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Yara Journalism Awards

One of the Guild's longest-serving supporters of agricultural journalism provides a £3000 prize fund for three categories of feature article or broadcast - Arable, Grassland / Livestock and Environment / Rural Affairs. Entries are judged by leading farmers and supply industry figures, as well as the previous year's winners. The Yara awards are presented at the annual harvest lunch.

These awards are no longer run.



Rosie Carne, Yara UK marketing manager, presented the Guild's 2016 Yara Journalism Awards at the Harvest Lunch on behalf of a distinguished judging panel.

From among an entry described as generally of a high standard, the judges of the Arable category - Prof Keith Goulding, Sustainable Soils Research Fellow, Rothamsted; Norfolk farmer Mark Means; and last year’s winner Tom Allen-Stevens - selected two for special mention.

Freelance Lucy de la Pasture entered an article from CPM on ways to safeguard SDHI fungicides that included the views of a good number of expert sources and put this important topic over in an engaging way, they said, while Adam Clarke’s article in Crops on soil test standards was short, clear and well set-out, drawing the reader in with its opening paragraphs and attracting some reaction from the industry.

BGAJ Yara 2016 - Mike Abram

However, they judged an article by Bayer marketing communications manager Mike Abram – submitted to Farmers Weekly in a freelance capacity – as the winner (click on the image to read Mike's article).

BGAJ Yara 2016 - Arable Winner"It contained an extraordinary amount of interesting information about research-led growing of crops without subsidies in Australia and presented the topic through the experience of a progressive grower with a weed problem and diverse rotation," said the judges. "We learn a lot from this clear, short article; it could generate new ideas for UK farmers and opens up the question of what a levy board can do for an advanced arable business.”

The runner-up was Louise Impey’s article in Crops that combined a thorough depth of knowledge with latest findings from leading experts, delivered in a well-structured and well-researched piece that included an excellent case study.

Every entry in the Grassland / Livestock category had something to recommend it, said the judges - Alice Bell, organiser of the Grassland & Muck Event at Grandstand Stoneleigh Events; dairy and beef farmer Philip Halhead; and the 2015 winner Philip Clarke.

The quality of writing displayed by all entrants was impressive and the diversity of subjects covered was as wide as ever, with articles ranging from the farmer/vet relationships and gene editing, to controlled traffic farming and living with bovine TB.

But three features stood out from the crowd and set the judges talking, as they tried to wheedle out an overall winner.

Melanie Jenkins’ freelance piece in Farmers Weekly on how to sell a TB-restricted herd provided producers in a similar situation with all the information they might need, as they weigh up the pros and cons of getting out of dairying. Combined with a poignant case study, it dealt with a difficult subject in a sensitive way.

The entry by Cow Management editor Rachel Porter also impressed - a feature on dairy farmers who have switched to once-a-day milking. The article benefitted from an easy style to explain how and why two producers have taken the foot off the production pedal in search of better margins. The input of a nutritionist enhanced the value of the article.

BGAJ Yara 2016 - Aly Balsom

But the judges chose an article by freelance Aly Balsom in Farmers Weekly as the overall winner as they felt it best combined the three key elements of Readability, Research and Relevance (click on the image to read Aly's article).

BGAJ Yara 2016 - Grassland winnerBody condition scoring of dairy cattle is a sometimes under-ultilised method of managing cow health and performance, but one which can pay rich dividends, both in terms of fertility and feed efficiency.

This article explained how one farmer has invested in a fully automated body scoring system from DeLaval, combining cameras and infrared lights to create a 3D image of each cow’s back at every milking. This produces graphical feedback and colour coded trend reports, taking all the hassle out of manual body condition scoring.

The article also explained the mechanisms behind the technology and the benefits to the farmer, and looked at ongoing research into further possible uses.

The judges said it was a fluent read that used a real farm example to engage the reader and would be sure to encourage other farmers to think about this important aspect of dairy cow management.

In the Environment / Rural Affairs category, which encompasses news and features concerning any agricultural subject related to the environment, rural issues or countryside matters, the judges were Dr Rachel Thorman, Research Scientist in Soils and Nutrients at ADAS Boxworth; Andrew Crossley, Farms Director, Thurlow Estates; and former Farmers Guardian business reporter Joel Durkin, last year’s winner.

