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BGAJ eAlert - November 2015

Awards & Scholarships

 Perkins Global Innovation Scholars Announced

The Guild is pleased to announce that Olivia Midgley from Farmers Guardian and Jez Fredenburgh from Farmers Weekly have been selected as the recipients of the inaugural Perkins Global Innovation Scholarship.

The scholarship, which supports international travel and professional development opportunities for Guild members, is worth £5,000 per recipient in international travel and accommodation.

Our two 2016 scholars will travel to Brazil - a trip which will focus on farming innovation. During their time there, they will write a blog, create editorial articles and use social media to highlight their work.

On their return, Olivia and Jez will headline a BGAJ Members' event - probably held during autumn 2016 - where they will give a presentation about their trip, experiences and how it has helped their professional development.

The Guild continues to be grateful for the very generous support of the Perkins Engines Company, which makes this scholarship and other awards possible.

Judges for this year's scholarship were Annette Ward from Perkins, and Guild Council Members Louise Impey and Jane Craigie.

Netherthorpe Award 

The recipient of the Guild's 2015 Netherthorpe Award is acclaimed broadcaster and journalist Dei Tomos - the voice of farming news in Wales for over 30 years.

Dei is an acknowledged authority on Welsh farming and of its place in UK and EU farming and environmental policy.

He was presented with the award at this year's Guild Harvest Lunch. A write-up is available here.

Yara Awards

A high standard of entries were received for this year's Yara Awards, generously sponsored by Yara UK. Judges were led by Rosie Carne of Yara and included last year’s winners in each category. 

The 2015 Yara Arable Award was won by Tom Allen-Stevens for his article called “Get ready for BPS” for Crop Production Magazine.

The 2015 Yara Grassland/Livestock Award was won by Phil Clarke of Poultry World for his article "How to get a top efficiency score from your broilers".

The 2015 Yara Environment Award was won by Joel Durkin of Farmers Guardian for his article “Volatility: What it means for UK arable markets.”

Write-ups for all three winners are available here.

Richard Keenan Innovation Award

The winning article by Jonathan Wheeler was called Grand Designs. It was published in Farm Machinery Journal in September 2014. 

The article featured a farm employing a range of technology with the aim of ensuring optimum livestock performance and profitability.

A write-up of Richard's article is available here.

Photography Award 2015 – livestock category

This award has been generously sponsored by St David’s Poultry Team and director and specialist veterinary surgeon Richard Turner made the presentations at the Guild Harvest Lunch.

This year's winner was John Eveson for his picture of an over enthusiastic young sheepdog at the Hawes Sheepdog sale in North Yorkshire. John's photo was published in Farmers Guardian in March 2015.

Runner-Up was a photo by Marcello Garbagnoli of windswept highland cattle. Published in Farmers Guardian, it came a very close second.

A write-up and both photos can be seen here.

Guild Harvest Service and Luncheon

The Guild's flagship event of the year took place on Thursday, 8 October.

At St Brides, Rev Canon Dr Alison Joyce led the proceedings with readings from Guild Council Member Johann Tasker and Rosie Carne of Yara UK.

Bill and Andree Kelsey provided the produce for the church display and Denis Chamberlain read the In Memoriam.

The champagne reception at Stationers' Hall followed, with the majority of award winner photos taken during this time.

Guest speaker Matt Lobley, discussed succession planning and Lord Curry gave a speech in his debut year as Guild President.

Rosie Carne presented the Yara Awards,  Doreen Forsyth presented the Keenan Innovation Award.

Guild Deputy Chairman Catherine Linch announced the winners of the Livestock Photography Award and of the John Deere Training Award.

Lord Curry conducted the draw for the Charitable Trust and Denis Chamberlain said a few words about the role and importance of the Trust.

Catherine Linch thanked the sponsors and the occasion was closed by Claire Seaton of St Brides, singing ‘The Parting Glass’.


