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BGAJ eAlert - August 2013

Make a reservation

A rapid uptake of reservations for the universally popular Harvest Lunch on Thursday, October 10means that currently there are just a dozen tickets remaining before the 200+ places are sold out. Contact Guild secretary Nikki Robertson to make a reservation.

“A few more tickets may become available depending on how many of our allocation for the event's sponsors is taken up,” says organiser, Guild vice-chairman Howard Venters. “But the message is clear: put your name down now to secure a place at this wonderful event so we can do our best to accommodate every Member or Friend of the Guild who would like to be there.”

The challenge of putting together the Guild Harvest Service, which precedes the luncheon at St Brides Church starting promptly at 11am, is to make it better each year: "We like to be imaginative," says Howard, who shapes the service with James Irving, manager of St Brides. "This year, we have again amalgamated traditional aspects of the service with more contemporary music and hope Guild members continue to enjoy it."

James Irving adds: "In previous years, it was a disappointing that the service only attracted a relatively small number compared to the lunch; but now we are close to capacity at the church."

The service is worth attending if only to hear the wonderful choir, which Shepherd Publishing sponsors for the Guild. Following last year’s event, a senior member, soprano Claire Seaton, was invited to sing at the Ceremony of the Christmas Cheeses at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. She can be contacted direct by email for other events.

“Claire’s unaccompanied solo rendition of the traditional folk song Parting Glass has become a wonderful way to bring the Harvest Lunch to a close,” says Howard.

Ticket prices are: Members and Friends £55; guests £70 for a drinks reception (sponsored by Keenan) and a Best of British five-course luncheon including wine using ingredients provided by Waitrose and individual British growers. The magnificant venue - Stationers' Hall - comes courtesy of event sponsor Lloyds TSB Agriculture.

There will be an après gathering once more, this time at the Press House wine bar immediately below St Brides.

Call for Charitable Trust draw prizes

Trustees are finalising details of the fund-raising draw that plays such an important part in raising capital for the Guild’s Charitable Trust. The interest accrued from investments is used in addition to Trustees’ time to support Guild members and their families when facing difficult times of one sort or another.

“To help achieve a sell-out draw before and during the Harvest Lunch we need an attractive selection of prizes,” says Stephen Howe, chairman of Trustees, pictured with fellow Trustee Denis Chamberlain taking auction bids. “Items that are easily carried home after the event are preferable – so generous vouchers to spend in specialist or high street shops are always especially popular.”

Contact Charitable Trust draw prize coordinator Tony Collier with offers or to ask for suggestions: prizes in previous years have included a day for two at the Goodwood Festival of Speed; two nights at The Farmers Club; John Lewis £100 vouchers; National Trust membership; a pair of theatre tickets; vouchers for a selection of rose plants; and a picnic hamper. Tickets will be distributed in September for the Harvest Lunch draw.

Writing workshop

There are just a couple of places to fill on the Guild’s feature writing workshop on Wednesday, September 4 organised by the Midlands branch. It’s aimed at writers with some experience who want to improve and develop their skills in writing for the agricultural press.

Guild Members all of a Twitter

Several Members of the Guild are taking part in the first AgriChatUK panel discussion. Arranged by Guild chairman Jane Craigie and AgriChatUK co-founder Simon Haley, a Friend of the Guild, the event on Thursday, August 29 from 8-10pm will encourage Twitter users to ask questions about the role of agricultural journalists and media. More details here; do watch or join in the discussion for a new online experience!

Perkins Award presentation

The Guild’s Perkins Power on the Farm Award results were announced following an enjoyable tour of the sights of London and lunch at the May Fair hotel off Piccadily. To find out who won and why, visit the Perkins award page of the website.

Livestock photography presentation

The results of the Livestock category photography award were announced at the Guild’s reception during the Royal Welsh Show. The names of the winning and runner-up images are revealed here - scroll down beyond the Arable category. The winning Livestock and Arable images will now be judged for the President's trophy, donated by former Guild president, Margaret, the Countess of Mar.

Guild / BSH bursary awarded

Congratulations to Sara Gregson, winner of the Guild’s inaugural British Seed Houses study bursary. Sara is using her £1500 to visit Tasmania to meet scientists, researchers, advisers and farmers during an organised tour before attending and speaking at the International Grassland Congress in Sydney, Australia in September, which is being part funded by the British Grassland Society and Sara herself.

