Agricultural journalists from around the world who met in Canada for the IFAJ Congress were treated to a varied programme of visits to farms and other rural enterprises, and plenty of opportunity for networking and socialising.
US journalist Mike Wilson (right), president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (to which all British Guild members are affiliated), praised the Canadian team that pulled the Congress together and highlighted some of the IFAJ initiatives that came to fruition at the event.
These included a professional development seminar for young journalists in the Alltech Young Leaders programme, the presentation of the first IFAJ Yara sustainable agriculture journalism award, and the Pioneer-sponsored Master Class for journalists from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America – part of an outreach effort to link IFAJ with journalists from developing countries.
Individual members of Guilds and press clubs affiliated to the IFAJ were thanked by the Japanese delegation to the congress for donating almost £12,000 to help in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, which hit the city of Sendai where the IFAJ 2007 congress was based.
Mike’s full account of the congress can be read in the latest edition of IFAJ News on the www.ifaj.orgwebsite, where clicking ‘events’ and ‘past congresses’ provides links to a host of images and impressions of the Canadian event.
British Guild member Chris McCullough (right), a journalist on the Northern Ireland newspaper Farm Week, took in three of the congress programme’s tours around various parts of Ontario.
“I went on the Lake Huron tour, which ventured westwards to Grand Bend visiting dairy, beef, arable and fruit farms on the way,” says Chris. “We also visited the famous Jackson Triggs winery on the way to Niagara for the main part of the IFAJ congress, which all in all was very professionally organised – I never had to think where I was supposed to be next.
“Some of the congress presentations were a tad dull but the dairy debate on milk quotas proved lively and passionate,” he adds. “Overall, the congress provided an excellent platform for networking and to meet fellow agricultural journalists who share the same passion for journalism as I do.”
The 2012 congress will be held in Sweden from August 15-19 with the theme Solutions for a green future. The conference centre is 35km west of Stockholm and there will be eight different excursions for the tour days. The post congress visits will take place on Gotland, the biggest island of Sweden, situated in the Baltic Sea. Full details will be available on the IFAJ Congress 2011 website that goes live soon.