British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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BGAJ eAlert - November 2012

Christmas is coming…..

The Guild’s Charitable Trust Christmas Card has a different theme this year – a cartoon first published in Farm Contractor magazine in 1979 and recently discovered in archive files. It should provide a bit of a chuckle for friends and work colleagues of Guild members. The cards are available in packs of 25 for just £15 (including envelopes, postage and packing).

They carry the Guild logo and the greeting: Peace and Goodwill at Christmas. Supplies are being snapped up so to secure a pack or two, go to the Guild website to print off an order form and send it in by the end of November.

Remember, the Guild Charitable Trust helps members and their families experiencing a period of personal or financial difficulty. The confidential help of the voluntary Trustees includes practical measures and advice, moral support and, when necessary, cash contributions for specialist help or regular bills.

Don Gomery Award – deadline Friday, November 30

Guild awards secretary, arable freelance Louise Impey, urges members to consider who outside the Guild membership is most deserving of the new Don Gomery Memorial Award. Nominations close on Friday, November 30 for an award to be presented to a journalist, columnist, broadcaster or commercial communicator for the best media portrayal and reporting of farming issues to a non-farming audience over the past year. Go here to find out more and download a nomination form.

IFAJ World Congress 2014

Organisation of the congress for more than 200 rural journalists and communicators from around the world being hosted by the Guild in September 2014 is making good progress.

But more help is needed to secure essential sponsorship for this major undertaking and to start organising key elements, including food and hospitality, CPD events, tours, social media and technology, and U35s.

The event will be in three parts – a pre-Congress tour in the south-east and eastern England for up to 50 participants; the Congress itself, with a choice of five major tours for the 200+ delegates based in north-east Scotland; and a post-Congress tour, again for 50 or so delegates, based in the West Midlands.

See much more detail in News, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@IFAJ2014). It's time to get involved in a unique opportunity to showcase innovation in British agriculture to magazine and broadcast audiences around the world.

Midlands group events…

The Guild’s Midlands group has two events before the end of the year; the first on Monday, November 26 is a visit to Harper Adams University College to brief students on career opportunities in rural communications.

The second is a ‘behind the scenes’ discussion with the Environment Agency in light of the wettest period in years to find out how it communicates with and advises farmers. Other topics on the agenda include the EA’s take on predicting weather patterns and freak weather, delivery of government policy and monitoring and managing breaches of current rules and regulations. This evening meeting on Thursday, December 13 is at Stoneleigh Park.

All Guild members (whether in the Midlands area or not) are welcome to attend but are asked to notify Midlands secretary Liz Snaith beforehand. Full details will be in Dates & Deadlines on the Guild website home page.

Successful new entrant training course

Guild member Steve Mitchell of ASM PR organised another successful Guild training course and award for new entrants to agricultural journalism and communications. The 13 participants attended lectures and practical exercise sessions at John Deere’s UK headquarters in Notts before heading out on work experience placements assisted by a number of Guild members.

Since it began, 23 course members not already employed as journalists have been taken on by national farming and horticultural magazines and others have been employed at agencies. Two of this year’s course students – Louise Hartley and Dominic Kirby – attended the Guild harvest lunch to collect their John Deere Training Award prizes – see report here.

Buckingham Palace MBE investiture

Guild member Digby Scott received his MBE from HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace in October. As the Prince is a pig farmer himself and the Duchy subscribes to Pig World, they had plenty to talk about, it seems. “Everybody had told me how special I would be made to feel and they were absolutely right. It was a most enjoyable, and humbling day,” says Digby. Read about his deserved award here and also about the sale of Pig World to a new business publishing company, Lewis Business Media, here.

Popular reception at Livestock 2012

More than 50 members enjoyed a specialist selection of English cheese and wine at an NFU Mutual-sponsored Guild reception at Livestock 2012. To see who was there to enjoy the goodies on offer, visit the picture gallery on the Guild website.

