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British Guild of Agricultural Journalists AGM

By 15th March 2022July 27th, 2023No Comments

Annual General Meeting


The 79th Annual General Meeting of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists will be held on Thursday, March 24 at 11.45am as part of a Digital Training Day at The Conference Centre, Bragborough Business Centre, Welton Road, Braunston, Northants NN11 7JG.

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

For full details of the Digital Training Day activities and to book tickets go here. Members who just want to attend the AGM are very welcome, but still need to book a free ticket so that numbers are known for catering.

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 at least 48 hours before the meeting, to vote on their behalf.


1. Welcome; call to elect a chairman for the meeting.

2. Apologies for absence and approval of AGM minutes 2021.

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

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

5. Report on the Guild’s Charitable Trust; proposal to donate 5% of 2021 member subscriptions (approx £1640) to the Charitable Trust funds – BGAJ/Trust Liaison, Clive Rainbird.

6. Elections –

President The Baroness Mallalieu QC, nominated by the directors. Ann Mallalieu is a lawyer who lives on a family farm in Somerset. She is a Labour party politician in the House of Lords, where she serves on the Land Use in England and Rural Economy committees, and lists agriculture, animals, food and rural affairs among her policy interests. Baroness Mallalieu is President of the Countryside Alliance.

Honorary Membership – The Baroness Boycott, out-going President, nominated by the directors.

Chairman of Council – Johann Tasker, nominated by the directors. Johann is an experienced agricultural journalist covering industry news and agri-politics as senior reporter on Farmers Weekly and is now Projects & Podcasts editor. He is currently deputy chairman of the Guild, produces the annual Yearbook and has previously held the role of Guild communications secretary.

Directors – maximum of 11 to serve on the management Council. 
Current directors: Olivia Cooper (chairman), Jane Craigie, Hannah Crawford, Tom Hunt, Olivia Midgley, Gaina Morgan, Ben Pike, Rhian Price, Clive Rainbird (treasurer), Liz Snaith, Johann Tasker (deputy chairman).

Having served as a director for the past five years, Guild rules require Liz Snaith to stand down as a director for at least one year. Hannah Crawford has resigned now that she is living and working in Canada. And with a total of seven years serving as a director, including the past two years as Chairman, Olivia Cooper has decided it is time to step down. There are therefore three director vacancies available to fill.

The directors meet either online or in-person at The Farmers Club five times a year to plan and manage all aspects of Guild membership, events, training, awards, communications, international relations, and so on, and may take on specific responsibility for these activities with the support of fellow directors and advisory members of the management council. Travel and other reasonable out of pocket expenses are reimbursed. Read more about the role of Guild directors here or have a conversation with an existing director about the rewards of serving on Council.

Any Member who would like to make a contribution to the Guild by volunteering as a director can stand for election and the following nominations were received by the Monday, March 14 deadline.

Rosie Hopkins (nominated by Catherine Linch and Hannah Lloyd): Since I began my career in communications in 2014 I have always been a part of the Guild and having benefited from a range of opportunities I feel this is now my time to give something back. I am particularly passionate about ensuring the Guild remains accessible to all age groups, especially those who are just starting their careers, and hope that I can bring some fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the Council to make a difference in this area. Likewise, having strong relations with the national press within my current role, building bridges with these contacts with my Guild ‘hat on’ to continue showcasing the great work of the Guild, to a broader audience, is something I would happily help facilitate. Having seen the Guild from a members’ perspective for the last eight years, I am excited to have the opportunity to be an active member of the Council, working with the other directors to plan and execute campaigns that will help develop the Guild and ultimately support an industry that I am so passionate about.

Andy Newbold (nominated by Olivia Cooper and Liz Snaith): Having been a member and supporter of the Guild for over 15 years, I wish to become a director and play a part in the good work the Guild provides to its membership. I can contribute from my experience as a publisher and events manager, but also from experience of operating membership organisations at board level. With fellow BGAJ member Ann Newbold, I run FarmSmart Publishing and FarmSmart Events. Our own titles, which I edit, are Tillage & Soils, Precise, Agrimachinery News, and Cumbria Farm Business. I also edit and contract publish Landwards, the membership magazine of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers. Our events include ScotGrass and Tillage-Live on behalf of the Agricultural Engineers Association and we also run the National Sprayer Demonstration. My experience in governance comes from serving for 18 years on the executive of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers as a director and charity trustee, including two years as President of the organisation which serves some 3000 members. This time has helped me understand the importance of delivering added value to members. I believe that through my experience and wide range of contacts, I can make a significant contribution to the Guild as it seeks to deliver value to its nationwide membership. The son of a Cumbrian farmer, trained at Harper Adams and Aston Universities, I continue my involvement with practical farming with a pedigree flock of Herdwicks and a commercial flock of North Country Mules on our farm in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Caroline Stocks (nominated by Clive Rainbird and Jane Craigie): I’d love to put my name forward to join the Guild’s council at this year’s AGM. Having previously served on the council for four years, I know the important work it does in supporting agricultural journalists across the country, and I’d like to offer my help again. I’ve been an agricultural journalist for over 15 years, starting out at Farmers Weekly before going freelance ten years ago. Since then I’ve written for farming publications around the world, written about agricultural issues for the mainstream press, and provided communications support to a variety of agricultural businesses. I completed a Nuffield Scholarship in 2010 on communication with farmers.

Chaplain – Reverend Geoff Dodgson, Guild member, nominated by the directors.

7. Motions – Members may propose a change to the Guild’s Articles of Association or Byelaws by putting a Motion to the annual meeting for debate and a vote; Motions must be sent to Guild secretary Nikki Robertson on or before Thursday, March 3.

8. Questions / Any other Business.