BGAJ Yara 2016 - Jez FredenburghThey concluded that freelance Olivia Cooper's series in Farmers Weekly on the often taboo subject of succession was a deserving runner-up. They described it as a well-researched guide that tackled complex subjects head on, using survey results, case studies and the advice of experts to provide a run-down of some of the options for farming families.

However, it was Farmers Weekly deputy business editor Jez Fredenburgh (pictured) who took the prize for an article on Tesco's fictitious farm brands.

The judges decided this represented an original way of illustrating an important subject but one which could have easily turned into a run of the mill sourcing story.

BGAJ Yara 2016 - Environment Winner"The in-store analysis of the foods on display put the issues into context and the structure of the article gave clarity on the situation, prompting the reader to consider their own view of the subject," said the judges.

"The piece was written after speaking to a wide cross section of the food and farming community, illustrating a range of views. The reflection of the advertising expert given in the article gives a more scientific and psychological backing to the arguments put forward throughout the piece."

Overall, the article was considered a quality piece of analysis that worked excellently within the weekly magazine format (click on the image to read Jez's article).


A high standard of entries were received for this year's Yara Awards, judged by farmers and industry specialists invited by Guild member Rosie Carne of Yara UK, as well as the previous years’ winners in each category.

BGAJ Yara 2015 Arable - Tom Allen-Stevens

The winner of the 2015 Yara Arable Award was Tom Allen-Stevens for his article called “Get ready for BPS” for Crop Production Magazine. He is pictured receiving his prize from Rosie Carne with Guild President Lord Curry and Guild deputy chairman Catherine Linch.

Tom's article was published in February 2015 when the Rural Payments Agency still hoped that the new Basic Payment Scheme would be administered on-line.

Judges for the award were Andrew Blake for the Guild, Lincolnshire farmer Christopher Day and NFU arable advisor Guy Gagen, who said Tom's article helped prepare readers for the intended new way of working, and the inevitable hiccups given the background of the RPA’s record in running the Single Farm Payment scheme.

They added that Tom examined a complex subject which would have a direct impact on readers’ businesses, bringing humour to his article with clever opening paragraphs and dividing it into digestible sections, including one on his own experience of the proposed new system.

Arable entries included several interesting and well-written articles examining ways farmers are adapting their management practices to trim costs – and care for the soil.

The judges particularly liked runner-up Adam Clarke’s description for Farmers Weekly of how a Kent grower is using a no-till system to future-proof his business.

BGAJ Yara 2015 Livestock - Philip Clarke

The winner of the 2015 Yara Grassland/Livestock Award was Phil Clarke of Poultry World for his article "How to get a top efficiency score from your broilers".

Judges for the award were Rhian Price for the Guild, Gloucestershire farmer Martin Parkinson and Andersons consultant Graham Redman.

Judges said Phil provided practical tips by drawing in a good mix of industry and farmer comments.

He clearly explained what the Ross 400 club was and the layout of the article made it easy to digest, with good use of boxes and take home messages.

The runner up was Rachel Porter, who wrote an article on how to reduce your herd’s TB ‘risk’.

Judges said Rachel tackled a sensitive subject well. The article was very well written and full of practical advice to help dairy farmers curb the spread of TB.

BGAJ Yara 2015 Environment - Joel Durkin

The winner of the 2015 Yara Environment Award was Joel Durkin for his article in Farmers Guardian called “Volatility: What it means for UK arable markets.”

Judges for award were Johann Tasker for the Guild, Northamptonshire farmer Geoff Phipps and Jim Williams from Suffolk data collection and analysis company Precision Prospecting.

Judges said Joel's series of articles examining the impact of volatility on farm prices were well-presented and clearly written, which helped to explain what is a murky subject very well.

The format using boxes and coloured areas helped readers to focus on key points of the subject, and there was good coverage of the different arable, livestock and dairy sectors, supported by individual farmer case studies and historical pricing data.

Judges particularly liked the campaigning stance adopted towards better pricing instruments that would benefit dairy farmers.

The runner-up was Jez Fredenberg of Farmers Weekly for her article "Weather the Change".

Judges said Jez's article which examined our increasingly unpredictable climate and asked whether UK agriculture is prepared for the road ahead. They said it was a tricky subject to tackle but Jez presented good information well as she examined possible future scenarios.

There was a good visual use of photos and fact boxes which pulled readers into the article.

Overall this was a most enjoyable read, relevant to enterprises of all types and sizes – with good authoritative sources – although it would have benefited from some farmer case studies.


