British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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BGAJ eAlert - February 2017

Guild Yearbook 2017 published

The new Guild Yearbook has been published with additional news, information and member listings.

With a total of 112 pages plus cover, the 2017 Yearbook is 16 pages bigger than last year's publication – including double-page spreads of photos from the 2016 Harvest Service & Luncheon, and the 2016 President's Event.

A Guild News section in the Yearbook has been particularly well received. So too has a new section containing information about public relations companies relating to agriculture.

Any Member or Friend of the Guild who has not received a copy of the Yearbook can ask for one by email to secretary Nikki Robertson - remember to include your postal address. 

New IFAJ website goes online

The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) has launched its new website at It has new graphics, enhanced navigation and is compatible with mobile devices.

The IFAJ is a non-partisan, professional association for agricultural journalists in 45 countries; Members of the Guild are automatically affiliated to the organisation, which provides training, personal development and Worldwide contacts, as well as writing, broadcasting and photography contests and the annual get-together at the international Congress.

The updated IFAJ website includes changes to navigation, with dropdown menus for both mobile and desktop versions.

The structure of the content has been improved, so it will be easier to find the information. There is a whole host of smaller but impactful changes, all to make the experience of the adjusted IFAJ website that much better. 

New editors appointed

Newsquest has appointed a new editor for The Northern Farmer newspaper.

Andrew Hitchon was raised on a farm in the Yorkshire Dales and has worked on the Craven HeraldYorkshire PostGazette & Herald. He moves from the acting business editor's desk on The Press to take up his new role.

Nia Davies-Jones has been appointed editor of Y Tir / Welsh Farmer, the monthly newspaper of the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW). A member of FUW's head office staff, Nia's appointment follows the retirement of Peter Roberts.

CPM appoints machinery editor

Specialist arable title Crop Production Magazine (CPM) has appointed its first machinery editor and revealed plans to publish another two editions a year. Read more...

Obituary: Neil Ryder

The Guild has received news from his daughter Kirsty that Neil Ryder, a freelance Member, died following a heart attack on 8 February. Read more... 

New PR & marketing agency for Rebecca Dawson

A new marketing and communications agency has opened in Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, managed by Guild Member Rebecca Dawson. Read more...

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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 2017 are £72.50 for Members and Friends, £36.50 for Retired Members and Student Friends.

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new Members:

Alex Black, Business Reporter, Farmers Guardian, Unit 4 Fulwood Park, Caxton Road, Preston, Lancs PR2 9NZ. Tel: 01772 799409 Mobile: 07880 490486 Email:

Charlotte Cunningham, Editorial & PR Assistant, Agri-hub, Lily Vale, Huxham, Exeter, Devon EX5 4EW. Tel: 01392 818238 Email:

Rebecca Callaghan, Account Executive, Pinstone Communications, Unit 3 The Business Plaza, Owen Way, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 0LA. Tel: 01568 617626 Email:

Sian Mercer, Rural Photographer, My Rural Tribe, 2 Stratford Road, Lighthorne Heath, Leamington Spa, Warwicks CV33 9TN. Tel: 07970 298908 Email:

Jack Yates, Business Reporter, Farmers Weekly, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS. Tel: 0208 652 4933 Email:

...and also the Guild's first Student Friend - see profile on the website:

Georgina Gater-Moore, Agriculture Student (Harper Adams University College), 10 Wrekin Avenue, Newport, Shropshire TF10 7HQ. Tel: 07793 650 995 Email:

...but we say goodbye to former agricultural TV programme producer Bill Smith, who has retired, PR specialist Jodie Wallace-Hill and former AHDB marketing communications executive Helen Williams, who are no longer working in the agricultural sector, and Three Counties marketing executive Stephanie Belcher.

Long-time Member of the Guild and former jurnalist, Jayne Spence, has left the Rural Payments Agency communications team after 10 years and has a new role with the Local Government Ombudsman; while consultant Nigel Ellway is no longer working in agriculture.

Another long-time Member - John Howard - has stepped down having retired from the press and marketing communications role at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council but his successor plans to join. Scots farmer, consultant and radio broadcaster Doug Niven has also 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.

Find details of all posts here.

Yearbook and 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.

Nina Pullman, a new Member of the Guild, was inadvertently ‘promoted’ to editor of Fresh Produce Journal in the latest Year Book and the December eAlert. Nina is deputy editor, so apologies to editor Michael Barker.

The landline telephone number for Stuart Booker at the Kendalls Stoneleigh office is now 02476 992360.

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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