British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
International Contacts, Annual Congress Tours, Professional Development, Writing & Photo Awards, Freelance Directory
Members of the Guild are also members of...

BGAJ eAlert - July 2013

Harvest Service & Lunch – ticket reservations open

Members and Friends of the Guild can now secure places at the annual Harvest Lunch on Thursday, October 10 by making an initial reservation with the secretary, Nikki Robertson (07584 022909).

“I’m delighted that we’re being supported by Lloyds TSB again, enabling us to return to the fabulous Stationers’ livery hall in the City of London,” says event organiser Howard Venters. “Also, Waitrose has agreed to supply wine and the ingredients for a memorable ‘Best of British’ luncheon, which will be prepared by a new catering team with their own very interesting story to tell – all will be revealed in due course!”

With produce donations from British growers arranged through Partners in Purchasing and dairy products from Jersey UK, all-in ticket prices have been kept down to just £55 for Members and Friends, and £70 for guests.

“As well as being a memorable event for us all individually, the Harvest Lunch is a great opportunity for publishers, agencies and supply companies in our industry to entertain clients and contacts,” adds Howard. “We at Shepherd Publishing will be inviting a number of influential guests again, and I’m sure other Members and Friends of the Guild will do likewise.”

Places reserved now can be confirmed with names when the booking and payment facility opens within the next few weeks.

Feature writing workshop

A programme of professional development workshops organised by the Guild’s Midlands branch continues on Wednesday, September 4 with a full-day practical event giving guidance on feature writing.

“It’s aimed at writers with some experience who want to improve and develop their skills in writing for the agricultural press,” say organisers Julie Mate and Emily White. “It will include a series of writing exercises, plus an opportunity for attendees to discuss and critique their feature material.”

The event is being hosted by Guild supporter AGCO at its Stoneleigh offices in Warwickshire. Contact Emily White for details.

Summer events

A great turnout of Members and Friends of the Guild enjoyed another sumptuous spread organised by Eddie Gillanders at the Royal Highland Show and the English Wine & Cheese reception arranged by Liz Snaith at the Livestock Event was also well-received.

But there was a disappointing turnout at the Royal Welsh reception in its second year, despite the presence of many journalist and photography Members at the show. Use the links to see the photo reviews of these Guild gatherings.

Constructive comments on the timing, format and location of the Royal Welsh reception, together with ideas for improvement, would be much appreciated: send them to the Guild secretary Nikki Robertson please.

Award deadlines

There are just two weeks to before entries close on Thursday, August 15 for the Richard Keenan Innovation Award for articles or broadcasts by a Member of the Guild reporting on some aspect of innovative thinking or practice in agriculture. Find out more here.

The Guild's Yara Journalism Awards are launched this week with a deadline of Friday, August 30for entries. A leaflet giving details of the three categories and how to enter is being mailed to all Members. The winners not only receive a share of the £3000 prize fund but also a free place at the Guild's annual Harvest Lunch on Thursday, October 10.

Award presentations

The Guild’s Stuart Seaton award to the Regional Farming Newspaper and Regional Journalist of the Year was presented at the Royal Highland; the results of the photography contest Livestock category were announced at the Royal Welsh. Follow the links to find out who won – and why!

Swiss dairy tour

Members of the Guild are invited by the Swiss Agricultural Journalists federation to take part in a dairy tour that will explore production, the abolition of milk quotas and the globalisation of milk markets. One journalist from each member country of the international federation (IFAJ) will be selected; they will make their own travel arrangements to Switzerland (modest fares with easyJet is one option) but thereafter travel, accommodation and meals will be provided by the SAJ and its sponsors. Register interest with Guild IFAJ representative Joe Watson.

IFAJ Congress 2014 website launched

The scale of support coming in for the biggest inward mission of agricultural journalists and broadcasters  next September is evident from the new website created to promote the event. The three principal sponsors - Massey Ferguson, Waitrose and Perkins Engines Co Ltd - have each pledged £30,000 in cash and are exploring ways in which they can use their in-house resources to help put on a memorable event for all concerned. See the full story here.

