Tempted by a fine selection of traditional English cheeses and canapes of ruby veal from the Guild chairman’s own farm, more than 60 members attended the Guild’s reception on the first day of the Dairy Event & Livestock Show, organised by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF).
“For many years, the Guild reception at the Royal Show was one of the highlights of our social calendar, and since the Royal’s demise we’ve been working to put in place new events where members can meet and socialise,” said Guild Council member and Treasurer, Tim Price. “A reception at the new-look Dairy Event last year was popular with members and so we decided to repeat it.”
This year’s reception, funded again by leading rural insurer NFU Mutual, filled the event’s media centre to bursting point – and also offered a separate forum for the newly-formed under 35s group to meet. Among those present were (pictured from left) new Guild member Gemma Mackenzie, livestock reporter on Farmers Weekly; and from Farmers Guardian, the newly-appointed livestock editor Katie Lomas and deputy editor Vicki Robinson.
Delicious cheese and wine apart, the highlight was the announcement of an addition to the already comprehensive programme of Guild Awards.
The Guild’s Richard Keenan Innovation Award will be presented to the journalist submitting the best article or broadcast on innovative thinking or practices in agriculture.
“I hope this new award will encourage our members to seek out examples of innovative thinking and share them with the industry,” says Guild chairman Adrian Bell. “It will also promote excellence and discipline within agricultural journalism and is another valuable addition to our prestigious awards, all of which help promote and maintain the high professional standards of our members.”
Gerard Keenan (far left), executive chairman of ruminant feed technology specialist Richard Keenan Ltd, is sponsoring the award in memory of his father who founded the company.
“I am really pleased that my father’s name will be associated with the Guild’s Innovation Award for journalism,” says Gerard Keenan. “It’s a very worthy and important initiative from the Guild, as agriculture will be hugely challenged to meet global food needs.
“Innovation, in new collaborative relationships as well as technology, is critical,” he adds. “Journalists have a vital role in fostering this new innovative culture, and I wish the Guild great success with the new award.”
Richard Keenan fostered the company’s reputation for delivering innovation, and was constantly looking to bring new solutions to customers by actively encouraging creativity, innovation and new ideas. He was greatly respected throughout the farming community, and was awarded the Royal Dublin Society Gold Medal in 2002 for his immense contribution to Irish agriculture and industry. He was especially commended for his pioneering courage and resilience in the face of challenge and adversity.
Full details of award entry requirements will be announced in due course, after which Guild members will be able to compete for the £1000 prize fund: £750 to the winner, £250 for the runner-up.
Guild members hear about the new Richard Keenan Innovation Award.