News headlines from just one week in August.

News headlines from just one week in August:

• A report from New Jersey’s department of agriculture says the state’s “dairy farmers are in crisis because they are paid significantly less for their milk than it costs them to produce it.”  The department seeks to bring economic stability to its dairy industry, which lost 16% of its milk producers in less than one year.

• Mexico slapped tariffs on U.S. dairy exports because the United States isn’t living up to a NAFTA dispute settlement agreement dealing with trucking issues.

• Umpqua Dairy Products Co., Roseburg, Ore., recalled its fluid milk products and closed a milk-processing facility because Salmonella was found on some of its equipment.

Such was my introduction to the news and issues in the dairy industry, a segment that is as vital to the economic health of our nation as it is to our personal well-being.

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Jim Carper, born in Minnesota, raised in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, 30-year resident of Illinois. Interests include traveling, learning, gardening, cooking, eating, state fairs, fitness and the Big Ten Conference. Last month I became chief editor of Dairy Foods.

I’ve been a magazine editor for 20 years and have written about:

• Energy conservation. Realty managers use building-automation software to control lighting, which accounts for most of the energy used in commercial buildings.

• Focusing on customers. The hospitality industry lives by this. The furniture industry only recently started marketing to women, having “discovered” they make the buying decisions.

• Outsourcing. By subcontracting the construction, home builders can focus on market research in order to design houses with the amenities that buyers want.

• Line extensions. Gift-industry wholesalers build on successful products. If a candle line is popular, potpourri, fragrance diffusers and room sprays won’t be far behind.

• Distribution. Magazine publishers seek alternatives to the U.S. Postal Service. E-newsletters, blogs, websites, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube are changing the game.

No doubt your company is engaged in some of these practices. Care to share?