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 - May 2016

Opportunity to host trainee journalists

This year's course members on the 2016 BGAJ John Deere Journalism Training Award are a wide-ranging mix of graduating students from several disciplines.

Led by experienced lecturer David Mascord, they include agricultural journalists and photographers, PR & marketing practitioners – and even a farmer. The course runs from 10-12 July in a Nottingham hotel and at John Deere's Langar HQ.

The students then undertake three days of work experience with publishers, PR agencies and others who are willing to host them.

If your publication or business has not already agreed to host a course member for this key element of the scheme, then please contact Guild Member and award organiser Steve Mitchell on 01926 818762 or email

Steve will very grateful to hear from you and will happily explain how it all works. Further details of the course can also be found in the John Deere Training Award section of the Guild website.

Revised date for Harvest Service & Luncheon

The 2016 Harvest Service and Luncheon will now take place on Friday, 23 September – please note this is a change of date.

The service will again be held at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, but the luncheon venue has changed to Painters Hall (a 13 minute walk from St Brides).

This event is the highlight of the Guild year. It is an excellent event for networking, socialising and meeting Friends old and new. Sponsorship opportunities are available – if you, or someone you know, might be interested in finding out more, please email

The service usually includes a non-secular reading – if there is a reading you would like to suggest, again please do get in touch.

Further details about the Harvest Lunch, including about reservations and tickets, will follow in due course.

Vacancies: Council Members and Representatives

The Guild has a number of forthcoming vacancies for Council Members and officers which will arise over the coming year.

We are looking for a Guild Treasurer to take up post from March 2017. It follows a decision by Simon Haley to step down from the role and from Guild Council from next year's AGM. This is a specialist position so applications will be considered from non-Members as well as Members.

We also have a forthcoming vacancy for the role of Awards Secretary, again from March 2017. The Awards Secretary role involves co-ordinating the Guild's various awards, including liaising with judges and sponsors.

If you are interested in learning more about either of these roles – or you know someone who might be, please email for further information.

Small Island Innovations Ltd

The company set up by the Guild to run the 2014 IFAJ congress, hosted by BGAJ in Aberdeen, has now been wound up. Guild Members wishing to see a copy of the accounts should email

Innovation in Italy: Small farms, Big Data

Guild Member and AHDB Communications Executive Eleanor Perkins, enjoyed a successful visit to Fieragricola 2016 in Italy, thanks to the European Network of Agricultural Journalists. Read more.

Sarah Peacocke joins Kendalls

PR specialists Andrew Kendall and Sarah Peacocke, both Members of the Guild, are joining forces to exploit their respective skills and experience in agricultural press and public relations. Read more.

David Richardson autobiography published

Guild Member and Norfolk farmer David Richardson has launched his autobiography – encompassing more than 55 years of agricultural journalism. Read more.

Obituary: Jill Willows

Members of the Guild who knew Jill Willows as a Yorkshire farmer, Nuffield Scholar and generous supporter of the Guild's Charitable Trust will be saddened by her death. Read more.

Deadline nears for IFAJ 2016

Registration for this year's IFAJ Congress in Germany closes on 31 May. This is an excellent opportunity to see agriculture in another country, network with Members of other Guilds and uncover some good stories.

Registration for the post-congress tour in north-east Germany is already closed but the south of the country also offers a lot of attractive agrarian, culinary, scenic and cultural highlights. Guild members interested in attending should reserve their place by visiting

Guild sponsors Master Class journalist

The Guild is pleased to announce it has agreed to sponsor an IFAJ Master Class participant at this year's 2016 Congress in Germany.   The Master Class is targeted at journalists and communicators from developing countries. In 2014, when the British Guild hosted the IFAJ Congress in Scotland, we welcomed delegates to our Master Class from Africa, South America and eastern Europe.

Sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, the IFAJ Master Class program provides a dynamic professional development experience focused on skills, agricultural issues, media trends and agribusiness. The British Guild will part-sponsor a Master Class delegate at €1,600, covering approximately half their costs.

The goal is to identify and engage journalists in developing countries to network and gain professional development skills by partnering with journalists and colleagues in developed countries through participation in the Master Class and the Congress.

Voting opens for ‘People’s Choice’ photographer

The IFAJ is proud to present the 2nd annual IFAJ-DeLaval People's Choice Awards. The winner will receive recognition at the IFAJ Congress in Bonn, Germany, as well as 250 euros in prize money.    To see the award entries – and to vote for your favourite photograph, please click here. You may vote once. Voting will close on 1 June, 2016.

*          *          *

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.

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 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 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:

Hannah Park, Communications Officer, National Sheep Association, The Sheep Centre, Blackmore Park Road, Malvern, Worcs WR13 6PH. Tel: 01684 892661 Email:

Helen Williams, Marketing Communications Executive, AHDB Potatoes, 5th Street, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2TL Tel: 02476 478662 Email:

...and a new Friends:

Alex Cherry, Farmer; Organiser - Groundswell Agriculture No-Till Show & Conference, Darnells Hall,, Green End, Weston, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG4 7AL. Tel: 07816 349406 Email:

Gordon Rennie, farmer and freelance journalist, Stenton Farm, St Monans, Anstruther, Fife KY10 2DF Tel: 01333 730213 Mobile: 07977 468358 Email:

...but we say goodbye to Fiona Duff of Duff Publicity, her contract with the land management and farming consultancy department at Strutt & Parker having come to an end.

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.

Farmers Weekly Projects director and former Crops editor Debbie Beaton, has left Reed Business Information after almost 32 years. She can be contacted by telephone (01273 492664 / 07572 667298) or her email address.

Former Kendalls executive Julian Cooksley is now operating on a freelance basis as Cooksley Communications, providing PR and agricultural editorial services from his home in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. He can be contacted by phone (01284 756581 / 07899 904047) or his email address.

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


Join Us!

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

Guild News

Click here for the latest news.