British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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BGAJ eAlert - April 2014

Diary date – Guild Harvest Service & Lunch

The Guild’s popular Harvest Service will held on Wednesday, October 8 this year at St Brides Church, Fleet Street in London, followed by a drinks reception and ‘Best of British’ luncheon at Stationers Hall nearby. Ticket prices for this prestige event (subject to final sponsorship arrangements) will again represent excellent value at just £55 for Members and Friends of the Guild, and £75 for  non-members. Booking details will be announced nearer the time in a dedicated eAlert and in the Dates & Deadlines panel on the Guild website home page.

Deadline extended – IFAJ photography award

Members of the Guild with an eye for a good photograph have until May 7 to enter the IFAJ Star Prize photography award, sponsored by DeLaval. Each category winner receives €500 and there are three subject categories – People, Production and Nature/Landscape. An explanation of the categories and entry details is here.

Marathon run postponed

Sad news from Guild member Jo Palmer; her husband Richard died the morning before their son James was due to run in the London Marathon to raise money for cancer research – see March eAlert in the website archive. He now plans to run the 2015 event in his father’s memory.

Social media skills

Newly elected member of Guild Council, Simon Hayley, is organising his second Twitter in the Farmyard conference on Tuesday, June 3; he promises a full day of social media content and insight specific to rural businesses, with expert speakers, a panel, and breakout workshops. Literature, lunch and coffee breaks are included in the £120 (plus VAT) early-bird booking fee, which rises to £149 after May 14. More details here. Simon is also offering sponsorship opportunities for the event.

Royal Cornwall Show contact

The new media and education manager for the Royal Cornwall Show would like Guild members wanting press releases and other show information, as well as media tickets, to get in touch to ensure he has a full contacts list. Steve Michell can be reached by telephone (01208 817010) or email.

Cereals Event reception – new venue

The Guild’s popular reception for Members and Friends at the Cereals Event will be in a new venue this year – the Inspire Pavilion is a new initiative to help recruit youngsters into all aspects of the agricultural industry. Thanks to Cereals Event organiser Haymarket Events (in particular event marketing manager and recently returned Guild member Sarah Peacocke) the venue has been made available by the Inspire Pavilion sponsors Massey Ferguson, McDonald’s restaurants and agricultural recruitment consultancy De Lacy Executive.

International news

The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) – the worldwide umbrella group for organisations such as the British Guild – is joining forces with the FAO to promote wider global sharing of agricultural information. The partnership aims to enhance knowledge exchange and content publishing related to global hunger and food security, nutrition, sustainable development and the responsible management of fishery and forestry resources, among other issues. It will also highlight FAO’s activities through specialised agricultural media worldwide. Full details here.

Rachel Lovell, a freelance agricultural journalist in south-west England, will represent the Guild during the next facility trip hosted by DG Agri, the European Union department responsible for farming and other rural activities. Rachel, who handles PR for Riverford, the organic delivery box scheme, will travel to Austria mid-May to see conventional and organic farms producing dairy products, fruit and vegetables, and jam from the local Dimdl berries. Contact Rachel direct to commission reports. Guild members who would like to be considered for future facility trips (all expenses paid), as well as similar trips organised by the European Network of Agricultural Journalists (ENAJ) should register with the Guild’s IFAJ and ENAJ representative Adrian Bell.

Help get Essex to Number 1

Essex YFC wants to become a music charts hit to raise awareness of rural isolation and mental health issues in young people. Their ultimate goal  by getting a song to the number one spot in the UK charts during NFYFC annual meeting AGM weekend (May 9-11) in Blackpool. Their song Put that Hoedown can pre-ordered on iTunes for little more than a £1; they need 30,000 sales to have a chance of hitting the Number One spot. See details here.

Jobs & Recruitment

Vacant positions are mentioned in Guild eAlerts as a service to members but a recruitment advertising service is also available to organisations that wish to put full details about a post in front of the Guild's 450+ members involved in journalism and commercial communications. More details about this service are available on the website here.