Entries for the Guild's Yara journalism awards presented by managing director Benoit Lamaison, were judged as usual by practising farmers and industry specialists invited by Guild member Rosie Carne of Yara UK, as well as the previous years’ winners in each category.

BGAJ Yara 2014

Andrew Blake (left) and Rhian Price receive their prizes from Yara's Rosie Carne and Benoit Lamaison.

Judges for the Grassland / Livestock award highly commended Sarah Alderton's piece on sheep genomics published in Farmers Weekly.

They said: “Sarah tackled a complicated and revolutionary topic and distilled it down into practical information for farmers.”

BGAJ Yara 2014 - LivestockBut they chose Farmers Weekly's Rhian Price, runner-up in 2013, as the winner for her article describing the way a revival in veal consumption is seeing dairy bull calves pay their way.

Management of dairy bull calves is a hugely relevant topic for all dairy producers, said the judges, who acknowledged that Rhian had created a well-balanced article providing practical take-home messages that also encouraged new thinking around such a hot issue.

“Rhian handled the topic very well, drawing in comments right through the supply chain and showing how changing consumer perception is opening the market for British dairy producers looking for an outlet for their dairy bull calves,” they said. “The article created a very good reader experience with good use of boxes, videos and opinion.”

The judges for the Arable prize said there were several well-written articles in this category but the two that made the judges’ shortlist offered clarity combined with topicality for the readership concerned.  

The runner-up was Adrian Bell who wrote an article for Crops magazine on biopesticides and their potential. He highlighted the industry’s standpoint and explained succinctly the pros and cons of this alternative approach to traditional chemical crop protection.

BGAJ Yara 2014 - ArableHowever, the winner - freelance Andrew Blake - tackled a 'dry' subject with verve and in an engaging style that secured the judges’ interest.

“We’ve all read numerous articles in the farming press about the need to embrace metaldehyde stewardship when controlling slugs, but Andrew took the ‘Get Pelletwise’ campaign to a new level in his article published in CPM magazine, said the judges. “The message to farmers was very clear – ignore this advice at your peril.”

One of the judges added: “Andrew presented the views of people from many different sectors of the industry to press home an important message. I have read articles before and since on this somewhat dull subject, but this one made me sit up and think.”

Another judge said: “It is often a struggle to read long sections of text but Andrew’s writing is grammatically faultless and simply put. The depth of his research came through, particularly in the advice panel. Any repetition there was of that advice, just served to strengthen the message.”

The judges for the Environment category said the top three entries were extraordinarily close, with news and business editor Ben Briggs being placed third for his investigation in Farmers Guardian into the challenges faced by Scotland’s upland farmers.

It was a hugely readable and informative piece of work, said the judges, with the use of a roundtable discussion group adding an interesting element to what was otherwise a well-crafted and fascinating feature.

Another Farmers Guardian article, this one addressing the problem of livestock worrying by dogs, that took the runner-up spot.

BGAJ Yara 2014 - EnviroNews reporter Olivia Midgley tackled an issue that really matters to readers,” said the judges. “She got under the skin of the problem, did huge amounts of research, and conceived a strong campaign that could make a real difference to farmers. This is powerful journalism, delivered in a skilful way.”

The winner of the Environment category, senior news reporter on Farmers WeeklyJohann Tasker (below right), took the prize for his article on the farming community's response to the Somerset floods.

The judges said it was an extremely thoughtful and sensitive response to the plight in which flood-hit farmers across the country found themselves. It communicated key facts and information, featured lots of farmers and gave practical help and advice.

Johann Tasker“Blending a traditional journalistic approach with modern techniques, he created emotive, hard-hitting written material, which was superbly supported with video and Twitter content,” they added.

Read Rhian's winning article here: Part 1

Read Andrew's winning article here: Part 1

Read Johann's winning article here: Part 1  Part 2


Guild member journalists writing for Farmers Weekly swept the board in the Guild’s Yara Journalism Awards for 2013, winning each of the three categories.

As usual, the entries were judged by practising farmers and industry specialists invited by Guild member Rosie Carne of Yara UK, as well as the previous years’ winners in each category.

BGAJ Yara 2013 Aly BalsomFirst to collect her prize from Yara UK managing director Benoit Lamaison at the annual Harvest Lunch, was former staff member now freelance, Aly Balsom, whose article advising prudent use of animal antibiotics caught the judges’ eye: Aly has written an article which dealt with an extremely serious issue, present on every farm, which also has the potential to have a big impact on profitability, they said.

