British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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BGAJ eAlert - April 2016

Harvest Service & Luncheon - save the date

The 2016 Harvest Lunch and Service will take place on Thursday, 29 September.

The aim is to make this year's event bigger and better than ever, with the date brought forward to coincide with British Food Fortnight, which runs from September 17 to the start of October.

Doing this shows the Guild working with the wider industry to make our events as timely and relevant as possible. The service will again be held at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, with lunch at Stationers Hall, which is a short walk away in Ave Maria Lane, London.

Guild Council will start planning earlier this year's event with the aim to make tickets available sooner rather than later to Members. For now, though, please save the date 0f Thursday, 29 September, in your diaries.

BGAJ / John Deere Training Award candidates

Publishers, PR agencies and other organisations in the agricultural industry are always on the look-out for newcomers with a talent for writing (see recruitment notices below) and the Guild's training scheme sponsored by John Deere has been hugely successful in attracting individuals with the interest and ability to become journalists or communciation professionals.

So, if any Member or Friend of the Guild knows a youngster who would benefit from the classroom sessions and placement opportunities, point them in the direction of organiser Steve Mitchell before the April 29 applications deadline for this year's award course. Details here.

CPD Courses 2016

Members and Friends of the Guild can renew and update their skills on three new training courses in 2016, in addition to the regular photography workshop.

The course programme was devised by Council member Julie Mate, who oversees the Guild's training and professional development initiatives.

All three writing courses will be run by training consultant, David Mascord, who has more than 20 years’ experience in journalism and editorial training.

For full details, including dates and booking information, click here.

More study travel opportunities

The Guild’s affiliation with the IFAJ and ENAJ continues to produce unique opportunities for organised study travel to foreign shores.

Freelance Gaina Morgan is heading to Turkey in April on a trip organised by the country’s agri journalists organisation as a new member of IFAJ and there are ENAJ ‘low budget’ press trips planned for Bulgaria (in June) and Ireland (to be confirmed) this year.

Another Guild freelance, Caroline Stocks, has won a place at IFAJ Congress 2016 in July as the latest Guild nominee to secure one of 10 places available worldwide through the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders scheme. Caroline will attend a leadership and journalism skills bootcamp before the Congress, with the theme Sustainable Agriculture – Made in Germany gets underway. Go here for Congress details and booking information.

The IFAJ’s Exposure-4-Development programme, which for the past four years has focused on Africa, with Guild members Chris McCullough, Mike Donovan and Liz Wright having visited different countries, turns its attention to China in the second half of September this year. Watch for further details in future eAlerts.

Charitable Trust prize draw

The Charitable Trust set up to help Members young and old when they face a period of financial or other difficulty continues to build its capital reserves but, with investment returns still being at modest levels, the fund could always do with more contributions.

The 200 Club is one way of painlessly supporting the work of the Trustees - who provide practical help as well as cash when appropriate; shares are only £10 a year for a chance to win a cash prize twice a year. In the last draw, announced at the annual meeting, Jane Craigie and John Kenyon each won £50, Louise Impey netted £100 and Teresa Wickham took the top prize of £250!

Read more about the Trust below or visit the web page.

Council members and representatives

Adrian Bell has stepped down from Guild Council after many years service and a great contribution. The Guild wishes to thank Adrian for all his hard work and commitment and wish him every success in his new role as IFAJ Treasurer.

Freelance Member Caroline Stocks was elected to Guild Council at the Guild's annual meeting on 17 March. She was proposed by Johann Tasker and seconded by Olivia Cooper.

Jane Craigie was elected as the Guild's IFAJ Executive Representative.

Peter Hill has been elected as a non-executive Member of Guild Council. Although he has not been on Council for the past year, he has continued to help Council in a myriad of ways, including with the Guild Yearbook and Farming Media Centre.

Guild rules will require that Louise Impey and Julie Mate step down next year, so there will be at least two places available to fill on Council in 2017 

New Members and Friends

To invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild, point them to the website page here, where the benefits are set out and a leaflet is available to download. There is also a link to online membership application and subscription Direct Debit forms. Subscription rates for 2016 are unchanged from last year at £72 for Members and Friends, £36 for Retired Members and Student Friends.