She points out that Tasmania is very similar to the UK in terms of climate and that 90% of the farms there are grassland. She will be collecting information for articles on 'Forage for Sustainable Livestock Farming' for the UK farming press, including Grass & Forage Farmer, and will be Tweeting and blogging at TalkingGrass about the experience.

Award deadlines approaching

Entries for the three categories that make up the Guild’s Yara Journalism Awards must be in by Friday next week – August 30 – to have a chance of winning a £1000 prize and a seat at the Guild’s annual harvest lunch on October 10. Details here.

A day later – Saturday, August 31 –is the deadline for Netherthorpe Awrdnominations. This most prestigious of the Guild’s awards, for the agricultural communicator of the year, is selected solely from the arguments put forward by Members nominating those who they believe have made a significant and sustained contribution to agricultural communications through journalism. Download the nominations form here.

The Under 35s contest to win a place at the European Commission’s DG Agri annual networking event in Brussels requires a published or unpublished article involving farmer interviews on 'European agriculture' and must be submitted by the Friday, September 20 deadline. Details here.


See a website report and pictures from the popular Guild reception at the Livestock Event.

RASE study visit

Charlotte Johnston, livestock technical specialist at the Royal Agricultural Society of England, would like to hear from fellow Members of the Guild who would join her on a proposed visit to Sweden to look at thermal imaging technology being used to detect mastitis at an early stage. The proposed dates are October 22-24 to see the Agricam CaDDi installed on a dairy farm where mastitis cases have been cut, and to visit Elmia Agriculture, Livestock & Technology, Sweden’s principal agricultural event. Participants will fund the costs of the trip (just nine places are available), which is part of the RASE’s work on Precision Livestock Farming. Contact Charlotte by email.

Kart racing

The RABI’s Milly Wastie, a Friend of the Guild, invites entries to the Northamptonshire RABI karting event on the evening of Tuesday, September 24 at Whilton Mill near Daventry. Up to 20 teams of four drivers will compete in the two-hour endurance race on a full-size karting circuit.  Anyone interested in forming a team to race in Guild colours?

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.

The publisher of Classic Tractor and Earthmovers magazines wants to recruit a journalist with a background in machinery journalism. The new role will support the development of Sundial Magazines' off-highway machinery portfolio.

Year Book updates

Update the Guild Year Book with the new job, location and contact details noted here, as well as any new member listings below. Earlier updates can be found in the eAlerts Archive section of the Guild website.

Freelance Sarah Lewis has a new email address ( and so has account manager Natalie Yeatman-Reed (

Shepherd Publishing has a new postal address having moved from its Malvern base: Burnt House Garden, North Common, North Chailey, East Sussex BN8 4DJ. All other contact details remain as in the Year Book.

Former DairyCo communications executive Helen Fina has stepped down from the Guild having moved outside agriculture. Likewise, Nurinder Mantell, former HGCA communications executive, who now works for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

New Members and Friends

People involved in the agricultural industry who would like to establish or maintain links with the Guild and its Members but who do not qualify for membership themselves 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…..

Oliver Franzen, Communications Executive, Anglia Farmers Ltd, Honingham Thorpe, Colton, Norwich NR9 5BZ. Tel: 01603 881838 Mobile: 07557 260047 Email:

Bridget Johnson, PR Executive, Bidwells, Bidwell House, Trumpington Road, Cambridge CB2 9LD. Tel: 01223 841841 Mobile: 07921309816 Email:

Hayley Mace, Publications Editor, Anglia Farmers Ltd, Honingham Thorpe, Colton, Norwich NR9 5BZ. Tel: 01603 881827 Mobile: 07918 907472 Email:

…and also a new Friend of the Guild:

Jill Willows, The Mews, Newhall Grange, Maltby, Rotherham, South Yorks S66 8PT. Tel: 01709 542254 Mobile: 07860 503342 Email:

In News on the Guild website

Changes at Shepherd Publishing

Second Africa tour for Chris McCullough

Liz Wright's African win

Members of the Guild on Twitter panel

Ieuan Evans

New Friend: Jill Willows

New Member: Hayley Mace

Helen Brothwell leading Midlands initiatives

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 for membership

Notify that you are resigning from the Guild


Johann Tasker

01206 263807


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