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BGAJ eAlert - January 2013

Johann Tasker
01206 263807
Johann Tasker

This eAlert will remain available to read in the eAlerts Archive section of the Guild website.


Send them to the Tower!

A presentation by George Freeman MP, government Life Science adviser and one of the architects of Defra’s new agricultural science strategy to be launched this Spring, will be a highlight of the Guild’s national annual meeting on Thursday, March 14. Another will be the official launch to industry leading lights of IFAJ Congress 2014, which we, as Guild Members and Friends, will be hosting in Scotland next year.

And as if all that is not enough, the event will be held in the Tower of London, with lunch included, thanks to generous sponsorship from Massey Ferguson tractors and harvest machinery. After lunch, Guild members can tour the building and its magnificent exhibits for free!

Refreshments will be served ahead of the annual meeting at 10am. Make a note in the diary; booking details for the places available will be issued as soon as the final arrangements are in place.

Subscriptions 2013

A reminder that the annual subscription for Guild Members and Friends will be collected by Direct Debit next week – on or around February 15. Including the annual inflation-related increase, which is just below the 3.2% retail price index figure for October, takes the rate to £68 for 2013. Members who qualify for the retired subscription pay £34.

Virtual meeting

The first virtual meeting of the Guild’s management council was held in January, using GoToMeeting as a trial that was generally considered a success. Five members logged on with webcams and another four dialled in on telephones from as far afield as Aberdeenshire, Lancashire, Gloucestershire and Shropshire. It saved considerable travelling expenses as a result. Some face-to-face meetings will still be held at The Farmers Club in London but it looks as though the online format will be used regularly for Guild Council and IFAJ Congress 2014 planning meetings in future.


‘Early bird’ bookings at discounted rates should soon open for IFAJ Congress 2013 being held in Argentina, September 1-5. The £600 fee for a shared room covers all accommodation, transport and meals from arrival in Buenos Aires until departure. An optional three-day study tour can be added to the trip and there should also be a pre-Congress tour once the booking details have been published on the organiser's website.

To get prepared, see the congress website for more details; and to get a flavour of the Congress experience shared with 200 agri journalists from around the World see the Guild website or talk to the Guild’s IFAJ representative Joe Watson, chairman Adrian Bell or any other Guild member who has been on one.

Congress for free!

Under 35 members of the Guild can win a free place at the Argentine congress and take part in the professional development training course that precedes it. Interested? Read the experiences of Farmers Weekly livestock reporter Aly Balsom when she won one of 10 places available under the IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders Award scheme. Start the application process by the Friday, February 15 deadline.

Improving photography

By popular demand, a one day professional skills development event covering all aspects of photography from settings to composition is being held on Friday, February 22 in the Jersey Pavilion at Stoneleigh Park, Warwicks CV8 2TZ. Organised by the Midlands branch of the Guild, the event is open to all Members and Friends and the £95 fee includes lunch and other refreshments, as well as all course materials.

To find out what participants got out of past courses, see the Guild website. Further details from Midlands Group chair and Council member  Julie Mate – or simply read the information sheet and booking form here.

Meet the Beeb

The Midlands branch has also set up a visit to BBC Bristol, the new home of the broadcaster's food, farming and countryside programming team. The event will be hosted by the BBC rural affairs editor Jeremy Hayes and includes a tour of the recording studios. The Midlands branch annual meeting will be held at 4.45pm followed by the BBC event at 5.45pm. All Guild members are welcome to join this visit but please secure a place by registering with Midlands secretary Liz Snaith beforehand.

Design a logo

Members with artistic abilities who would like to make a contribution to the Guild are asked to come up with ideas for a new logo to help launch a new version of the Farming Media Centre. Built into the main website, this online database of Members’ services, interests and areas of expertise will function in much the same way as the current standalone resource.

But Members will have password access to update their own details, display their contact details if they wish and include a portrait photograph! It will also be extended to include a directory of farming magazines, news websites and regional newspapers with farming content.

Please send any suggestions for a new logo that encapsulates these features and relates the Farming Media Centre to the Guild to website editor Peter Hill as soon as possible.

Regional newspaper award

Details of this year's Stuart Seaton Award for excellence in reporting farming and rural affairs in local and regional newspapers were circulated in an Award eAlert last week. It can be read in the eAlert Archive on the Guild website. Entries need to be in by the Friday, February 22 deadline.

Food writing awards

Guild members who write about food and related topics can enter the awards run by the Guild of Food Writers in the hope of winning a £500 cash prize and engraved glass trophy. There are numerous categories detailed here. Entries must be in by the Wednesday, February 20 deadline.

Jobs & Recruitment

Vacant positions are mentioned in Guild eAlerts as a service to members but a recruitment advertising service is also available to organisations that wish to put full details about a post in front of the Guild's 450 members involved in journalism and commercial communications. More details about this service are available on the website here.

Kent-based publisher Sundial Magazines wants to appoint a journalist to work on the monthly titles Classic Tractor and Earthmovers. The post will involve sub-editing contributed copy and assisting the production process, as well as generating articles from visits to tractor enthusiasts in the case of Classic Tractor magazine, which is edited by Guild member Rory Day. More details here.

The IFAJ (International Federation of Agricultural Journalists) will appoint a new general secretary later this year when Connie Siemes steps down. In addition to administering the IFAJ, the new secretary will also oversee the organisation's strategic global development programme. Details will be published when available.

Year Book updates

Update the Guild Year Book with the new job, location and contact details noted here, as well as any new member listings below. Earlier updates can be found in the eAlerts Archive section of the Guild website.

Guild member Kevin Brewer has moved his Broglio international PR, marketing and journalism agency from Oxford to Liberty House, 222 Regent Street, London W1B 5TR. Tel: 02075 789 338; Fax: 02072 972 100; Email:; Broglio’s Wales office at Gorsgoch in Ceredigion, continues unchanged.

Year Book editors Peter and Wendy Ryder have started work on the 2013/14 edition. Members and Friends of the Guild who are not listed in the current edition can add to their basic contact details by downloading a form here. The same form should be used by Members and Friends whose listing needs to be changed in any way, perhaps with a new email or postal address, telephone number or job.

New Members and Friends

Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild or becoming a Friend can download a 'benefits of membership' leaflet in pdf form here and an application form here. People involved in the agricultural industry who would like to establish or maintain links with the Guild and its Members but who do not qualify for membership themselves can become a Friend to receive eAlerts, attend events and be listed in the Year Book.

Stepping down

The former editor of the Grower magazine, Peter Rogers, has decided to step down from the Guild having been retired for 10 years and now living in Spain. He writes: “Thanks to all those who currently run the Guild, which I was proud to be part of during my years on the Grower.”

Paddy O'Keefe

Guild members who knew Paddy O'Keefe, former editor of the Irish Farmerrs Journal, will be saddened to hear of his death mid-January.

Send in your news.....

Please send any career news, publication/website launches or redesigns, agency appointments, award wins and campaigns, etc, to website and eAlerts editor Peter Hill.

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