The StarLink issue is forcing growers and industry to better define terminology.

The rain of problems and controversy over StarLink has truly turned into a downpour. Almost any newspaper, Web site or magazine has tried to help its readers decipher the situation. Plain and simple, it's been a learning process.

What I, and perhaps others, have learned is to pay careful - and I mean careful - attention to terminology. I've been taken to task, for example, for my use of the term "identity-preserved" (IP) in this column from the November issue.

Truthfully, I probably should have used something less specific when I wrote: "Identifying StarLink corn in taco shells certainly raises a red flag about just how secure the identity-preserved system is here in the U.S."

As I've been told, technically the IP system is not under question and should not be confused or used interchangeably with "corn channeling." IP is a process by which a crop is grown, usually under contract, and handled, processed and delivered under controlled conditions. Normally, the crop carries a premium price and the end user is assured that it has maintained its unique identity from farm gate to end use.

The terminology I used, technically, should have been channeling. Channeling, a term coined by the National Corn Growers Association, is the act of keeping a crop separate after harvest as it's delivered to a specific market or end user.

So, is it Kleenex or tissue? No matter how you slice it, the bigger issue of keeping track of and identifying the origin of your crops will undoubtedly become more important.

New Staffers This month we're introducing two new Iowa staffers to the pages of Soybean Digest. Sherry Collins is the new associate editor and comes originally from a farm at Lu Verne. Stephanie Larson, new editorial assistant, is originally from Cedar Falls.

New SoybeanDigest.com This month we'd also like to invite you to check our new and improved Web site (SoybeanDigest.com). We've joined forces with AgriClick to beef up our presence on the `net. Between the staffs at AgriClick and here at Soybean Digest, look for more news, weather, features and special reports on our site. It's a new project, so please stick with us. Our site will take on a new luster.