WATCH LIVE

A Look into the Farmer’s Almanac 

Todd Simcox

”The Farmers’ Almanac itself was started in Morristown, New Jersey back in 1818.”More than 190 years later, the Farmers’ Almanac is still going strong. Ray Geiger, who was running his own company at the time, took over as editor of the Farmers’ Almanac in the mid-1930s and after editing 20 editions, decided to pack up and move north to Maine.”So my father came along and just absolutely fell in love with Maine and with Lewiston and became a very passionate person about the community he lived in and when we brought the company into Maine, we were probably a struggling company at the time but over the years, we’ve grown.”And grown they have, from a circulation of approximately 86,000 back in the 1930s to about 3.5 million today… some are given away by businesses… others are sold in stores. Editor Peter Geiger says it’s a small but dedicated group that puts together each annual edition, averaging 200 pages.”We are a small and humble group of about 5 people. And Sandy Duncan my managing editor, Dick Plourde the graphic designer, Jaime one of my writers and there’s myself. Then there is the physical process of putting it together and printing it but in terms of editorial content there are 5 people who work on it throughout the year and capture what’s important and put it into the book.”They’re always working a year in advance for next year’s edition…so how do they decide what content will be relevant for the coming year?”Well it’s a process. First of all when you’ve been in business doing the same thing for 193 years, you have people always sending you information and advice on what they’d like to see in the publication. I have an advisory council of about 700 people that give me advice on what they’d like the see in the publication.”No matter what decisions they make… there’s always a basic theme to the Farmers Almanac.”I’ve always wanted a publication that is good for the entire family, all members of the family. I really want it to be something everyone can read. I want teachers to be able to use it in their classrooms and so that’s sort of my grading point. It’s got to be for everybody.”With families in mind… almanacs have been known as guides to good living, giving us ideas on how to do things and do them well, and making life easier for yourself and those around you.”The Almanac is really a guide to good living for no matter what you do whether its foliage watching, whether its looking for the first date or whether its planning a vacation then the almanac does offer some great insights. But more importantly, nowadays, I think we have some tremendous ideas on how to be frugal and how to stretch dollars and to do it in ways that are meaningful for people so I think the almanac is a lot of things.”The Farmers’ Almanac may be better known for its weather forecasts, which only account for about 10 percent of the publication. A small part? Yes, but it plays a large role in the lives of their loyal audience. The Farmers’ Almanac prides itself on its roughly 80 percent accuracy rating.”It is what it is and people do enjoy it. People plan their lives by the almanac for a variety of reasons whether its best days or planting information. And they depend on the almanac for weather and they might go buy a snowblower if we’re calling for heavy snow. And that’s what we’re about.”