“It was well written by a journalist who clearly had a good understanding of the subject, included excellent and appropriate use of farm detail, a comparison with organic and conventional approaches and excellent use of fact boxes, which meant the message was very clear with good and useful take-home action points.

“Any farmer reading the article, should make more profit if they used some or all of the advice,” added the judges, Steven Gill of Latham Farms, Newark; Helen Mattieu, president of the British Grassland Society who works for Guild award sponsor British Seed Houses; and last year’s winner Emma Penny, editor of Farmers Guardian.

Runner up was Rhian Price, whose article on Johne's disease eradication, also published in Farmers Weekly, was “full of advice and facts, and well written with a natural flow,” said the judges.

BGAJ Yara 2013 Sarah HenlyAn excellent set of entries for the Arable category posed quite a task for the judges – James Walgate of Lincolnshire arable farming business A I Walgate & Son; Richard Quinn, head of Co-Operative Farms; and last year’s winner, freelance Peter Hill.

They highlighted runner-up articles from arable freelance Andrew Blake, who successfully tackled the impact of pesticides withdrawals driven by EU legislation in Arable Farming magazine and a report in Crops magazine by James Andrews modern band-sprayer applications in wide-row crops.

But they felt the winning entry had the edge: Sarah Henly’s Farmers Weekly article that questioned the value of specific weight as a reliable measure of grain quality, and its impact on producer grain prices.

One judge said: “This piece is very informative; it challenges long established grain measurement protocols and offers alternative methods. It also offers some simple practical advice that farmers can take to review their own position and protect themselves as much as possible.” Another noted: “The article explores an important issue in some detail and draws on numerous sources to cover different aspects of the arguments.”

As a piece that resulted in calls for more research funding in this area, the judges considered it an excellent example of the agricultural journalists’ art.

For the Yara Environment category award, Gary Naylor of Worth Farms, Holbeach (a Friend of the Guild through his freelance photography activities); Prof Brian Chambers, Head of Soils & Nutrients at ADAS; and last year winner Olivia Midgley of Farmers Guardian, chose an article by Milly Wastie for the runner-up spot.

BGAJ Yara 2013 Tim RelfMilly is a regional officer for RABI and chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs; her article on the YFC’s campaign to reduce road accidents among young people in rural communities was a well-written and balanced first-hand account of losing a friend in such an accident.

However, it was an article on the same theme that gave Farmers Weekly Farmlife editor, Tim Relf, the win. His touching and well balanced piece was written with compassion and emotional detail as it described the impact on farming parents of the loss of their teenage daughter in a car accident.

“It was a well-crafted story which will no doubt tug on the heartstrings of anyone who reads it and which leaves the reader with an important, lasting message provided through practical tips and advice,” said the judges.

Read Aly's Livestock winning article here

Read Sarah's Arable winning article here

Read Tim's Environment winning article here


Managing director Benoit Lamaison headed a Yara UK team attending the annual Harvest Lunch to celebrate the company’s annual journalism awards.

There was a double win for Farmers Guardian, with editor Emma Penny winning the Grassland category award for an article on bio-energy production, and reporter Olivia Midgley heading the Environment section with a feature on the sale of council-owned farms and smallholdings.

Freelance machinery writer Peter Hill won the Arable category with an article in Farmers Weekly on ISOBUS electronic control systems for tractors and implements.

BGAJ Yara Awards 2012

From left: Rosie Carne, Yara UK marketing manager; Emma Penny, Farmers Guardian; Benoit Lamaison, Yara UK managing director; Olivia Midgly, Farmers Guardian; Peter Hill, machinery freelance. Image: Tom Baker, Cowbell Photography.

The Environment category judges, Phil Jarvis, head of farming at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust; agronomist Dr Ian Richards, who runs the FACTS information service; and last year’s winner, Guild member Peter Hall, farming editor of the Western Morning News, described Olivia’s report as “well researched, clearly explained and to the point, on a topic that is immensely important to the farming community and industry”.

Of Emma’s “well written, informative and timely article” the judges said it held the reader throughout, gave a balanced view from experts and farmers, and showed good use of 'hard data' of benefit to a farming business contemplating investment in generating ‘green’ electricity.