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new Members:

Rebecca Dawes, Communications & Rural Affairs Manager, Scottish Association of Young Farmers' Clubs, Ingliston, Newbridge, Midlothian EH28 8NE. Tel: 07792 467730 Email: rebecca@sayfc.orgWebsite: www. Twitter: @sayfc @rebeccajdawes

Alice Kate Dyer, Reporter/Editor, South-East Farmer, Evegate Publishing Ltd, Spicer House, Lympne Industrial Estate, Lympne, Hythe, Kent CT21 4LR. Tel: 01303 233890. Email: Website: Twitter: @aliceinwellies / @southeastfarmer

Ausra Landey, Marketing Director, Mzuri Ltd, Peopleton, Pershore, Worcs WR10 2BF. Tel: 01905 841123. Email:

...and a new Friend:

Stephanie Belcher, Marketing Executive, Three Counties, Three Counties Showground, Malvern, Worcs WR13 6NW. Tel: 01684 584924 Mobile: 01684 584924 Email: Twitter: @malvernshow

...but we say goodbye to freelance photographer, Jonathan Page, who has stepped down from the Guild.

Jobs & Recruitment

Vacant positions are mentioned in Guild eAlerts as a service to members but a recruitment advertising service is also available to organisations keen to attract talent from among the ranks of the Guild membership involved in journalism and commercial communications. More details about this service are available on the website or can be obtained by contacting Peter Hill.

The agricultural societies' initiative to promote technical advances to farmers in England - Innovation for Agriculture - is recruiting a Communications Officer.

Leominster-based agency Pinstone Communications wants to appoint a PR & Communications Manager to handle campaigns, client relationships and budgets.

A journalist with an interest in mechanisation is being sought by Farmers Weekly to head a three-person team as Machinery & Technology Editor.

Two new staff members are being sought by Briefing Media Agriculture to work across Farmers Guardian and the website - Head of News, Business and Analysis, and aBusiness Analyst to report on agricultural industry business issues and topics.

Find details of all posts here.

Member contacts update

Updates on new job, location and contact details are noted below. Earlier updates can be found in the eAlerts Archive section of the Guild website accessed via the Member Communications tab.

Following her appointment as the new farming editor on The Courier, published in Dundee, Nancy Nicolson has new contact details: write to her at The Courier, D C Thomson & Co Ltd, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL. Tel: 01382 575296 Email: Twitter: @C_NancyNicolson

Members and Friends of the Guild - you can make any changes your contact details and information about any services you provide by updating membership profiles on the Guild website. This will ensure up to date details are displayed on the Farming Media Centre web page and in the next edition of the Yearbook. If you have not previously logged in to the website, follow the instructions available here.

On the Guild website…

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

On the Guild Facebook page....

The Guild Facebook page includes updates and photos of interest to Guild Members, including Guild-related news from other websites. To take a look, visit

BGAJ Charitable Trust

What the trust can do for you – or someone you know

The Guild’s Charitable Trust was set up to help Members of the Guild – of any age – and their partners and families when faced with difficulties or hardship.

The Trustees offer confidential practical support and advice, and have funds available to meet short-term needs (such as urgent utility bills in times of financial difficulty) or to help enhance standards of care and treatment in times of ill health or old age.

Members of the Guild who think the trust could help – or who know of fellow Members who could benefit – should contact the chairman of Trustees, Stephen Howe on 01342 893018 or email.

What you can do for the trust

The financial help that Trustees can offer is determined by annual income from investments, donations and fund-raising initiatives such as the Harvest Lunch prize draw. The 200 Club is an easy and painless way to make an annual donation: shares are just £10 each and subscribers have two chances a year to win up to £250 in cash prizes.

Members and Friends who take part in a charitable fund-raising event – please consider donating some of the funds you raise to your own Charitable Trust; and be sure to let us know what you’re doing so we can encourage support for your efforts from among the Guild membership.

More information on all aspects of the Charitable Trust is available on the Guild website.

News on the Guild website

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 Johann Tasker.


Contact 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 for membership 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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