The 50th edition of the Guild’s Yara-sponsored Agricultural Journalism Awards were celebrated by many past winners attending the Harvest Lunch, a specially-commissioned trophy for each of the 2009 category winners and a generous increase in the prize fund to £3000.
The presentation at the Harvest Lunch, which was also sponsored by Yara to celebrate the occasion, was made all the more special by the attendance of Yara International president and CEO Jørgen Ole Haslestad, as well as Yara UK managing director Tove Andersen and colleagues.
In recognition of her unstinting support of the Guild and its members and enthusiastic promotion of the journalism awards, the announcement was made by Guild chairman Nick Bond of the award of Fellowship status to marketing manager Rosemary Carne.
In the Arable Crops section, a diverse and competitive entry was topped by an article explaining the implications for the continued use of pesticides of the EU’s Water Framework Directive. Written by Teresa Rush, arable editor on Farmers Guardian, the article was described by the judges as “a clear and concise piece that put the implications of this directive into an easily understandable format”.
“This type of legislation can be dense and off-putting for farmers,” one of the judges added. “But Teresa’s article made it accessible, highlighted its implications and encouraged readers to give it serious consideration.”
The winning Grassland/Livestock category article was a topical subject given the wet late spring/early summer weather, which described how tyre choice and inflation pressure management can mitigate the effects of having to run heavy agricultural vehicles on wet ground.
Written by machinery freelance Peter Hill for Irish Farmers Journal, the article was judged to “have widespread relevance for many grassland farmers in the future”.
“This was a very well researched and detailed feature,” said the judges. “It might be new territory for arable farmers but, with changing weather patterns, is something more grassland farmers are going to have to embrace.”
The winner of the Environment/Rural Issues section wrote in The Field about the habitats that dead, rotting trees provide for a number of different species.
The article, by freelance Alison Lea, was described by the judges as compelling, highly original and thought-provoking.
“It expertly explains why rotting and fungi-ridden trees are of vital importance to the regeneration of tree species and to hundreds of invertebrates, birds and mammals,” they added. “Exquisitely researched and beautifully written, it had the power to make The Field’s influential rural readership think again about the importance of the rotten tree.”