46 Years At the Keyboard … and Still At It

By John DePutter – January 5, 2022

Four weeks ago – effective December 15, 2021 – I sold DePutter Publishing Ltd to FarmLink Marketing Solutions of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

For me, the sale is a time to reflect.

Back in 1976, while attending Western University in London, I was working as Secretary-Manager of the Middlesex Federation of Agriculture.

If I was going to do a good job, I figured I had better learn to type. So I bought an electric typewriter for the federation, along with a book on learning to ‘touch-type.’

That was the beginning of a long career of agricultural writing.

Shortly after my stint at the federation, I was asked to improve the local farm radio show provided by CFPL Radio in London. I took on the position of broadcasting radio reports, typing out the news and reading it for my farm radio audience.

In those days, farmers wanted to hear market prices and commodity market information. My broadcasts gave them what they wanted. As part of my work, I studied the commodity markets, learned how they functioned and developed industry contacts to call upon for prices and interviews.

Back then, the radio was the primary venue for up-to-the-minute market information – there was no other source. But after a few years, I took my broadcasts private, selling them on a subscription basis. Farmers paid for a “secret hotline,” which allowed them to access taped recordings and a type-written monthly newsletter.

That was the beginning of the Ag-Alert service. It is still the flagship of DePutter Publishing today and will remain a cornerstone of the Ontario component of the FarmLink suite of services.

Lots of hard work.

Over the years, I worked long hours. It was never easy. I missed some big market moves. I called some big moves wrong. I was my own biggest critic and my own harshest judge.

I also made some good calls. Hopefully there are farmers and agri-business people who are wiser for the knowledge and ideas I expressed.

What I learned during the past four decades was that people are, for the most part, forgiving and understanding. Farmers knew then, and realize now, how difficult this job can be. They have been generally accepting of my errors and miss-calls and appreciative of my help in navigating the markets with cautious strategies. Their understanding has meant a great deal to me over the years – and it still does today.

One of the greatest sources of satisfaction has been the trust and support of people who have helped to produce our publications and who have subscribed to our services.

I am grateful for my loyal and skilled staff and the close associates who have worked with me, along with my wonderful and supportive family, who have been along for the (sometimes bumpy) ride.

There are some of you on the recipient list today – farmers and agri-business people from all across Canada – who have been with us since day one. Thank you. I have established personal relationships with many of you, which I greatly value.

In all, it has been a very rewarding business.

And it’s not over yet. Although I have sold my company to FarmLink, I’m not going anywhere.

You’ll keep reading and hearing my ideas. You’ll keep getting the DePutter publications and services, with enhanced support from our new Winnipeg-based colleagues.

My decision to sell to FarmLink was based largely on what I see as two companies becoming stronger as one.

My team and I look forward to serving you during this next chapter.

I am still at the keyboard.


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