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IFAJ Congress 2012

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Peter Hill
01491 824355
Peter Hill

Half a dozen British Guild members took part in the IFAJ Congress 2012, held in Sweden. The event gave them opportunities to learn more about the country's agriculture, food industry and other rural enterprises, and for the journalists among them to report back home on what they discovered.

Aly BalsomU35 member Aly Balsom, deputy livestock editor on Farmers Weekly, won a free place at the congress to attend the IFAJ's Alltech-sponsored Boot Camp professional development programme for young journalists. She regularly reported Swedish farming facts and figures on Twitter and submitted a video report to FWi on how low milk prices are affecting dairy farmers in Sweden.

For the benefit of those who do not subscribe to Twitter, Aly's tweets are reproduced below, starting at the bottom as she waits at Heathrow for her flight to Stockholm.

“The IFAJ Congress was great – very enjoyable and I learnt a lot!,” she says. “Having started my journalism career from within the agricultural industry, rather than as a journalism graduate, being picked as an Alltech Young Leader provided me with an excellent opportunity to hone my journalism skills.

“The Young Leaders programme was a great chance to gain an understanding of how journalists from around the world are tackling different topics. The range of countries represented in the Boot Camp and Alltech Young Leaders groups was hugely varied and really opened my eyes to the challenges faced by other countries.

“Speaking to journalists from African countries was fascinating and taught us all how less developed countries are getting messages out to farmers - often in very isolated places.

“I also made some great contacts, and I hope to work with several journalists in the future to swap articles and commission copy for Farmers Weekly and Dairy Update.”

“I would strongly encourage U35 members of the Guild to apply for the Young Leaders Award for the 2013 Congress in Argentina. I was hugely impressed by the organisation of the congress and the great atmosphere among delegates.

“The Boot Camp programme provides a great opportunity to debate topical issues, develop your journalism skills and hear from a wide range of experts from within the field.”

Team GB at IFAJ 2012 Congress

Team GB at the IFAJ 2012 congress (from left): Jane Craigie, Tim Price, Ali Lea, Joe Watson, Howard Venters, Lizzie and Adrian Bell. U35 member Aly Balsom was elsewhere at the time.

Guild treasurer and NFU Mutual communications executive Tim Price, pictured below on a farm producing milk and cheese from a large herd of goats running loose in the woods, thoroughly enjoyed his first experience of an IFAJ Congress.

"I didn't know what to expect but it was a great opportunity to meet fellow journalists and communicators from all over the world in a very relaxed atmosphere," he says. "I've come back with some excellent contacts, new friends and fresh ideas.

Tim Price

Use the following links to get a flavour of the event from fellow journalists and communicators around the World:

Holly Spangler, Prairie Farmer, USA

Caitlin Gribbin, ABC Rural, Australia

AgWired, USA - interview with DeLaval CEO

AgWired, USA - IFAJ Master Class

AgWired, USA - IFAJ Boot Camp for Young Leaders

AgWired, USA - Wine making in Sweden

AgWired, USA - Organic pig farming

AgWired, USA - Beef production - Stenhammer estate

Press & Journal, UK - Swedes hail pig subsidy scheme

IFAJ website - reports and pictures

IFAJ Congress 2012 - reports and pictures

IFAJ Congress 2012

Jane Craigie (front row, fourth from left) opted for the 'meat tour', one of several optional visit programmes to farms and other rural businesses. The group visited the Stenhammer Estate south west of Stockholm, where they were joined for lunch by the Swedish rural affairs minister.

Aly Balsom's IFAJ Congress Tweets

AB tweets

AB tweets

AB tweets

AB tweets

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