Change of Guild's legal status

Lightening the administrative burden and removing financial pitfalls associated with staging IFAJ Congress 2014 were the primary reasons behind the Guild management council's recommendation that the Guild should become a company limited by guarantee. Following Members' approval of this proposal at the 2013 AGM, past chairman Adrian Bell and member representatives on council have been working towards this the new structure.

Special thanks go to William Neville and his team at Burges Salmon for overseeing the legal process and taking on the work pro bono; and to Lloyds TSB's Alick Jones for banking and financial guidance relating to the new company.

“The Guild's incorporation is expected in early August, when all members of Council will become directors of the new entity and the process of transferring Members into the new organisation will begin,” says Adrian. "As ever with matters of a legal nature, the devil is in the detail and the necessity for procedure overrules what might otherwise be a relatively simple process!

"Although incorporation will make no difference to the Guild's objectives and activities, unfortunately we can't simply transfer membership wholesale into the new entity but instead have to formally appoint the Guild's existing Members by asking them to sign a consent letter. This will be sent out over the summer - and we're hoping that modern technology is sufficiently recognised by officialdom to allow letters to be scanned and returned by email, rather than having to send everything physically by snail mail."

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, professional photography, marketing and commercial communications. More details about this service are available on the website here.

The CLA (Country Land & Business Association) wishes to appoint a full-time communications manager for its East region to handle all aspects of media and public relations, as well as the organisation’s presence at agricultural shows in the region. The position is based at the CLA East regional office near Newmarket, Suffolk. Closing Wednesday, August 7.

A fungicide product marketing manager is being recruited by Bayer CropScience through agency MacCormack Media: “If you are looking to start the next stage of your career in agriculture then there is no better place to be than Bayer CropScience,” says Sheena MacCormack, a Friend of the Guild. “As the agricultural leader with a product portfolio which is second to none, Bayer CropScience has a fantastic opportunity for a Product Manager, a post that brings new challenges every day and the opportunity to develop a rewarding career. As part of the Combinable Fungicides team based in Cambridge, the successful candidate will manage the full marketing mix for products within the company’s successful oilseed rape and barley fungicide portfolios. Closing Friday, August 16.

The deadline for applying to the IFAJ for two part-time roles – Global Co-ordinator and General Manager / Executive Secretary – has been extended to Thursday, August 15 to ensure a robust selection process.

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.

Apologies to Simon Haley, a new Friend of the Guild, whose name and contact details went awry in the new Year Book. Simon, who works as a rural business consultant with Reading Agricultural Consultants, lives in Preston – his correct email address is and post code PR2 1SJ. When not engaged in his day job, Simon is co-host of @AgriChatUK on twitter.

A year after leaving Agra Europe, Catherine Paice was at the Guild's Livestock Event reception with her colleague Barry Wilson, founder and editor of Dairy Industry Newsletter. Catherine became a director of DIN when she left Agra Europe, and is working as Barry's assistant editor, while also taking on a number of other freelance roles including work for Grove House Publishing, Lakebourne Publishing and Rabobank.

Many tributes to the late Derek Watson, journalist and PR, and a keen supporter of the Guild’s Charitable Trust, have been posted to his obituary on the Guild website by friends and colleagues. Further contributiuons are welcome., the agency run by Guild Members Adrian Bell and Ruth Jewkes have been busy recruiting. Sarah Palmer (ex-NFYFC) and Sam Hiner, who attended the Guild annual meeting as a journalism student, have both joined the agency as account executives.

New Members and Friends

Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild or becoming a Friend can download a 'benefits of membership' leaflet in pdf form. 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.

In News on the Guild website

Helen Brothwell leading Midlands initiatives

Tim Price's big wellie campaign

Brian Lovelidge to enjoy fruits of labour

CLA champers for Gerry Barnett

Social media success

Survey of agri journalists' role

IFAJ Congress 2014 website launched

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


Join Us!

Click here to view Guild membership benefits and to find out how to join.

Guild News

Click here for the latest news.