British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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BGAJ eAlert: December 2017

Happy New Year to all Guild Members and Friends

The British Guild of Agricultural Journalists would like to wish a Happy New Year to all Guild Members, Friends, our Sponsors and Supporters.

We have a particularly busy year before us, with the launch of a new website for the Guild due within first two months of 2018. The new website will make it easier to communicate with Members across a range of devices – as well as showcasing the Guild's work.

The 2018 Guild Yearbook will shortly be arriving on Members' doormats – jam-packed with details of forthcoming events, awards and other news alongside the regular listings of Members, agricultural publications and PR companies.

The first few months of 2018 will also see the Guild host a special President's Event – with top speakers and high-profile guests addressing an important farming-related topic in the heart of London.

But first, the year kicks off with two Guild events: Members and Guests are invited to attend the Scottish Agri-Hacks Burns Supper on 27 January at the Ballathie House Hotel, Stanley, Perth. For full details, click here.

We are also pleased to announce a new drinks reception – to be held on 17 January on the frst day of the LAMMA event at the East of England showground, Peterborough. Full details are available here.

India is next Perkins Global Scholarship destination

The Perkins Global Innovation Scholarship supports international travel and professional development opportunities for members of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists.

Perkins Engines Co Ltd has supported annual travel scholarships to study and report on farming innovation in Brazil (2016) and China (2017), giving the winner the opportunity to gain a very good understanding of agriculture in the country they visit and its wider region.

For 2018, the destination is India and we are now looking for applications to travel to this amazing country - the deadline is Friday, January 26.

The award will be worth up to £5,000 towards travel and accommodation and the winner will be expected to join an organised itinerary at the start of the trip with Perkins, but will then be free to undertake their own travel and activities.

For more details, visit the Perkins Global Scholarship web page here.

Membership subscriptions for 2018

At the December meeting of the Guild’s management Council, it was agreed to follow the established formula of linking subscription increases to inflation, which for 2018 results in the Member and Friend annual subscription rising to £75 and to £37.50 for Retired Members and Student Friends.

This follows a modest 50p increase for 2017 and no increase for 2016. The increase this time around will help fund a general increase in administration costs, including the first pay rise in three years for Guild secretary Nikki Robertson, who officially is employed one day a week but invariably puts in more time than that, and increased Council meeting room charges and travel expenses.

Your Council members have also decided to make a regular donation to the Guild’s Charitable Trust, amounting this year to 5% of annual subscription income. The donation made in 2017, based on 2016 figures, totals £1477.

Council members feel it is important that the work of the Trustees in supporting members of all ages who face difficulties of one sort or another should be underpinned by all members of the Guild. While other fund-raising initiatives such as the 200 Club and Harvest Lunch draw make a useful contribution, the regular donation will help ensure the Trust is funded more securely.

Earlier Guild news:

* Agricultural and rural business marketing specialist Jane Craigie Marketing (JCM) has expanded its team with the appointment of two new positions. To read more, click here.

* The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) has opened the application process for the 2018 IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders Award. To read more, click here.

* A day in the life of an agricultural journalist is profiled in the latest issue of The Journalist – the magazine of the National Union of Journalists. To read more, click here.

* Guild Member and agricultural journalist Robert Forster has become the 2017 recipient of the Royal Smithfield Club’s Bicentenary Trophy. To read more, click here.

*          *          *

Charitable Trust prize draw

The 200 Club is a painless way of supporting members who run the Guild's Charitable Trust and take an interest in those who fall into a period of difficulty for one reason or another, as well as providing practical and cash assistance when appropriate.

Shares are only £10 a year for a chance to win a cash prize twice every 12 months and in the draw at this year's Harvest Lunch, retired Fleet Street journalist Godfrey Brown and columnist Bill Howatson each won £25, former agricultural photographer Peter Adams netted £50 and former British Dairying publisher Malcolm Bridges won the £250 top prize.

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors who donated prizes, raffle tickets bought by members, friends and guests both before and during the harvest lunch raised a further £1680.

Read more about the Trust towards the foot of this eAlert or visit the web page.

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 2018 are £75.00 for Members and Friends, £37.50 for Retired Members and Student Friends.

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new Members:

Lauren Dean, News and Business Reporter, Farmers Guardian, Unit 4 Fulwood Park, Caxton Road, Preston, Lancashire PR2 9NZ. Tel: 01772 799520 Mobile: 07946 144523 Email:

Role at Work: I cover countryside and rural affairs with a particular interest in rural crime, farm safety and engaging with the next generation. Why I wanted to join: To access the huge range of opportunities that will help me excel in my career as an agricultural journalist; to benefit from further training, networking and awards; to gather knowledge and expertise from other successful members; and to be part of a Guild community with a united voice to help push such challenging rural issues into the wider media. Nominated by Olivia Midgley

Georgia  Doyle, PR Executive, Kendalls, Rural Innovation Centre, Avenue H, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth , CV8 2LG. Tel: 02476 992360 Email: Website:

Role at Work: I work for a PR and marketing agency specialising in agriculture, rural affairs, food and environment. Key skills include political lobbying, technical writing, social media and media relations. Why I wanted to join: I believe the Guild is a key part of building relationships in the industry. I'm fairly new to the world of agriculture and I'm very keen to expand my knowledge. I recently attended a Guild Midlands AGM and a Q&A on the impact of Brexit on EU and agriculture; I found this day to be incredibly informative and constructive, bringing industry together to discuss agriculture post Brexit. I just want to be a part of this!