VIDEO: Celebrating the Guild

We are indebted to Perkins Engine Company Ltd for sponsoring the production of a short film celebrating the benefits of being a Guild Member.

Kindly produced by Breeze & Freeze, the video covers networking, overseas visits and the Guild awards - as well as reporting on all the latest developments in farming, food and rural issues.

You can view the video on YouTube here.


Jobs & Recruitment

Vacant positions are mentioned in Guild eAlerts as a service to members.

A recruitment advertising service is also available to organisations that wish to put full details about a post in front of the Guild's members involved in journalism and commercial communications.

More details about this service are available on the website or can be obtained by contacting Peter Hill at

Farmers Weekly is looking for an editorial projects manager to help develop its creative solutions business. It also wants to recruit a Business Reporter, preferably with a farming background or an agricultural qualification.

Farmers Guardian wants to appoint a journalist to cover machinery and technology news, and carry out product testing, alongside the Machinery Editor.


European Network of Agricultural Journalists

Members with a keen interest in farming across Europe and the role of the agriculture directorate in Brussels can receive ENAJ news and notices direct by registering for its newsletter


International Federation of Agricultural Journalists

The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists has amended its constitution to take a more active role supporting communicators in countries where there is limited freedom of the press.

Delegates to the 59th annual IFAJ congress in New Zealand adopted historic changes to the organisation's constitution on 14 October. 

Membership to the IFAJ was traditionally restricted to organisations in countries which practise freedom of the press as defined by the United Nations.

Now, with the new constitutional changes, IFAJ can accept associations of agricultural journalists which declare support for freedom of the press - even in countries where press freedom is limited.


Notable anniversary

Former NFU press officer and Farmers Weekly journalist Trevor Hayes reports that in addition to celebrating his 68th birthday, he has just passed his 50th anniversary in journalism since starting in 1965. He continues to freelance from his home in Malton, Yorkshire and says: "Thanks to all those who have helped me along the road."


Member contacts update

Updates on new job, location and contact details; earlier updates can be found in the eAlerts Archive section of the Guild website under Member Communications.

Freelance and Energy Now editor Roger Abbott, who is a Fellow of the Guild,has retired.

Land use management specialist Bill Butterworth has a new email address:

PR specialist Peter Crowe has moved from Ware Anthony Rust to set up his own business. He can be contacted at Peter Crowe Communications, 47 The Ridgeway, Market Harborough, Leics LE16 7HG. Tel: 01858 465034 Email:

Former editorial projects manager at Farmers Weekly Group, Will Frazer, has been appointed to manage commercial matters at Lumicity, a builder and funder of agritech solutions using sustainable technology. Will’s contact details are now: Commercial & Marketing Manager, Lumicity, The Old Boat House, Mill Lane, Taplow, Bucks SL6 0AA. Tel: 07825 148162 Mobile: 07500 723667 Email:

Arable freelance Louise Impey has a new email address:

Freelance Richard Shepherd-Barron, who specialises in field vegetable crops, has a new email address:

The NFU has appointed Rebecca Veale, a Friend of the Guild, as an adviser on animal health and welfare. She has returned to the NFU (where she was web editor and digital communications specialist) from her role as a technical communications officer at AHDB Beef & Lamb.


Streamlined membership application

Journalists, photographers, PR and marketing specialists who want to join the Guild can now do so online instead of having to fill out the old paper forms .

“The paper forms were a bit laborious to fill in and, inevitably, were sometimes lost or mislaid,” notes Peter Hill, who co-ordinated development of the new online membership database and Farming Media Centre. “Using paper forms also meant someone had to key in contact and all the other details required for Guild records, which was an opportunity for errors.”

The online facility streamlines all that – completing the application form on the website populates the membership database with information needed for subscription records, the online Farming Media Centre and the Year Book. Guild secretary Nikki Robertson is notified when an application has been made, and the applicant automatically receives an acknowledgement and a welcome message by email when approved by the executive officers of the management Council.