The judges for this category were Chris Baylis, farms manager for Sir Richard Sutton’s Settled Estates in Lincolnshire; David Gardner, CEO of the RASE; and 2011 winner Guild member Sarah Trickett, livestock editor on Farmers Weekly.

The judging panel for the Arable category were Gordon Day, John Deere marketing manager; Scottish Borders farmer Colin McGregor; and last year’s winner Mike Abram, now PR whizz at Bayer CropScience.

They complemented the “chatty Q&A style" used for the winning article, which explored the potential of ISOBUS electronic controls to make life easier and more productive for tractor drivers operating increasingly sophisticated field equipment.

“It made the potentially dry subject engaging and interesting, with information presented in bite-sized chunks making it easier for readers to understand the large amount of information included”.

Read Emma's article here and here

Read Olivia's article here

Read Peter's article here


An article exploring the controversial issue of badgers and their role in the spread of bovine tuberculosis among cattle was one of the winning entries in the Guild's 2011 Yara Journalism Awards, presented at the annual harvest lunch by Benoit Lamaison, managing director of Yara UK. Use the highlighted links to read the winning articles.

GAJ Yara 2011

Winners of the Guild's Yara Journalism Awards 2011: Peter Hall (second from left), Sarah Trickett and Mike Abram with Yara UK marketing manager Rosie Carne (far left) and managing director Benoit Lamaison (far right). Image: Mark Spikings, Breeze & Freeze.

Peter Hall, farming editor on The Western Morning News, covered the debate on whether a cull of badgers is justified in relation to the control of bovine tuberculosis. He also explored the broader and arguably more contentious issue of what to do about a fast-expanding badger population that is protected by law but has no predator control.

The judges for the Environment & Rural Affairs category said: “Peter Hall’s article put political correctness to one side and was a brave, honest assessment of the current situation, which made us all sit up and reassess our view of Mr Brock.”

It was a close result, however, requiring the judges to read the articles and listen to the broadcast recordings several times. In the end, just one point separated the top three entries, so special mention should be given to the runners-up.

Bruce Jobson wrote a thought-provoking piece for The Newcastle Journal on how the needs of modern food production, tourism and caring for the environment can be a difficult balance, while freelance Andrew Watts entered a from Farm Business that explored the financial viability of solar power to the energy market, and whether it offered a favourable annuity for the money as a standalone investment.

The Arable category award was won by Mike Abram, deputy arable editor, for an article published in Crops on original studies undertaken by Farmers Weekly, Savills and Rothamsted Research that throws new light on an important topic for many arable farmers – how to control blackgrass to combat its significant effect on crop yields when many populations are highly resistant to current herbicides.

“The article was very well written and highly relevant," said the judges. “It will provoke plenty of thought among the many farmers who consider cultural control options, like rotational ploughing, delayed drilling and increased spring cropping, too expensive or impractical, and who until now have had little financial information on which to base their judgement.”

Farmers Weekly livestock editor Sarah Trickett gave farmers detailed guidance on how to assess when forage maize is at the perfect stage for harvesting.

“It was a truly excellent article,” said the judges. “Easily readable and containing a series of useful images and tables, as well as an online video, the advice will help farmers exploit this crop’s significant potential to the full.”

Choosing an overall winner was another challenge for the category judges; there was not a weak entry amongst them, with the range of subjects covered – from cow sheds to pig arcs, maize cobs to clover swards - adding to the difficulty.

To tease out the strongest candidate, the judges focused on four key criteria – readability, value to the target audience, evidence of in-depth research and overall impact on the sector.

The judges made special mention of articles from Sarah Gregson (clover management), Claire Powell (sheep breeding) and Aly Balsom (key point indicators) as all three provided detailed, practical advice in an easy-to understand way.


Out of a highly competitive field of entries, articles by Guild members Nancy Nicolson, Robert Harris and Philip Clarke were selected by the judging panels as winners of the Guild’s Yara-sponsored Agricultural Journalism awards for 2010.

  In each case, the awards were judged independently by industry experts and by the previous year’s category winner. The awards were presented by Yara UK managing director Tove Andersen (pictured second from left) and organised by marketing manager and Guild member Rosie Carne (second from right). All images by Steve Mitchell.

Guild Yara award winners 2010

  In the Environment/Rural Affairs category, an article published in Farmers Weekly by freelance Nancy Nicolson captured the seriousness of the drift from the land in the Scottish hills. She highlights the potential impact of de-stocking of these areas, in particular the far-reaching consequences for sheep production and likely social and ecological impacts.

