The Joe Watson Legacy Fund is offering two stipends for the IFAJ 2022 Danish Congress.
“The only way you can inform your own opinions and learn, is to see the world through another person’s eyes.”
That’s how Mick Roberts, a past recipient of a bursary from the Joe Watson Legacy Fund, summed up his experiences as a first-time attendee at the 2019 USA Congress. Now, three years since IFAJ Congress was held in Minneapolis, USA, the Joe Watson Legacy Fund is inviting Guild members to follow in his footsteps with one of two stipends for the 2022 Danish Congress, to be held from June 27-July 3.
With a theme of ‘Smarter Farming and Food Production for Green and Sustainable Growth’, the Congress seeks to address how society can balance agricultural productivity, environmental responsibility and consumer expectations. Denmark believes its brand and approach to agriculture is part of the solution.
Frederik Thalbitzer, Chairman of the Danish Association of Agricultural Journalists, says the Danish guild is eager to share its agriculture with IFAJ colleagues.
“You cannot imagine how happy we are to carry out this Congress, which we have worked on since 2016,” he says. “After Covid-19, finally our plans are coming to fruition.
“The Danish food and agricultural cluster has a strong value chain that ranges from primary and processed food production, the food technology and ingredients industries, know-how and research, to the wide range of products available to consumers around the world.”
Danish agriculture is in the world elite regarding seed, pork and dairy production, adds the organising team, and there is a thriving and significant organic farming sector, which is expanding rapidly. The Danish agricultural industry produces enough food to feed its population three times over and almost half of all agricultural exports are sold as high value products.
During the Congress, delegates can choose four of 20 different excursions in which to participate, for an up-close look at the country’s agriculture. Congress-goers will also make new friends and contacts while enjoying a healthy social programme.
“In the evenings I met journalists of all ages and experience, from all over the world,” Mick recalls of his visit to the Minneapolis Congress. “We exchanged ideas, views and argued.
“I also quickly realised there are quite a few IFAJ Congress regulars as I watched colleagues embrace, laugh and catch up on news.”
Joe Watson, the late Press & Journal farming editor, was a self-confessed IFAJ Congress addict. Not only did it provide valuable material to share with his readers, but it also addressed his love of overseas travel and of course the opportunity to meet his wide band of international friends. Joe would be delighted that the legacy from the British Guild’s 2014 Congress, named in his honour, is helping to perpetuate our members’ involvement in Congress.
The fund’s Trustees – Adrian Bell, Louise Impey and Julie Mate – invite applications for the 2022 stipend. There are just two conditions of entry: applicants must be full-time agricultural journalists or communicators (i.e. full members of the BGAJ, not friends, or retired), and they must not have attended any previous IFAJ Congress.
The Fund has two objectives: improving the understanding of agriculture and providing better education for agricultural journalism or communication. Applicants are therefore encouraged to highlight within their written applications how they would gain from participation, both personally and professionally. Entries are especially welcome from the Guild’s U35 membership.
The closing date for entries is midnight on Friday 29 April. Trustees will select up to two successful recipients according to the quality of the application and alignment with the Fund’s charitable objectives. Selected candidates will receive a full registration (including accommodation in a single room, tours, meals and all programming) at the 2022 IFAJ Congress and return economy air travel between London and Billund.