Agriculture student Louise Hartley from Clitheroe in Lancashire won the training scheme award in 2012.
Published on the Farmers Guardian website, Louise’s winning article was about the dairy prices crisis that hit the industry.
Students on the course had lectures and practical exercises at John Deere’s base in Nottinghamshire before heading out to various publications for work experience.
They included (pictured left to right) Dominic Kirby, Adrian Hayler (BGAJ Friend), David Acock, Pippa Harper, Becky Hand, Jez Fredenburgh, Eamon Rendall, David Boyd, Louise Hartley, Rebecca Veale, Amy Robinson, Emily White and Sophie Cawley.
Louise’s article generated a lot of debate among readers, says FG news editor Ben Briggs: “Louise showed great journalistic nous to inform me about this story and it really added to FG’s coverage of the unfolding saga,” he says.
Guild council member and the Press & Journal’s agriculture editor Joe Watson, who judged the entries with specialist training consultant and main course lecturer David Mascord, concluded it was “an excellent read” as well as being “to the point, straight talking and tight”, and containing good quotes.
Both judges agreed that the winning and runner-up stories were stand-out entries. RAC graduate Dominic Kirby from Northamptonshire penned the second-placed news story on the threat to the British pig industry posed by spiralling costs of production.
This piece, which Joe Watson describes as “a well written and informative story that explained what the problems are and had good quotes in it”, was published in Farmers Weekly, where Dominic spent the work experience placement part of the course, following lectures and practical exercises at John Deere’s base in Nottinghamshire.
Dominic has also contributed to Three Counties Farmer, written a blog for the FWi website and completed further work experience at The Field, The Garden and The Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard.
Louise, who received her winner’s cheque for £250, a framed certificate and the John Deere trophy from John Deere marketing manager Gordon Day at the Guild’s Harvest Lunch, spent most of the summer on work experience with Farmers Guardian and has written articles for Cow Management magazine.
Ben Briggs says: “She has an excellent writing style and an ear for great quotes, which are two of the main attributes I look for in journalists, be they starting out in the industry or more established.
“Just as important are her tenacity in seeking out news and her willingness to deal with people at any level in the industry, be they union leaders, politicians or grassroots farmers. Louise’s winning article showed her strengths as a reporter – precisely the ones we valued during her time here at FG.”
Ten students joined the course, with practical work experience provided by Amateur Gardening, British Farmer & Grower, The Dundee Courier, Farmers Guardian, Farmers Weekly, Farming Life, 5M Publishing, The Garden and Horticulture Week.
Louise commented after her placement: “The course has been invaluable, not only in providing technical skills, but also in meeting other young people from across the country who are in interested in the same career as myself.”
Training scheme award winner Louise Hartley and runner-up Dominic Kirby received their prizes from Gordon Day, marketing manager at John Deere Ltd.