NOAH Award 2012 – entry deadline Monday, December 31

Entries have started to come in for the Guild’s animal health and welfare journalism awards sponsored by industry body NOAH. Copies of previously successful entries are available to read on the Guild website to help choose a potential winner – they are available with entry details here.

Newspaper coverage ebbs and flows….

The Hull Daily Mail no longer has a dedicated farming and countryside reporter following the retirement of journalist David Taylor. The newspaper says the news team will continue to cover farming stories relevant to East Yorkshire.

But on a more positive note, the DC Thomson titles Press & Journal and The Courier have launched a new monthly farming supplement that complements the regular coverage of farming and rural issues provided by these newspapers.

Newsquest has also increased its farming coverage with regional Farmer titles. See more in News.

Any more Mo’s out there?

Guild website and eAlerts editor Peter Hill has risked ridicule and general disapproval in the household by re-growing the moustache her sported until a few years ago for the Movember campaign to highlight men’s health issues. Are there any more Mo’s out there among the Guild membership? Send your pictures here - and sponsorship details if supporting the campaign financially.

New Nuffield Scholarship opportunity

Guild member Catherine Linch of Pinstone Communications is working with the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust to publicise the Nuffield Arden Award, a bi-annual Scholarship on a prescribed topic, which for 2013/14 is: How farming can learn from science to optimise the nutritional value of food?

“It is widely recognised that much of the food available today is of low nutrient quality,” comments Nuffield chairman, Stephen Watkins. “Therefore, understanding how the quality of food can be enhanced will deliver significant benefits to society, not least in improving behaviour and health.”

Applications for the Nuffield Arden Award close January 10, 2013; the deadline for annual Scholarship applications is July 31 every year.

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 print and online publishing house Briefing Media wants to recruit an Arable Reporter to join the Farmers Guardian team and work on a re-launched Arable Farming magazine and other forthcoming projects. The successful candidate will have a passion for arable agriculture, says Briefing Media, and will secure an attractive employment package.

The new owner of the monthly Pig World magazine and its related website Lewis Business Mediawishes to appoint an editor for the magazine who could work in either a freelance capacity or as a member of staff. Lewis Business Media is based in East Sussex but with similar flexibility the post could be based there or elsewhere.

Mark Simpson, who advertised for freelance contributors to his new website Young & Country in the October eAlert says:  “From reading comments on the Guild website from previous advertisers we were not expecting a large response but we expected those who did respond to be of a very high calibre. That is precisely what we got. We could not be happier with the result and are very much looking forward to working with the journalists who contacted us. For the price of the advert we feel it is tremendous value for money.”

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.

Charlotte Johnston has left 5m Publishing to start a new role with the Royal Agricultural Society of England focusing on innovation in livestock production. Charlotte can be contacted via or her existing mobile number: 07779 572598. Her role as editor of 5M Publishing’s cattle, dairy and beef news websites has been taken over by Harper Adams graduate Michael Priestley.

New members

Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild can contact membership secretary Liz Snaith.

Hannah Lloyd, Account Manager, Pinstone Communications Ltd, Unit 3 Owen Way, The Business Plaza, Leominster HR6 0LA. Tel: 01568 617620 Email:

New Friend of the Guild:

Lucy Mellor, Marketing & Events Manager, The Addington Fund, 9 Barford Exchange, Wellesbourne Road, Barford, Warwick CV35 8AQ. Tel: 01926 620135. Email:

New Young Farmers’ leader

A Friend of the Guild who works for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution has been elected chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs. Milly Wastie plans to launch a rural road safety campaign to highlight the risks of driving in the countryside and she also hopes to boost membership of the YFC organisation in England Wales, which currently stands at around 25,000.

On the website News pages ……

IFAJ Congress 2014 - time to get involved now! Help and advice welcome on Guild structure sets its sights on Europe New member: Simon Bates Pig World moves to new publisher New member: Tim Baker Monthly Farming supplement for Scotland New name for agri-events organisation

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.


Johann Tasker

01206 263807


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