British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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BGAJ eAlert - November 2016

New awards video precedes presentations

A new video highlighting the value of the Guild awards programme was shown at the Harvest Lunch before the Netherthorpe, Yara, Keenan Alltech, John Deere and new Red Tractor Assurance awards were presented.

Compiled by members of the Guild and video specialist Ian Damms and colleagues at Breeze & Freeze, the video includes interviews with delighted winners after the IAgrE journalism and Du Pont Agriculture arable photography award presentations at the Cereals Event.

It also highlights the value of winning an award in terms of both professional kudos and cash - including travel scholarships, the awards programme has a total prize fund of £18,000!

See the video here and click the links below to find out who won the awards:

BGAJ Netherthorpe 'Communicator of the Year'

BGAJ Yara Journalism Awards

BGAJ Keenan Alltech Farming Innovation Award

BGAJ John Deere Training Award

BGAJ Red Tractor Public Engagement Journalism Award

Perkins Global Innovation Scholarship

Members have until the end of November to apply for the Guild's second Perkins Global Innovation Scholarship - worth £5,000 for international travel and accommodation. China is the destination for 2017, with a programme of visits and interviews that can be tailored to the interests and objectives of the winner, drawing on the presence of Perkins Engines Co in China as a major supplier of diesel engines. Go here for details.

Guild Year Book 2017 - deadline Wednesday

To ensure the membership listing in the Guild's next Year Book is complete, accurately reflects members’ professional interests and includes up to date contact details, it is essential that all Members, Retired Members, Honorary Members and Friends of the Guild check and edit if necessary the information in their online profile.

That can easily be done by searching your name on the Farming Media Centre page of the Guild website; then, if changes are needed, the information can be edited by logging in and opening sections of the online profile.

The Business section of each member's profile is used for the Year Book listing and also for the online directory, which includes additional information selected in the Farming Media Centre section of the profile. The Personal section of the profile is purely for Guild administration; none of the details there will be published.

Login to the Guild website using the top-right button on the home page of the website ( and open each section in turn, remembering to click the Save & Close button after making any changes.

If you have not logged in before or need a reminder of how to login, click this link and scroll down to the end of the eAlert: Guild website login

News of members and publications

Digital first for Farm Business magazine

New Member: Megan Allen

Freelance PR move for NFU Cymru's Sarah Jones

FG editor Ben Briggs explains new design move

New Member: Geoff Ashcroft

David Steers

Members of the Guild meet for first South West event

Jim Whyte

Guild Members in London Bridge charity sheep drive

Guild's Charitable Trust earns timely fund boost

Geoff Dodgson is appointed Guild honorary chaplain

International farm journalists elect new leaders

Guild Members join IFAJ 2016 in Germany

Charitable Trust fund raising

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 and a number of Members of the Guild have recently recently subscribed to shares, providing a welcome income boost.

In the most recent draw, announced at the Harvest Lunch, Godfrey Brown (former agricultural correspondent of The Telegraph and David Kelsey, whose family supplies the produce for the Harvest Service display, each won £50; retired journalist Denis Frost netted £100, and AgriTrade editor Jamie Day took the top prize of £250.

Read more about the Trust towards the foot of this eAlert or visit the web page.

Sales of raffle tickets at the Harvest Lunch in September also gave the Charitable Trust fund a boost, thanks to the generosity of those who donated prizes and those who dipped into their pockets to buy tickets. Find out who donated and won what in News on the Guild website, where there is also an account of Olivia and Liam Cooper's visit to the Goodwood Festival of Speed having succesfully bid for tickets kindly donated by New Holland Agriculture.

A celebration of livestock

Members of the Guild who enjoyed the new Celebration of British Livestock at Christmas event last year will be pleased to know it is being repeated. This year's celebration is being held on Thursday, December 8, and includes a service of thanks at St Brides Church, Fleet Street, followed by a champagne reception and lunch at the Livery Hall of the Stationers Company nearby.

Last year, two Shorthorn heifers blessed by the Dean of St Paul's were paraded from the cathedral to Fleet Street, much to the intrigue and delight of Londoners!

Event organiser, Howard Venters, a Member of the Guild, says this year's charitable celebration will support the London City Farms; read articles in Sheep Breeder about their work here. Howard emphasises that anyone with a connection to the livestock industry – agri-politicians, auctioneers, trade suppliers, press and, of course, farmers and producers - are welcome to attend. See the booking form here.

Register for IFAJ Congress 2017 - South Africa!

Registration has opened for next year's World congress of agricultural journalists and communicators: IFAJ Congress 2017 - South Africa. Reduced fees are available on bookings made by January 15.

As anyone who attended the Guild-hosted congress in Scotland or any past congresses overseas, these gatherings of more than 200 members of agri journalists clubs, associations and Guilds provide a wonderful experience to learn about farming and rural enterprise in a foreign land while having a great time with fellow writers and photographers from around the World.