PR agency Pinstone Communications run by Guild member Catherine Linch is looking for another account manager to join the busy agri-comms team. They are looking for a “driven and ambitious candidate of graduate calibre, with three years-plus experience in a PR or marketing role.” In return, Pinstone offers “an exceptional career opportunity, working from a rural base in north Herefordshire, close to the Shropshire and Worcestershire borders.

A trainee digital journalist is being sought by The Scottish Farmer. The successful candidate will work towards a Diploma in creative and digital media by attending college one day a week while also working as part of the weekly’s editorial team. Closing date Friday, May 2.

Year Book updates

Update the Guild Year Book with the new job, location and contact details noted here, as well as any new Member and Friend listings below. Earlier updates can be found in the eAlerts Archivesection of the Guild website. Remember to send change of job, address, telephone or email details to Guild secretary Nikki Robertson.

Following the untimely passing of Joe Watson, his role as farming editor on the Press & Journal has been taken on temporarily by Gemma Mackenzie who moved to the P&J earlier this year to report on energy issues. She can be reached using either her own ( or the email addresses.

A number of changes at Farmers Weekly are in place for the next eight months as a result of Will Frazer taking a sabbatical to cycle around the World in support of Riding for Rhinos. Livestock editor Sarah Alderton has taken on Will’s role as editorial projects manager working alongside Debbie Beaton on Farmers Weekly Awards and other initiatives; arable editor Richard Allison has moved back to the livestock desk, leaving David Jones in charge of the arable section; and senior reporter Johann Tasker is looking after Crops magazine’s editorial content.

Following his retirement last November from Western Morning NewsPeter Hall can now be reached on his home email address ( or via his 01566 86089 home telephone number.

Book and DVD publisher Roger Smith, a member of the Guild, has retired having sold his Old Pond Publishing business to online and technical publisher 5M. He can now be reached by his personal email address.

Emily White has moved from Rachel Queenborough’s RQB agency in Shropshire to write freelance on technical topics. At Silver Birch Communications she is producing content for websites, newsletters, brochures, emails, press releases and features, specialising in business-to-business communications, particularly (although not exclusively) in agriculture and rural affairs. She can be contacted by mobile 07877 488968 or her email address.

New Members and Friends

Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild can direct them to the Membership Benefits website page here, where a PDF leaflet is available to download. Anyone involved in agriculture who would like to establish or maintain links with the Guild and its Members can become a Friend to receive eAlerts, attend events and be listed in the Year Book.

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new Members…..

Trevor Hayes, Freelance, 7 The Mount, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 7ND. Tel: 01653 692971 Mobile: 07516 997158 Email:

Stefanie Hingley, Marketing and Communications Manager, Plant Impact, Rothamsted, West Common, Harpenden, Herts. Tel: 01582 465541 Mobile: 07717 707665 Email:

Melanie Scott, Freelance, Birtlebog Farm, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire KA25 7LG. Mobile: 07918 591696 Email:

Caitlin Peck, Communications Officer, National Sheep Association, The Sheep Centre, Malvern, Worcs WR13 6PH. Tel: 01684 892661 Mobile:

Also a new Friend of the Guild –

Louise Dalgliesh, Campaign Manager, United Phosphorus Ltd, The Centre, First Floor, Birchwood Park, Warrington, Cheshire WA3 6YN. Mobile: 07584 172970 Email:

On the Guild website….

The Dates & Deadlines panel on the home page gives Guild event details and award application deadlines and access to the full listing of Guild activities through the year.

In News on the Guild website

Will Frazer cycling round the world to highlight rhino plight

Melanie Scott signs up to the Guild

Roger Smith sells Old Pond to 5M

Doug Potts

Philip Bolam

Big data could change role of the farmer, Guild AGM is told

Send in your news

Please send any career news, publication/website launches or redesigns, agency appointments, award wins and campaigns, etc, to website and eAlerts editor Peter Hill.


Contact the Guild secretary, Nikki Robertson, if you wish to:

Apply for Retired Member status to pay the reduced subscription Apply to become a Member of the Guild as a Friend who now qualifies Notify a change of bank details for the subscription Direct Debit Notify a change of home or work postal address, telephone numbers or email address Notify that you are resigning from the Guild


Johann Tasker

01206 263807


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