“Together with the SmartDebit online set-up for subscriptions, it has streamlined the whole process and significantly reduced potential for mistakes,” adds Peter.

Existing Members of the Guild can encourage industry contacts to join by directing them to the Membership Application page on the Guild website, which sets out the numerous opportunities and benefits of membership and provides a link to the online application form.

The membership criteria are unchanged: anyone whose income is wholly or mainly derived from journalism, photography or PR/marketing communications in the rural sector can become a Member with full voting rights to have a say in how our organisation is run and is eligible to enter awards. Anyone who does not meet those criteria is welcome to become a Friend; they enjoy similar benefits but cannot vote, enter awards or nominate new Members.


New Members and Friends

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new Members: 

Michael Bennett, Managing Director, Pelican Communications, 1 Holly House, Mill Street, Upper Mill, Oldham, Great Manchester OL3 6LZ. Tel: 01457 820807 Email:

Laura Bowyer, Livestock Reporter, Briefing Media Agriculture (Farmers Guardian/Dairy Farmer), Unit 4 Fulwood Park, Caxton Road, Preston, Lancs PR2 9NZ. Tel: 01772 799408 Email:

Georgia Brown, Media Adviser, NFU, Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwicks CV28 2TZ. Tel: 02476 858677 Email:

Victoria Ellis, Senior PR Account Manager, KISS PR, 23 Innovation Centre, Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 0EY. Tel: 01223 911123 Email:

David Franciosy, Farming Photography Ltd, 16 Ermine Rise, Great Casterton, Stamford, Rutland PE9 4AJ. Tel: 07921 510212 Email:

Rob Harris, Communications Officer, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, Shaw House, 27 West Way, Oxford OX2 0QH. Tel: 07730 765377 Email:

Oliver Hill, Arable Reporter, Farmers Weekly and Crops, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS. Tel: 0208 652 4082 Mobile: 07781 803480 Email:

Jo Learmonth, Freelance Journalist, Green of Savoch, Auchnagatt, Ellon, Aberdeenshire AB41 8YH. Tel: 01358 701202 Mobile: 07824 375573 Email:

Hayley Parrott, Deputy Farmlife & Community Editor, Farmers Weekly, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS. Tel: 020 8652 3086 Email:

Jonathan Riley, News Editor, Farmers Weekly, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS. Tel: 020 8652 4339 Email:

Alice Singleton, New & Business Reporter/Researcher, Farmers Guardian, Unit 4 Fulwood Park, Caxton Road, Preston, Lancs PR2 9NZ. Tel: 01772 799408 Email:

…and also these new Friends of the Guild:

Amy Bateman, Freelance Journalist/Marketing Representative, 64A Melbourne Road, Bromsgrove, Worcs B61 8PF. Mobile: 07581 089827 Email:

Seth Pascoe, Agronomist, Procam SW, Unit 1 Aller Barton, Cullompton, Devon EX15 1QQ. Mob: 07837 107014 Email:

Fiona Turnbull, Sheep Farmer and Freelance Journalist, Fruix Farm, Fruix, Kinross, Perth & Kinross KY13 0LA. Tel: 01577 850316 Mobile: 07835 719251 Email:

Antonia Walker, Technical Sales Consultant and Freelance Journalist, AW Agronomy, 1 Malpas Hill, Tickhill, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN11 9RG. Tel: 07860 920193 Email:

Tracey Wathen-Jones, Freelance, Shires End, London Road, Postcombe, Thame, Oxon OX9 7DN. Mobile: 07429 405905 Email:

…but we say Goodbye to…

Former account manager Sam Hiner who has left the Guild as he is no longer involved in agriculture having joined a London PR agency.

John Evans, former newsletter editor for the Worshipful Company of Farmers, who has retired from that role.


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.


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 at

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.


News 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 at



Contact Guild secretary Nikki Robertson at 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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