For British Guild members, there couldn’t be a better, more opportune time to participate in the 2019 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress.
It takes place in the United States, the country with whom Britain may (or may not) agree a post-Brexit trade deal: a deal in which agricultural and food products are expected to feature heavily.
Organised by the American Association of Agricultural Editors (AAEA), the IFAJ Congress will give delegates the opportunity to understand the production, priorities and strategies of the world’s second-biggest agricultural producer.
It will also provide the chance to discover the facts behind the stories that have filled UK column inches in recent months, such as chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-injected beef and GM crops.
Carrying the title ‘Global Connections in America’s Heartland’, the city of Minneapolis provides the venue for the 2019 Congress.
Kurt Lawton, chairman of the 2019 Congress committee, says the area’s agriculture – which includes dairy, beef, poultry, pigs, vegetables, corn and soy beans – won’t be the only focus.
“Delegates will also hear from experts on topics such as food quality, water and soil protection, and agricultural trade, while local tours will encompass university research, craft breweries and distilleries, biofuel production, dairy processing and more.
“What’s more, Congress attendees will gain access to a variety of professional development sessions, held in conjunction with the annual Ag Media Summit.
“Ag Media Summit is itself the largest gathering of agricultural writers, editors, photographers, publishers and communications specialists in the US, itself providing a unique networking and development event,” says Kurt.
Topics planned for the 2019 professional development sessions will take in key trends in global agriculture, advice on how to reach non-agricultural audiences, photography and writing workshops, smartphone video, journalism ethics, public relations and a debate on GMOs.
Additional tours to bookend the Congress are also being arranged, including a pre-Congress tour of life in the rural US, staying in family farm homes, and a post-Congress tour to California to experience the state’s crop and livestock diversity.
The Congress runs from July 26-30, 2019, and is open to all BGAJ members. More information will be posted at www.ifaj2019.org.