As usual, there are add-on programmes both before and after the main Congress. The optional pre-Congress tour from March 29 to April 1 takes in the Kruger National Park; the Congress programme starting in Pretoria runs from April 2-7, ending in Cape Town with tours of the Western Cape; and the optional post-Congress programme on April 8-11 is in KwaZulu-Natal, Namibia and Zambia.

The Congress is three nights longer than usual to provide extra value to members travelling long distances; the fee includes all accommodation and the one-way air fare to Cape Town.

Watch the launch movie here and then visit IFAJ Congress 2017 website for programme details and registration. Speak to the Guild's IFAJ representative Jane Craigie or chairman Ben Briggs for advice on how to get the best from a Congress experience.

IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders Award

Members of the Guild aged 35 or less can apply for one of 10 scholarships worth €1000 plus cost of travel support from the Guild to attend IFAJ Congress 2016 in South Africa and the IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders Award boot-camp that precedes it. Read the experiences of past winners in the Congress reports here and the booklet written by 2015 award winners - including the Guild's Ben Pike - here.

To be considered as the Guild's nominee for the award, Under 35 Members need to email Guild secretary Nikki Robertson setting out ambitions for their career and involvement in the Guild, and how they think the personal development Boot Camp and this year's congress might help achieve them.

"While the Alltech award is about personal development of the individual, the key element for the judges is assessing how a winner might use what they learn from the Boot Camp and Congress to contribute to the future development of their home Guild," says Jane Craigie, the Guild's IFAJ representative. "I'm happy to explain to any interested candidates what the judges might be looking for and therefore how the applications might be pitched."

Copyright fees – deadline end of November

Guild members who write books or have freelance articles published in UK magazines, periodicals and national (but not local or regional) newspapers have until the end of November to claim a share of annual licensing fees (or Copyright Royalties) from ALCS, the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society.

Members of the Guild must register with ALCS in order to make a claim, which involves posting brief details (publication, ISSN number, published date, title and whether less or more than 2500 words) to the ALCS website. First-time claims can include articles published in the preceding two years.

Payments per article are calculated on a proportional basis according to the volume of all works published and claimed for by ALCS members. More details on the Guild website here.

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:

Megan Allen, Proprietor, Rural Roots PR, 24 Barleythorpe Road, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6NR. Mobile: 07730 599358. Email:

Geoff Ashcroft, Freelance journalist, aerial photographer and videographer, Media Mechanics, 29 Lawton Avenue, Carterton, Oxfordshire, OX18 3JY. Tel: 01993 841035 Mobile: 07977 129726 Email:

Julie Edwards, Head of Communications, Mole Valley Farmers, Station Road, South Molton, Devon EX36 3BH. Mobile: 07817 785618 Email:

James Gordon-Hall, Freelance Journalist, Photographer, Marketing & PR Consultant,, Keepers Cottage, Thorpe Tilney Dales, Lincoln, Lincs LN4 3RQ. Tel: 01526 352243 Mobile: 07806779569 Email:

Nicola Herd, Marketing Manager, Yara UK Ltd, Harvest House, Origin Way, Europarc, Grimsby, Lincs DN37 9TZ. Mobile: 07525 276 475 Email:

Charlotte Johnston, Member Scheme Manager, Red Tractor Assurance, Rural Innovation Centre, Avenue H, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwicks CV8 2LG. Mobile: 07702 546508 Email:

Cliff Preston, PR Consultant, Cliff Preston Marketing, The Forecourt, Ashby by Partney, Spilsby, Lincs PE23 5RG. Tel: 01754 890500 Mobile: 07712 657180 Email:

Emily Scaife, Freelance Writer, Scaife Communications, 21 Prestbury Close, Redditch, Worcs B98 0QL. Mobile: 07738 089257 Email:

Paul Spackman, Freelance Journalist, Brick Kiln Cottage, Brick Kiln Green, Blackmore End, Braintree, Essex CM7 4DT. Mobile: 07733 165228 Email:

Martin Woodhead, Chairman, Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Ltd, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge, Cambs CB22 3HJ. Tel: 01223 839365 Email:

...but we say goodbye to Bob Dow, now involved in the construction industry in Scotland; Caroline Slay, former freelance and AHDB communications executive; and Tracey Wathen-Jones, who are no longer working in agricultural journalism.

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.

The NFYFC wants to appoint a Digital Communications Officer and Lewis Business Media needs a Poultry and Online Editor. Full details 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.

Mike Bridgen is no longer news editor of The Northern Farmer but continues to compile the farming pages for the Darlington & Stockton Times on a freelance basis. He can be contacted using his Newsquest email.

Alasdair Cox has been appointed director of operations at the James Hutton Institute, responsible for the delivery of communications, estate, human resources and IT functions. He was previously interim head of professional services at SRUC. He can be contacted using his new email address.

Alistair Driver has left his role as political editor on Farmers Guardian to become editor of Pig World at Lewis Business Media. He has a new email address. Former editor Graeme Kirk continues to produce the Weekly Tribune pig markets newsletter.

Sarah Palmer has joined the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC) as full-time Agri Officer and Communications Manager. She can be reached on 02476 857213 or 07827 816342 or by email.

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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