Guild Yara 2010 Nicolson  The judges concluded: “Nancy's article is well constructed, articulate and colourful. Her use of case studies supports and illustrates her subject well with sympathetic yet unsentimental reporting.

  “Her accompanying video on FWi adds further punch, particularly in capturing the mood of quiet despair among the Argyllshire farming community,” they added. “It’s a great story of interest to all who are concerned for the future of Britain’s marginal land.”



Guild Yara 2010 Harris  The winning entry in the Arable category, written by freelance Robert Harris for Crops magazine, stood out for the clear and balanced way in which it guided readers through the political and technical issues relating to tests for mycotoxins in grain. “It was relevant, interesting and well written,” said the judges.

  An article exploring the effectiveness of the NFU’s Dairy Survival Plan and written by Philip Clarke for Farmers Weekly, was judge winner of the Grassland / Livestock category.

It was described by one judge as: “Very well Guild Yara 2010 Clarkeresearched and written in a way that captivated and kept the reader’s attention, with a good balance of factual information and opinion.”

  Another highlighted the analysis – not just reporting of others’ views – that the article contained in setting out how effectively different dairy industry stakeholders had responded to the plan.

  “The article will have made thought-provoking reading for anyone involved in the dairy sector and is a worthy winner,” said the judges.

Read Nancy's article here.

Read Robert's article here.

Read Philip's article here.


The 50th edition of the Guild's Yara-sponsored journalism awards were celebrated by many past winners attending the Harvest Lunch, a specially-commissioned trophy for each of the 2009 category winners and a generous increase in the prize fund to £3000!

The presentation at the Harvest Lunch, which was also sponsored by Yara to celebrate the occasion, was made all the more special by the attendance of Yara International president and CEO Jørgen Ole Haslestad, as well as Yara UK managing director Tove Andersen and colleagues.

In recognition of her unstinting support of the Guild and its members and enthusiastic promotion of the journalism awards, the announcement was made by Guild chairman Nick Bond of the award of Fellowship status to marketing manager Rosemary Carne.

In the Arable Crops section, a diverse and competitive entry was topped by an article explaining the implications for the continued use of pesticides of the EU's Water Framework Directive. Written by Teresa Rush, arable editor on Farmers Guardian, the article was described by the judges as "a clear and concise piece that put the implications of this directive into an easily understandable format".

"This type of legislation can be dense and off-putting for farmers," one of the judges added. "But Teresa's article made it accessible, highlighted its implications and encouraged readers to give it serious consideration."


The winning Grassland/Livestock category article was a topical subject given the wet late spring/early summer weather, which described how tyre choice and inflation pressure management can mitigate the effects of having to run heavy agricultural vehicles on wet ground.

Written by machinery freelance Peter Hill for Irish Farmers Journal, the article was judged to "have widespread relevance for many grassland farmers in the future".

"This was a very well researched and detailed feature," said the judges. "It might be new territory for arable farmers but, with changing weather patterns, is something more grassland farmers are going to have to embrace."

The winner of the Environment/Rural Issues section wrote in The Field about the habitats that dead, rotting trees provide for a number of different species.

The article, by freelance Alison Lea, was described by the judges as compelling, highly original and thought-provoking.

"It expertly explains why rotting and fungi-ridden trees are of vital importance to the regeneration of tree species and to hundreds of invertebrates, birds and mammals," they added. "Exquisitely researched and beautifully written, it had the power to make The Field’s influential rural readership think again about the importance of the rotten tree."




Read Teresa's article here

Read Peter's article here

Read Alison's article here


Journalists on Farmers Guardian scored a double in the Guild's Yara-sponsored journalism awards in 2008, presented by Yara managing director Tove Andersen.

The runner-up in the Environment category was Steaking his claim to great food, a feature by Farmers Weekly's Farmlife editor, Tim Relf, that introduced the Australian TV chef John Torode as the president of the Royal Agricultural Society England.

The judges described it as an exceptionally well-written article: "This witty, entertaining profile gives a great insight into the personality of the man who is making it his priority to communicate what's great about farming to the public and inspire a love of quality food," said the judges.

However, the winning entry was an article by Alistair Driver, political editor on Farmers Guardian, whose three-page report into the effects of bovine tuberculosis highlighted the plight of farmers whose livelihoods are being blighted by the disease.

