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Joe Watson fund offers all-inclusive stipend to IFAJ Congress

By 18th January 2019April 17th, 2024No Comments
InternationalJoe Watson Legacy FundNews

Want to go to IFAJ Congress in the USA? If you’ve never before participated in an IFAJ Congress, here’s your chance – thanks to the Joe Watson Legacy Fund.

Trustees of the fund, established after the 2014 Scottish IFAJ Congress in memory of the late Press & Journal farming editor Joe Watson, have announced that this year’s bursary will fund a stipend (registration and airfare) to attend the 2019 IFAJ Congress in the USA.

“Global Connections in America’s Heartland” takes place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from July 26-31. Promising an insight into one of the most diverse yet nationally significant areas of US agriculture, the Congress is an action-packed, full-on immersion into the country’s agriculture, with the added benefit of meeting agricultural journalists and communicators from the 50 IFAJ member countries.

As well as gaining valuable new knowledge about overseas agriculture, attendees will forge new friends, make new contacts, and take part in professional development activities and seminars. This year’s US Congress has the added attraction of co-location with the Ag Media Summit, the largest gathering of agriculture’s top writers, editors, photographers, publishers and communication specialists in the US.

But at Congress, delegates don’t just work hard, they play hard too. Food and drink stops are just as important in the week’s programme as dairy plants and grain stores – this year is no exception, with visits planned to cheesemakers, wineries and breweries, alongside farm barbeques and sit-down dinners, all of which provide ample time for socialising and discussion.

Participants return from Congress inspired and informed, notebooks brimming with stories. BGAJ members who took part in the 2018 Congress published articles about subjects ranging from Dutch soy production, through land reclamation and vegetable production, to the world’s first floating dairy farm. There’s always something of interest to share with other BGAJ members, as well as the wider UK farming audience.

Joe Watson was a self-confessed IFAJ Congress addict. Attendance fulfilled three of his greatest pleasures: material for his work, overseas travel, and the opportunity to socialise with his wide band of international friends. Joe would be delighted that the British Guild’s Congress legacy, named in his honour, is helping to perpetuate involvement in Congress by British Guild members.

The fund’s Trustees – Adrian Bell, Louise Impey and Julie Mate – invite applications for the 2019 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’s twin objectives are improving the understanding of agriculture, and providing better education for agricultural journalism and communication. Applicants are therefore encouraged to focus their applications on what they would gain from participation, both personally and professionally. Applications are particularly welcome from the Guild’s U35 membership.

Closing date for entries is midnight on Sunday, 17 February 2019.

Trustees will make their selection based on quality of application and alignment with the Fund’s charitable objectives. Trustees will provide the selected candidate with a full registration (including accommodation, tours, meals and all programming) at the 2019 IFAJ Congress, together with return economy air travel between London and Minneapolis.

For any questions about the Fund or this year’s stipend, please contact the chairman of trustees Adrian Bell by emailing

[Photo shows British delegates at the 2018 IFAJ Congress in the Netherlands]