After a very short notice invitation from the European Commission, freelance Andrew Arbuckle was the Guild’s nominated participant on an agricultural study visit to Poland, the country that holds the Presidency of the European Union. Pictured above (right) listening to horticultural grower Jan Klak at a unit near Poznan, Andrew joined other European farm journalists to see aspects of Polish agriculture first hand and visit Agroshow, the country’s main agricultural event.
The invitation from Ingrid Brownrigg of the commission’s agricultural directorate communications team was issued through the Guild’s IFAJ representative Joe Watson.
“The European Commission is setting up an initiative involving European agricultural journalist Guilds that should result in more trips of this nature,” says Joe. “There will also hopefully be far more technical briefings involving the relevant commission officials.”
Leading the trip to Poland was British Guild member Roger Waite (pictured in red polo shirt with cabbage grower Roman Rozalski), the spokesman for commissioner Dacian Ciolos and someone who has his finger on the pulse of agricultural policy development.
“The British Guild was asked to nominate a participant but because of the very short notice given there wasn’t time to notify the full Guild membership,” Joe. “The invitation was therefore circulated to editors who I thought would be interested.”
Andrew Arbuckle, agricultural correspondent for The Scotsman, was both interested and available and so took up the opportunity.
“It was definitely a ‘two into one’ trip with a packed programme accomplished within three days,” he says. “But the chance to see some Polish agriculture at the same time as getting the latest thinking on CAP reform (off the record) was not to be missed.”
Andrew (pictured below risking life and limb on a cabbage shredding machine) travelled with journalists from another ten EU member states, who were also told about the EC’s new website bringing together all agricultural news releases and information – see separate News story.
“The farming was good with great landscapes of flat, stone-free ground,” he says. “The talk from the Poles was largely on how they wanted the CAP reform to be ‘fair’ and how they should get a larger share of the support.
“The DG6 staff members were helpful throughout and a great bonus was to travel and talk with fellow journalists,” says Andrew. “Thanks Guild.”
Read Andrew’s article in The Scotsman here.