Planning for the British Guild’s hosting of the IFAJ Congress 2014 has moved up a gear, following the launch of the conference identity and substantial commitment from the first principal sponsors.
Designed and donated by Whisper.pr to portray the essence of the Innovations From A Small Islandtheme, the identity captures the buzz of innovation, the instantaneity of new thinking and – in a fun, playful and eye-catching manner – the essential agricultural element, while underlining the essential ‘Britishness’ of the whole event.
“In 2014, the British Guild will host the IFAJ Congress for a record sixth time – in the year that we celebrate the Guild’s platinum jubilee,” points out Guild chairman Adrian Bell. “We should make the most of this opportunity to showcase British agriculture – and the industry and people behind it – to the rest of the world, through our IFAJ colleagues.
“Our small island possesses a strong history and long tradition of agricultural innovation: our Congress draws inspiration from this rich history, but recognises too that we’re not resting on our laurels. Modern British agriculture has aptitude, creativity and distinction to offer the rest of the world, at a time when the future of agriculture is being seen as not only crucial to economic growth but also, with climate change and food security, irrevocably entwined with the future of the planet itself.
“By 2014, the Government’s new Agri-Tech Strategy will be in place, contributing to growth both here and internationally through the application of agricultural science and technologies.
Scotland, where the Congress will take place, will be in the eyes of the world in September 2014, as it prepares to hold a referendum on its future role in the United Kingdom. It’s also the year of Homecoming, a year-long programme of events to celebrate Scottish food and drink, creativity, culture and heritage. All-in-all, IFAJ 2014 promises to be a Congress like no other.
Five principal sponsorships have been identified, under the expert eye of former Farmers Weekly area sales manager John Connor (right), with machinery maker AGCO – a long-time supporter of the British Guild – being the first to sign up.
“Two other ‘big-name’ sponsors are currently in the wings,” says Guild deputy chairman and congress planner Jane Craigie. “We’re quietly confident that by Christmas we will have a sizeable chunk of sponsorship funds committed.
“That will enable us to start booking venues and undertaking firm commitments for the 2014 event,” she adds. “With more than 200 delegates expected, we’ll be looking to fill hotels and other venues to capacity, so booking early is essential.”
It is this need for early planning that is driving the Congress organising committee to launch an appeal amongst Guild members for assistance. During the event itself, which will also see pre- and post-Congress tours held in London, the Midlands and Wales, ‘Congress Makers’ will be asked to volunteer to help. But, as Jane explains, the COG has an immediate need for those who would like to be involved.
“We’ve split the Congress structure into a number of sub-committees – hospitality, CPD events, tours, and so on – to ensure that everything can be managed without too much of the work falling on the shoulders of the few. Each one of these sub-committees needs a chairman – and that’s who we’re looking to recruit right now.”
Amongst the first to volunteer for these roles are Phil Christopher of Red Rock Publicity (food and hospitality); Helen Brothwell of BPEX (U35s); Farmers Weekly’s Johann Tasker (social media and technology) and freelance Jess Buss (tours).
“But we still need members to step forward for committees such as CPD, promotion, registration and the MasterClass programme,” appeals Jane. “There will be a lot of work involved – we’re not seeking to hide that – but it will also be something that members can be proud to be associated with; there will be a huge buzz from being involved with the planning and running of this Congress.”
A Media Pack giving details of the ways in which organisations can support the Guild in its hosting of the Congress and reap the benefits of publicing their involvement with the 200+ rural jurnalists and broadcasters attending is available here.