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International farm journalists elect new leaders

Published on 31st August 2016

IFAJ Meeting and Delegates Assembly - Bonn July 2016

Representatives from 41 countries elected new leaders to their Presidium at the 60th International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Delegate Assembly in Bonn, Germany.

Owen Roberts becomes the first Canadian in the history of the organization to serve as president, taking over from Markus Rediger of Switzerland who stepped down after completing four very successful years at the helm of IFAJ.

Owen previously held the positions of Secretary General and Vice-president in the Presidium before becoming President.

He is joined by Lena Johansson from Sweden who replaces him as Vice-president, and Steve Werblow from the United States as Secretary General, all for two-year mandates.

Adrian Bell from the United Kingdom continues in his mandate as Treasurer.

Pictured above: The 2016 IFAJ Presidium (from left to right) is Markus Rediger (past President), Owen Roberts (President), Lena Johansson (Vice-President), Steve Werblow (Secretary-General) and Adrian Bell (Treasurer).

Owen Roberts – President

Journalist, columnist and journalism and communications instructor
Director, Research Communications, University of Guelph (Canada).

Owen has served as President of the Eastern Canada Farm Writers' Association, and President of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation. He was also co-chair of the IFAJ Congress hosted by Canada in 2011.

For IFAJ, he has held the positions of Vice-president, Secretary General, Newsletter editor and website developer.

He has advised on education and professional development programs, and represented the Presidium in developing the Young Leaders and Master Class programs, with program design, curriculum and sponsorship.

Lena Johansson – Vice-president

Editor in Chief, Land Lantbruk, LRF Media (Sweden)

Lena has been a board member of the Association for Forestry and Agricultural Journalists (FSLJ) since 1996, and Vice-President of the Swedish guild from 2000 to the present.

For IFAJ, she has been a member of the Executive Committee from 2009 – 2015, and served as chair of the Membership outreach/benefits committee and the Host Country liaison committee, and been a member of the Strategic Planning Committee from 2011 -2012 as well as responsible for the IFAJ Congress held in Sweden in 2012.

Steve Werblow – Secretary General

Freelance writer, photographer and public relations consultant. Contributing editor for The Furrow and Homestead magazines (USA)

Steve has been a member of the American Agricultural Editors Association (AAEA) since 1988, and has served on the AAEA board of directors and the AAEA Professional Improvement Foundation board.

He has chaired AAEA’s International and Future Agricultural Communicators committees, and participated in a wide range of others. Steve also served as Program Co-Chair for several Agricultural Media Summits and served on the planning committees for IFAJ Congresses in the USA and Scotland.

Steve’s first IFAJ Congress was in Austria and Slovenia in 2008. Since then, he served on the IFAJ Executive for three years.

He chaired the Sponsorship and Finance committee and helped organize workshops for the Executive on sponsorship and new executives, assisted in revising the constitution, led a journalism session at last year’s Boot Camp and is a member of the newly re-started Freedom of the Press committee.

Award winners 2016 IFAJ

Star prize for Print, sponsored by John Deere

Winner: Laura Rance, Winnipeg Free Press, Canada, for her feature Africa’s Hunger Games

Runner-up: Matthew Cawood, Good Land Project, Australia for his feature Simplifying towards complexity.

DeLaval Star Prize for Photography

Click the link above to see the winning images.

Production Category:

- Winner: Carolina Wahlberg of Sweden

- Distinguished Recognition: Juergen Schmuecking of Austria

People Category:

- Winner: Todd Klassy of the United States

- Distinguished Recognition: Matt Turner of Australia

Nature/Landscape Category:

- Winner: Marcello Garbagnoli of Great Britain

- Distinguished Recognition: H. Dietrich Habbe of Germany

People’s Choice Award:

- Winner: Chris McCullough of Ireland

Star Prize for broadcast

Irish journalists won the majority of prizes in the IFAJ Star Prize for broadcasting contest.

Peter Varley from Ireland, Damien O’Reilly from Ireland and Prue Adams from Australia were the first prize winners of the contest 2016. They were announced in the congress of International Federation of Agricultural Journalists in Bonn, Germany.

Online category - the IFAJ-Rabobank Digital Media Award:

Peter Varley from Ireland won the first place with his story “Watch: Mating precision as 500 ewes serviced in Kilkenny”, which was published by Irish Farmers Journal website in October 2015.

Judges described it as an excellent example of sophisticated story telling in the digital medium, which produces a rich experience for audience.

Second prize went to Thomas Hubert from Ireland for the story “Irish turbine blowing energy into French farm”, which was published in Irish Farmers Journal in October 2015.

Radio category:

The first prize winner went to Damien O’Reilly from Ireland with his story ‘Gay Sheep Farmers’. This radio report featured on RTE's Radio 1 farming programme Countrywide.

Susan Murray from New Zealand won the second prize with her story “Housing vs Horticulture” which was RNZ Country Life.

Television/Video category:

First place went to Prue Adams from Australia for his program of Q-fever on ABC Landline. The judges described it as “a cracking good human interest story which was well told with a compelling interviewee.”

Second place in this category went to Helen Carrol and Paula Williams from Ireland with their story Rural crime on Ear to the Ground- RTÉ One.

IFAJ/FAO Prize for excellence in Global Food Security Reporting

Laura Rance of Canada won of the first IFAJ-FAO Award for Excellence in Global Food Security Reporting.

Rance’s article, “Africa’s hunger games” was published in the Winnipeg (Canada) Free Press on April 11, 2015. The article addresses the technical, economic and social issues related to this year’s contest theme, soil degradation, in a concise and appealing manner.

The IFAJ-FAO Award for Excellence in Global Food Security Reporting is sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The winner receives an all expenses paid trip to an IFAJ congress, as well as an FAO project related to the UN's International Years.

Judges were Erwin Northoff, FAO chief of media relations; Jane Rickson, Professor of Soil Erosion and Conservation, Cranfield Soil and Agrifood Institute, Great Britain; and Owen Roberts, Vice-President of IFAJ.

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