The Progressive Farmer
The Progressive Farmer is a monthly agricultural magazine published in Birmingham.
The business was founded in 1886 by Leonidas Lafayette Polk and originally took the form of a newspaper distributed across the Southeast from Winston, North Carolina. Clarence Poe took over as editor after Polk's death in 1892, and purchased the publication with three partners in 1903, changing it to a magazine format. The Progressive Farmer had more than 36,000 subscribers by 1908.
During the early 20th century, The Progressive Farmer championed the growing field of agricultural science, especially endorsing the system of land grant colleges across the United States. Before 1911 the magazine was merged with the Southern Farm Gazette, which was published in Starkville, Mississippi. Because the editors planned to publish and distribute regional editions, it was decided to create a centrally-located publishing office in Birmingham, which was less than a day's train trip from both editorial offices.
In 1932 Cully Cobb sold his Atlanta, Georgia-based rival, The Southern Ruralist, to The Progressive Farmer and was brought on as editor of the Georgia-Alabama edition of the combined magazine, which bore the title The Progressive Farmer and Southern Ruralist. He left a year later to accept his appointment by President Franklin Roosevelt to direct the cotton division of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration. The magazine continued to spread across the South and reached 1.3 million subscribers in the 1960s.
Beginning with the October 1963 issue, the magazine's "Progressive Home" section was re-named "Southern Living". The section was split off into a separate magazine, modeled after the established California-based Sunset, with the February 1966 edition.
The Southern Progress Corporation was acquired by Time Inc. for $498 million in 1985. Time-Warner sold the division to the Omaha, Nebraska-based information services company DTN, in 2007. That company is presently owned by the Zürich, Switzerland-based investment group TBG.
- Lauder, Tracy (July 2007) "The Southern Living Solution: How The Progressive Farmer Launched a Magazine and a Legacy." Alabama Review, Vol. 60, No. 3, pp. 186-221