Chemicals International®, Florida Grower®, Greenhouse Grower® and PrecisionAg® magazines.

All content from the inaugural, cross-market report is posted to, a newly launched hub site and agriculture-wide resource. Topics planned for future Sustainability Blueprint Project coverage and special reports include water and soil conservation, land use, fertilization, energy use, and waste disposal and recycling.

Meister Media Worldwide also is planning ongoing audience polls and deeper research projects to gauge producer attitudes, adoption and progress in sustainability.

“Sustainability is here and it is not going away. That’s the message we get from producers and stakeholders in our markets, both agricultural and horticultural, in North America and around the world,” says Jim Sulecki, Corporate Content Director, Meister Media Worldwide. “We’ll consider the Sustainability Blueprint Project a success if – thanks at least in small part to our modest effort – commercial agriculture, horticulture and floriculture increasingly answer the consumer call for food and produce grown with social, environmental and economic responsibility.”

Productores de Hortalizas Honored with 2013 Agricultural Journalism Award

CropLife Latin America and the Mexican Association of the Phytosanitary Industry (AMIFAC) awarded the 2013 Agricultural Journalism Award to Productores de Hortalizas magazine for its efforts to inform and educate growers. Juan Carlos García López de Lara, of Productores de Hortalizas, received the award on behalf of the publication at a ceremony held in Mexico City on August 19, 2013.

“The award represents a commitment to continue working for the benefit of the industry,” said Garcia. “It is the result of a collaborative effort that generates great satisfaction for the whole Productores de Hortalizas team.”

Productores de Hortalizas, a publication of Meister Media Worldwide, won in the category of written and online journalism. The title submitted two pieces for the jury’s consideration, “Avoid Botrytis in Pepper: Prevention and Identification of Gray Mold in Protected Cultivation,” by José Cosme Guerrero Ruiz; and “Soil Solarization: The Process and Application in Protected Structures,” by Jesús Marino Valerio.

Productores de Hortalizas has served vegetable growers in Mexico since 1992. The publication provides extensive coverage of the latest in field and greenhouse vegetable production technology, new products, supplier and manufacturer information and reference materials to nearly 10,000 growers, crop advisors and suppliers. Productores de Hortalizas also manages industry-leading events and award programs.

“This recognition is a great incentive for our team to continue being the leaders in agricultural media in Mexico,” said Homero Ontiveros, Publisher of Productores de Hortalizas. “We want to continue providing professional growers with valuable information that will help them be more competitive.”

The Agricultural Journalism Award supports and recognizes the work of specialized media outlets that provide growers with new and reliable information that will help them be more productive, sustainable and competitive. Award winners will attend the World Congress of the International Association of Agricultural Journalists in Argentina where they will receive the CropLife Latin America silver sculpture.

The jury for reviewing and selecting the winning entries consisted of Dr. Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga, CEO of the National Health Service, Food Safety and Quality department (SENASICA), secretary of the Mexican Department of Agriculture (SAGARPA); and Gabriela Estrada Centelles, director of the Bachelor of Journalism and Media Studies at the Institute of Technology and Superior Studies of Monterrey, Mexico City campus.

Top 10 Tips for eMarketers

The future of online marketing is wide open but is undisputed, and enough dust has settled in business-to-business markets to see what really works. Meister Media Worldwide has developed its top 10 emedia tips for B2B marketers interested in crafting highly effective campaigns for horticultural and agricultural markets.

Horticultural and agricultural markets are now online or will be soon.
eMedia has an accessible price point – and a nice ROI.
eMedia and print work well together.
A webinar is a full campaign, not a one-off event… More

Today’s Garden Center Wins 2nd National Award in Three Years

For the second time in three years, Today’s Garden Center earned the American Society of Business Publication Editors’ (ASBPE) national “Multi-Platform Presentation of the Year” honor. Editors Richard Jones, Sara Tambascio and Jennifer Polanz were recognized for the brand’s “Steal This Idea” program.

“Steal This Idea,” a feature that shares successful ideas gleaned from independent garden centers, has grown from a short feature in Today’s Garden Center eNews to a year-round program incorporating the print magazine, webinars and trade shows and conferences across the U.S.

ASBPE’s “Multi-Platform Presentation of the Year” is one of two premier digital content awards, along with “Website of the Year.” Today’s Garden Center also won the award in 2009 and was a runner up in 2010.

