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BGAJ Annual General Meeting 2023 – UPDATE

By 10th March 2023July 27th, 2023No Comments

Updated 20/03/2023

The 80th Annual General Meeting of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists will be held online via Zoom on Thursday, March 23 at 10am. Members can receive the Zoom link by registering with Eventbrite here.

The formalities of the annual meeting are a brief but important part of the Guild’s democratic principles, providing opportunities for the elected directors to update members on the financial position of the Guild and initiatives to maintain membership value.

Please note: Only full Members of the Guild may propose, second or vote on any matters put to the meeting. Under Guild rules, associate members (Friends, Student Friends, Retired Members and Honorary Members) do not have a vote but may participate in the meeting.

Any Member unable to attend can nominate a Proxy, whose name must be notified to the secretary before 5pm on Wednesday, March 22, to vote on their behalf.


1. Welcome. Members to elect a chairman for the meeting.

2. Apologies for absence and approval of AGM minutes 2022.

3. Review of events, awards, training and other Guild activities during the previous year – BGAJ Chairman, Johann Tasker.

4. Report on the audited accounts; election of auditor – BGAJ Treasurer, Clive Rainbird.

5. Report on the Guild’s Charitable Trust including a proposal to donate 5% of 2022 member subscriptions (approximately £1,600) to the Charitable Trust funds – BGAJ Treasurer and Trust Liaison, Clive Rainbird.

6. Report on IFAJ international developments, including travel and CPD opportuities – Jane Craigie, IFAJ Executive Council representative.

7. Report on BGAJ forthcoming events – Tom Hunt, Events Secretary.

8. Report on BGAJ awards programme – Olivia Midgley, Awards Secretary.

9. Elections –

Directors – maximum of 11 to serve on the management Council. Directors (with number of meetings attended out of six held): Olivia Cooper 1 (plus 4 as an adviser), Jane Craigie 4, Tom Hunt 6, Olivia Midgley 6, Gaina Morgan 6, Andy Newbold 3, Ben Pike 6 (deputy chairman), Rhian Price 4, Clive Rainbird 4 (treasurer), Caroline Stocks 3, Johann Tasker 5 (chairman), Rosie Williamson 3.

Jane Craigie has resigned as a Director and IFAJ representative after many years of service to the Guild, including her time as Chairman and as a lead organiser of the IFAJ Congress hosted by the BGAJ in Scotland in 2014.

Gaina Morgan Having served as a Director for the past three years, Guild rules require Gaina to stand for re-election for a further two years, which she is willing to do.

Olivia Cooper Since Olivia was appointed by the Directors at a board (Council) meeting, Guild rules require her to stand for election by Members at the AGM.

As the Directors have appointed Olivia to the role of Guild representative on the IFAJ Executive (a director role), they strongly recommend Members cast a vote for her in the election.

There are two vacancies; please vote for no more than two of the following candidates:

  • Phil Case, nominated by Jane Craigie and Adrian Bell

I have been working full-time at Farmers Weekly since 2010 in various positions, from arable reporter, deputy news editor and news editor, to my current role as chief reporter. I also have experience of living in France and Japan where I worked in international teams. The opportunity to become more involved in the BGAJ is both exciting and rewarding. In October 2022, I travelled to Guinea, West Africa, along with a delegation of British journalists led by BGAJ Fellow, Adrian Bell.

The whole experience was hugely enriching, and it has given me an appetite to become more involved in the Guild, both from a personal perspective and also to spread the word to fellow farming journalists about the amazing activities the organisation has to offer and encourage them to take up these opportunities. In June 2015, I joined a BGAJ trip to an EU Informal Council Ministers meeting in Riga, Latvia, which included visits to Latvian farms to find out about their agricultural industry.

If my application were successful, I would be available to attend all meetings and would commit to work closely with the BGAJ team to achieve all its objectives. I also view this opportunity as a stepping-stone to more significant roles within the Guild in the future.

  • Olivia Cooper, nominated by Ruth Wills and Andy Newbold

I thoroughly enjoyed my 7 years on Council but unfortunately Covid stymied my two years as Chair somewhat, leaving some aspirations still undone. I have been determined to push through the new Agri-Influence Forum event and, before that, the Just Farmers media training initiative, working hard to deliver these for members.

Having already taken part in several IFAJ and ENAJ activities, I am now keen to deliver more for our members from an international perspective. Given my breadth of experience, both within the BGAJ and IFAJ, as well as across the agricultural journalism and communications sector, I believe that I can be of genuine use to the IFAJ Executive, the Guild, and our members. I am passionate about the benefits of broadening one’s horizons through travel, CPD, and learning from others, and would be a very strong advocate on the international stage, both for our members and our farmers.

  • Toby Whatley, nominated by Tom Hunt and Olivia Midgley

From my perspective, joining the agricultural media industry relatively recently I have seen a great deal of community within the sector from both main titles and freelancers, with the Guild playing an active role in many events and communication between members. My background is in agricultural engineering having worked in the sector for the last 19 years, initially at a dealership and latterly with several manufacturers. Moving to a different part of the industry, I found the Guild was supportive and welcoming of new members.

I feel I could offer my experience from the engineering aspect of agriculture but also as someone who has not formally trained as a journalist. My role with Agriconnect covers the machinery editorship of the FG, Dairy Farmer and Arable Farming alongside involvement in our technical events, namely LAMMA and Croptec. I have been involved in industry-based bodies in the past and would like the challenge that working with the Guild can offer.

  • Gaina Morgan nominated by Sheila Coleman and seconded by Hannah Park

I’m standing for re-election as a Director of the Guild in order to build on a first term initially rather dominated by Covid-19 restrictions. I have used the Membership Secretary role to successfully encourage new members, especially by indicating the better deal available when placing recruitment advertising, which I also administer.

I also feel it’s important to be inclusive, networking and chatting to those who appear to be on the sidelines and flagging up Guild benefits: eg at the Harvest Service and Lunch and, in particular, with a Japanese journalist; similarly our French speaking colleague from Guinea appreciated my ‘translation service’ during the training session he attended. I am particularly conscious of the need to better engage journalists working in Wales and am in discussion with Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) and Royal Welsh Agricultural Society regarding their team members joining the Guild.

I’d welcome the opportunity to build further on these initiatives.

10. Motions – None received.

11. Questions / Any other Business.