Alistair's piece detailed the human, animal and environmental cost of a livestock disease that many people, including politicians, would prefer to ignore, noted the judges. They added: "The focus on key farming concerns, the lucid writing style and the empathy with the publication’s target audience make it a more than worthy winner of the Environment section of the Guild’s Yara Awards."

Alistair's article can be read online here.

In the Grassland & Livestock category, the judges were impressed by the runner-up article on Bluetongue by Farmers Weekly livestock editor Jonathan Long, which was described as giving practical advice and a clear appraisal of the wider picture.

But an article on the use of video imaging for animal carcass analysis, by Howard Walsh, Farmers Guardian business editor, was declared the winner.

The judges citation reads: "This was an incredibly thorough story that included a wide range of industry views. It covered all the pros and cons and came to a very balanced conclusion. We were impressed with the way a complex and not particularly glamorous topic was handled and by the way the article kept the reader's interest right the way through."

Read an online version of Howard's article here.

The judges' commented that they were hugely impressed by the standard of entries in this year's Arable category is a great reflection on all Guild members working in this area.

"The quality of writing was excellent, and the articles all made for extremely interesting reading," they said. "But two contributions did stand out."

An article by Tom Allen-Stevens in Farmers Weekly on how individual farmers had pioneered ways to overcome soil-related problems was picked by the judges as the runner-up entry for both the high standard of information provided and the clear way in which it was presented.

However, the winning article, by freelance Peter Hill and published in Crops magazine, summarised the fuel-saving technology shown by tractor and implement manufacturers at this year's Cereals Event.

The judges' citation states: "With fuel prices hitting dizzy heights earlier this summer, the author could not have selected a more topical subject – and one that affects all UK farming businesses, big and small.

"What was particularly impressive was how a vast amount of technical information from a number of different sources was drawn together into a single, easy-to-follow feature."

Read Peter's article from Crops here: Section 1 and Section 2.


Guild members writing for three different national agricultural publications took the top prizes in the Guild's Yara-sponsored Journalist Awards.

They were presented at the Guild’s Harvest Lunch by Tove Andersen, managing director of Yara UK, the fertiliser manufacturer that continues to generously sponsor these high-profile awards and which are enthusiastically administered by marketing services manager Rosie Carne.

Livestock & Grassland
Joanne Pugh, Farmers Guardian livestock editor, took the Livestock & Grassland category award with her article: Grassland management advice helps increase forage intake and efficiency. This describes the benefits to a dairy farmer of getting on-farm advice of managing grass swards from several commercial sources.

The judges said: "it managed to combine technical writing with creative flair and engaged the reader from the beginning. Its style was clear and simple, enabling readers to maximise their knowledge gain from the article."

Joanne Pugh.

Read Joanne's winning article here.

Profi International editor Andrew Faulkner won the Arable category with a detailed analysis of the features and performance of a heavy-duty minimum tillage cultivator. The judges said they were looking for a writer who delivered the three Rs of good agricultural journalism - readability, research and relevance.

"Of the 13 entries, there was one that stood out on all three counts – from the opening sentence, Andrew Faulkner's test on the Gregoire-Besson Discordon cultivator grabbed the reader's attention, then eased the reader along with a pleasing turn of phrase and punchy style of writing."

Andrew Faulkner.

Read Andrew's winning article here.

Environmental & Rural Issues
Mike Stones won this category with his Global Assignment article Riding the rising tide of ethanol published in Farmers Weekly.

According to the judges, this article on the US biofuels industry was "well written, very informative and brought home the key messages of relevance to British farmers today. Indeed, some of the predictions have been borne out by the recent market highs for commodity crops."

Henry Fell's article: A Water Shortage? More than a hosepipe ban, which was published in The Farmers Club Journal, was highly recommended.

Mike Stones.

Read Mike's winning article here.


For the first time in the 47-year history of the Guild's Yara-sponsored Journalist Awards, entrants from the same publication – Farmers Weekly – won all three categories. The awards, administered by Yara UK marketing manager Rosie Carne, were presented by the company's UK managing director Tove Andersen at the Guild's harvest lunch at the Thistle Charing Cross Hotel, London.