Other Meister Media award winners this year at ASBPE:

  • Greenhouse Grower, Today’s Garden Center sister publication, garnered ASBPE’s Silver Award for best “Special Supplement.” Managing editor Kevin Yanik’s “Peat Report” addressed both sides of the controversy surrounding the sustainability of peat moss as a horticultural growing media.
  • Three Meister graphic designers won National AZBEE Design Awards. Brad Kish earned a Silver Award for his work on the “Greenhouse Grower Peat Report Cover,” Patrick Brickman collected a Gold Award for “Today’s Garden Center – Contents Page,” and Tyler Hatch earned a Gold Award for the Computer Generated Front Cover of Cotton International Magazine’s “Meetings of the Minds” Issue. The competition in the latter category alone pitted Cotton International’s cover against 26 other National finalists. Meister Media’s Creative Services design team has been recognized 13 times since 1999 for excellence in print design for business publications.

The ICAC Organizing Committee names Cotton International and Cotton Grower magazines the Official Publications of its 69th Plenary Meeting

The Organizing Committee for one of cotton’s premier annual events has reached an agreement with Meister Media Worldwide that will facilitate the delivery of timely, high-level industry intelligence to cotton professionals around the world. By designating Cotton International and Cotton Grower magazines the official publications of the International Cotton Advisory Committee’s (ICAC) 69th Plenary Meeting (Sept. 20-25 in Lubbock, Texas), the Organizing Committee has enhanced its ability to provide critical industry information through integrated media to all sectors of the cotton industry across the globe.

As part of the agreement, Cotton International magazine will publish a series of pre-event Special Edition e-newsletters investigating key topics from among the Meeting’s major sessions, including interviews with session moderators and panelists. In addition, both Cotton International and Cotton Grower magazines will provide on-site coverage of Plenary Meeting events from the host city of Lubbock, Texas, including video and in-depth reporting on issues driving the revitalization of the global cotton market.

“Meister Media has offered to provide an impressive array of coverage of all aspects of the 69th ICAC Plenary Meeting,” says Dean Ethridge, chair of the ICAC Organizing Committee. “Based on these considerations, the Organizing Committee is pleased to grant them the status of The Official Media Partner of the 69th Plenary Meeting in Lubbock. The Committee understands that their coverage will come under the auspices of both their Cotton International and Cotton Grower magazines. A global outreach is essential for informing about an ICAC Plenary Meeting. We are counting on Meister Media to help provide this outreach.”

“We’re honored to be The Official Media Partner of ICAC’s 69th Plenary Meeting,” says Gary T. Fitzgerald, Meister Media Worldwide CEO. “ICAC is a catalyst not only for collaboration, but for constructive change. This agreement gives our domestic and global audience an insider’s look at that collaborative process, and helps us fulfill our mission of delivering actionable information that allows our readers to operate their businesses more efficiently and profitably.”

Terry Townsend, Executive Director of ICAC, added, “I welcome this coordination between the Organizing Committee and Meister Media, and I appreciate the support of Cotton International and Cotton Grower magazines in helping to raise awareness of issues affecting the world of cotton.”

To learn more about ICAC’s 69th Plenary Meeting, please visit

Cotton industry professionals who want to receive weekly newsletters from Cotton International and Cotton Grower can sign up for a free subscription at

Meister Media Worldwide Launches Events Group

To meet ever-growing market demands as well as complement its strategy of offering readers and clients a complete suite of integrated informational and marketing solutions, Meister Media Worldwide (MMW) announces the creation of the Meister Events Group.

Meister Events will provide logistical, marketing and event management to MMW’s current stable of trade shows, summits and conferences, and work to develop new in-person opportunities across the company’s specialty agriculture markets. The group will accelerate the blending of MMW’s live-events with print and eMedia offerings to provide fully integrated marketing and business-building solutions.

Leading MMW’s event group is Jeff Fenner. Fenner, with 14 years of business-to-business media and event management, has spent the past two years with Meister’s Clear Window integrated solutions group.

MMW’s current event offerings reach thousands of specialty agriculture professionals across the globe and serve as a source for unique content for the markets served. Key offerings include the 2010 Florida Citrus Show and 2010 Florida Ag Expo in the U.S., the International Tomato Congress and International Cucurbit Congress in Mexico and FCI Trade Summits in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

“This is another step in our continued growth as an integrated media company serving these specialty markets around the world,” said Michael DeLuca, president of Meister Media Worldwide. “Even as our eMedia capabilities grow, the need for face-to-face learning and networking experiences for our reader and clients have met high demand.”