Stephen Hall, Production Consultant, Freelance Journalist, Stephen Hall Management, 17 Skoulding Place, Langley's Quay, Halesworth, Suffolk, IP19 8FD. Tel: 01986 874871 Mobile: 07973 701404 Email: Website:

Role at Work: Production consultant, performance data analyst and technical journalist specialising in the pig industry. Why I wanted to join: My work is developing in terms of the journalism and in the wider area of communications; I need to increase my understanding and the Guild is a professional body that will enable me to do that. Nominated by Ashley Fawcett

Janine Hatfield, Communications Manager, Berry Gardens Ltd, Tatlingbury Oast, Five Oak Green Road, Five Oak Green, Tonbridge, Kent TN12 6RG. Tel: 01892 838800 Mobile: 07717 431603 Email: Website:

Role at Work: Promoting Berry Gardens Ltd, the leading marketing desk for a co-operative of soft fruit and cherry growers throughout the UK. Why I wanted to join: To increase my network of journalists within British produce and take advantage of training opportunities the Guild offers. Nominated by Sam Luckin

Emma Heathcote, Beef & Lamb Marcomms Executive, Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2TL. Tel: 024 7647 8636 Mobile: 07976 465591 Email:

Role at Work: Working on technical, farmer-facing content specifically in the beef and lamb sector. Why I wanted to join: To be notified of training opportunities and be part of a network of agricultural journalists. Nominated by Gemma Pamment

Rebecca Kirk, UK & Ireland Marketing Coordinator, Alltech Keenan, Alltech House, Ryhall Road, Stamford, Lincs PE9 1TZ. Mobile: 07712 534855 Email:

Role at Work: Responsible for marketing Keenan in the UK and Ireland. Keenan is a respected leader in ethical and profitable farming solutions, focused on maximising livestock feed efficiency. Why I wanted to join: I am very interested in connecting with like-minded individuals to enhance my knowledge of the agricultural industry. Nominated by Doreen Forsyth

Laura Mushrush, Client Executive, Agribusiness Communications, Mosterley Farm, Cound, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY5 6BH. Tel: 01694 731917 Email:

Role at Work: Bringing the research and benefits of client products/services directly to farmers through press relations. Specialising in beef production, genetics, animal health, forage production and nutrition. Why I wanted to join: To build my professional network within the agricultural journalism and communications community. Nominated by Matt Mellor

Alexandra Robinson, Livestock Specialist, Farmers Guardian, Unit 4 Fulwood Park, Caxton Road, Preston, Lancashire PR2 9NZ. Tel: 01772 799450

Role at Work: Livestock specialist, market prices and trends, show reporting and writing features, technical topics and equestrian. Why I wanted to join: To expand my knowledge and contact base within the field of agricultural journalism. Nominated by Laura Bowyer

John Sleigh, Journalist, 18 Tylers Acre Road, Corstorphine, Edinburgh EH12 7HZ. Tel: 0131 472 4107 Mobile: 07921 863682 Email: Website:

Role at Work: Writing news and articles for the Farmers Journal ScotlandWhy I wanted to join:Keen to learn from other journalists and support the Guild’s good work. Nominated by Liz Snaith

Emma Walker, Beef & Lamb Marcomms Manager, Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2TL. Mobile: 07973 701369 Email:

Kate Yarwood, Account Executive, Pinstone Communications, Unit 3 The Business Plaza, Owen Way, Leominster, Hereforshire HR6 0LA. Tel: 01568 617667 Mobile: 07725 192973 Email:

Role at Work: Pinstone Communications is a leading full service agricultural PR and marketing-communications consultancy working specifically with agri-businesses. Why I wanted to join: To expand my knowledge, skills and network. Nominated by Catherine Linch

...but we say goodbye to arable freelance Sarah Henly, a regular contributor to Crops and Farmers Weekly, who says: "I joined the BGAJ when I started with Reed Business Information in 1988 and have found it a great source of information and contacts. However, I have recently moved on from writing for the farming press and have a new small business creating bespoke books about special events in peoples’ lives." Visit the website to find out more or contact Sarah by email.

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.

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.

Ruth Jewkes of PR communications agency Whisper Consultancy has a new email address:

….and so has Philip Eades of Mardle Consulting:


Members and Friends of the Guild - update your membership profiles on the Guild website with any changes of address or telephone number, or about any services you provide. This will ensure that information displayed on the Farming Media Centre web page and in the next edition of the Yearbook is accurate and up to date. 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.

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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