Europe editor Philip Clarke won the Arable category for his story on European Union sugar production negotiations, the subsequent deal and its impact on UK growers. The judges described the article as a "well-researched, forward-thinking and valuable piece of writing, giving sugar beet growers a sound insight into the complexities of changes to the EU Sugar Regime and helping them to decide on their future cropping strategies."

Click here to view Philip's winning entry.

Philip Clarke receives his Yara Arable category award from Tove Andersen, managing director of Yara UK.

Livestock editor Jonathan Long won the Livestock & Grassland category for his Vanishing Vets article, about which the judges said: "The impact and influence of this article went beyond readers in its original publication, making headlines in Vet Record. The winning article was based around a survey conducted by the magazine. It was unique and signalled the size of a problem that has hitherto been ignored. This article helped to quantify and pinpoint the reasons behind the exodus of farm vets from the industry."

Click here to view Jonathan's winning article.

Jonathan Long won the Livestock & Grassland category for an article covering the exodus of veterinary surgeons from agriculture.

Farmers Weekly food miles campaign director Julian Gairdner was successful in the Environment & Rural Issues category with his article urging farmers to promote the food they produce. The judges said that of all the articles in this category it had "created the greatest impact, was topical and of interest not just to the farming community but to all consumers."

Julian Gairdner, winner of the Environment & Rural Issues category in the Guild's Yara Journalist Awards.


Andrew Blake's article on one farmer's approach to the Single Payment Scheme in Farmers Weekly earned him first prize in the Yara journalist awards arable section, Nancy Nicolson won the environment/rural issues section with a radio programme on Home Kill in Shetland and Debbie Beaton took the grassland/livestock section with a Farmers Weekly piece on slurry management.

Andrew Blake and Debbie Beaton (both Farmers Weekly) won the arable class and grassland/livestock section, respectively, in the Yara 2005 journalist awards. Photo: Keith Huggett.


An article on Tyrrells Crisps in Farm Life earned freelance David Jones the arable section prize in the Yara journalist awards, Claire Powell's piece on a cattle health scheme on Orkney in the Press & Journal (Aberdeen) won the grassland/livestock section and Debbie Beaton won the environment/rural issues class for an article on farm water resource management published in Farmers Weekly.

Freelance David Jones (right) receives the arable section prize for his Farm Life article from Robin Cattermole, managing director of Yara UK Ltd. Photo: Keith Huggett.

Claire Powell being presented with the Yara grassland/livestock section award by Robin Cattermole, managing director of Yara UK Ltd. Photo: Keith Huggett.

Debbie Beaton (left), pictured with Rosie Carne of Yara, won the environment/rural issues section for an article in Farmers Weekly on water management. Photo: Keith Huggett.


Yara 2002

This year, the Arable category winner, Crops editor Debbie Beaton, entered an article on prospects for biofuel following only a disappointingly small reduction in excise duty. Debbie is pictured above after receiving her prize from Hydro Agri managing director Doug Shaw.

Freelance Claire Powell won the Livestock category for a report from the Orkney islands on beef production and the UK's most northerly EU-approved meat complex, which was published in The Scotsman.

Yara 2003

From left: Mr and Mrs Mansel Raymond, Pembrokeshire farmers; former Hydro PR Jim Whyte; Guild members David Jones (Hydro PR) and 2001 winners Tom Allen-Stevens and Edward Hart; with Rosie Carne of Hydro (centre), with her PA Sandra Cousin seated; Dr and Mrs Ian Richards (seated) and Martyn Hartwell.

Yara 2003

From left: Guild president Tony President and his wife Liz; Rosie Carne; Dr Simon Draper of NIAB and his wife, with Paul Singleton, managing director of Agrovista and his wife seated in front of them; and Guild member Julian Gairdner, deputy editor of Crops.

Yara + CPB Twyford - Gilly Johnson

To mark her 'retirement' from Crops magazine, Gilly Johnson was awarded a commemorative trophy by Rosie Carne of Yara and John Blackman of CPB Tywford for services to agricultural journalism. Also pictured is Crops editor Debbie Beaton.


Yara 2001

Winners of the 2001 Hydro Agri journalism awards (from left) Edward Hart, who took the Environment category for an article on hefted sheep in Country Illustrated; Carol Trewin, whose article on badgers and bovine TB in Western Morning News secured the Livestock and Grassland category; Doug Shaw, managing director of Hydro Agri; and Tom Allen-Stevens, arable category winner for an article in Crops on the first-time submission of IACS claims online.


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