The 2022 winner of the BGAJ John Deere Training Award has been announced as Ellie Layton, with Millie Cridland receiving a special commendation.
Ellie is a livestock specialist at AgriConnect who writes for both Farmers Guardian and Dairy Farmer. She has completed a Level 3 diploma in agriculture at Walford College in Shropshire.
Ellie’s winning article, titled ‘Agflation locks young farmers out of industry’, talks about how increasing inflation across agriculture is threatening to stop the younger generation of farmers from being able to work in the industry, particularly in the livestock sector.
The judges – journalism lecturer David Mascord and freelance journalist (and Guild member) Tim Relf – felt that Ellie’s story had a strong angle, a logical structure and demonstrated a clear understanding of the needs of its target audience. The story used quotes from a range of interviewees effectively and put statistics to good use.
Ellie received £250 in prize money and a guest ticket to the Guild’s annual Harvest Service & Lunch in London this week.
Millie Cridland has just graduated with a first-class honours degree in agricultural management at the University Centre Somerset. She had already completed her foundation degree in agricultural management and received a grade of distinction.
Her specially commended article, ‘Rising wheat input costs put a strain on UK farmers’, talks about the increasing inflation, particularly in the price of wheat, and how it is putting financial strain on farmers, with market prices not matching input increases.
The judges thought that this was an impressive piece from an entrant with limited experience in journalism. The article provided an easy-to-understand and well-composed overview of current trends in wheat prices and input costs while incorporating quotes from a farmer to add valuable context. Overall, the judges felt Millie showed a great deal of promise.
For receiving this special commendation, Millie won £100 and joined Ellie at the Guild’s Harvest Lunch in London.
Sponsored by John Deere and held at the company’s UK headquarters in Nottinghamshire, the Guild’s training course and award provides opportunities for trainees to progress into agricultural journalism.
Chris Wiltshire, John Deere’s Marketing Manager for the UK and Ireland, said: “The agricultural media plays a huge role in keeping farmers informed and up to date, and we need young, talented journalists to be inspired to follow this career path. At John Deere, we are committed to helping them.
“Huge congratulations to Ellie and Millie – having taken part in this year’s training course I know first hand how tough the competition was.”
The course gives an immersive introduction to the world of journalism and previously has helped to produce some of the leading editors, correspondents and communications leaders working in the industry today.
Anyone interested in attending the course in 2023 should send an enquiry to the Guild’s Deputy Chairman, Ben Pike, on firstname.lastname@example.org.