British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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BGAJ eAlert - October 2013

Harvest Service & Lunch

Three attractive locations - St Brides Church off Fleet Street; Stationers Hall near St Paul's Cathedral, and the Press House wine bar beneath St Brides Church tower - were the venues for a very enjoyable annual Harvest Service, Harvest Luncheon and post-event drinks for Members, Friends and guests of the Guild.

Guest speaker Lt Col Hugh Campbell-Smith, commanding officer of the Queen's Own Yeomanry, spoke of the connections between the Army, rural communities and people who work in farming particulary - see News. He urged rural businesses to support employees who are Army Reservists and to encourage others to join, and he asked Guild members to help publicise the benefits of serving in a Reserve regiment, both to the individual and employer.

More than 200 people enjoyed the drinks reception and luncheon at Stationers Hall - go to the event picture gallery to get a flavour of the day.

Awards presented

Members of the Guild were delighted recipients of several awards during the Harvest Lunch: click on the links to the Guild’s Netherthorpe, Yara, and Keenan award website pages, and IFAJ Star Prizeaward page, to find out who they were – and why.

More help please!

A number of Members and Friends of the Guild are helping shape a programme of professional development workshops by completing a short online questionnaire - but more responses are needed to get a true picture of needs and preferences.

"So far, 90 per cent of respondents are interested in professional development and aim to do one to 10 days' training a year," says Julie Mate, who is heading the initiative on the Guild council. "The two most popular courses selected on the questionnare are writing for the web and features writing. Among Members and Friends engaged in PR, workshop topics favoured so far are strategic PR management, digital marketing and ways of measuring and evaluating PR activities."

To contribute, access the short SurveyMonkey online questionnaire here. The questionnaire also asks how far people would be prepared to travel, where the best locations for workshops would be, and what they would consider a reasonable fee. "To evaluate interest properly, I really need some more respondents," adds Julie."

Christmas greetings aid Charitable Trust

What better way is there for Members and Friends to send seasonal greetings than the Guild's own Charitable Trust card for Christmas. A delightful image donated by freelance photographer John Eveson, Member of the Guild, shows a ewe standing alert in a snowy landscape.

The cards, with the Guild logo and greeting Peace and Goodwill at Christmas, are available in packs of 25 for £15 (including postage and packing). As usual, the team at PR agency AgriBusiness Communications is generously handling orders. All proceeds go to the fund that helps members past and present at times of health or financial difficulty.

Transfer membership to the 'new Guild'

All Members of the Guild with voting rights should have received a separate eAlert inviting them to transfer membership to the 'new Guild', a company limited by guarantee that will function as before but with a properly established legal status. Retired and Honorary members, as well as Friends of the Guild, are simply required for the purposes of company law to sign a declaration that they wish to be an 'associate' of the 'new Guild' and will have received their own eAlert to that effect.

In both cases, secretary Nikki Robertson asks that the respective documents are signed and returned as soon as possible.

The Guild has been granted dispensation not use 'Ltd' in its incorporated title and in order to accept the word 'British', Companies House required proof of the organisation's pre-eminence as the representative organisation for rural journalists in Great Britain. The case was successfully made, supported by a copy of Peter Bell's history of the Guild and a letter from Canadian journalism lecturer Owen Roberts, a vice-president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ). The glowing reference from Owen, which highlights the Guild's high standing among IFAJ guilds and rural press associations worldwide, can be read here.

The Guild is indebted to William Neville (right top), food and agriculture partner at solicitors Burges Salmon and Alick Jones (right), agriculture policy director at Lloyds Bank Agriculture. They helped define the most suitable course of action for the Guild's new status and gave invaluable advice during the incorporation process, giving freely of their time to support the Guild.

Members of the Guild should also applaud Adrian Bell, who began the incorporation process during his time as Guild chairman and has seen it through to the end, putting in huge effort to research the options and get sound guidance from advisers before successfully handling the application process.

Farming strategy conference

Two Friends of the Guild are contributing to an Institute of Agricultural Management conference in November on future planning for a successful agricultural business.

Bidwell's agribusiness consultant Ian Ashbridge will tackle the issue of remumeration to retain management talent in the industry, while IAgrM chairman Tim Brigstocke will chair the event. Lead contributor is the Guild's 2013 annual meeting guest speaker, George Freeman MP, who will detail the Government's £160m strategy for agricultural technologies. Another nine speakers will aim to answer the question posed by the conference: Which way forward now we have the strategies? They will focus on agri-science, water, input supply and the people and systems needed.

Media enquiries for the conference being held on Thursday, November 28, should be directed to Ian Ashbridge in his role as communications officer for IAgrM ir Jane Craigie of Jane Craigie Marketing.

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 500 members involved in journalism and commercial communications. More details about this service are available on the website here.

The Country Land & Business Association (CLA) wishes to appoint a media communications manager to work out of its south-east England office near Andover, Hampshire. The successful candidate will have experience in this field and of social media and marketing, as well as understanding farming issues.

Agri-merchant Frontier is to appoint a new Communications Manager.

Kent-based consumer and enthusiast magazine publisher Kelsey Media invites candidates to apply for the post of freelance editor for its flagship agricultural title, Tractor & Machinery. A passion for tractors and the interests of enthusiastic operators and collectors, as well as experience in magazine production are key requirements of the role.

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.

Congratulations to Katie Lomas on her recent marriage; having adopted her husband’s family name, the Farmers Guardian livestock editor’s email address is now:

Likewise to Sarah Trickett, livestock editor on Farmers Weekly, who married her boyfriend in August to become Sarah Alderton (email:

There were celebrations too for the wedding in October of Joanne Pugh, National Sheep Association senior communications manager, and Ben BriggsFarmers Guardian news and business editor. Conveniently, Jo's NSA christian name email address is unaffected by becoming Mrs Briggs.

Aberdeen-based freelance Nancy Nicolson has a new email address:

Freelance writer and columnist David Richardson has swapped houses with his son, so now lives at: Brittons Farm, Wramplingham Road, Wymondham, Norfolk NR18 0SB. Phone and email details as shown in the Guild Year Book are unaffected.

Another who has upped sticks and moved all of a mile down the road is freelance Richard Saunders: 1 Suttons Close, Outwell, Norfolk PE14 8TA. No change to either email address or telephone number.

The Guild has lost contact with Bill Taylor, former editor of The Countryman magazine. If any Member or Friend of the Guild knows of his whereabouts and/or a telephone number or email address, please contact secretary Nikki Robertson.

Keep up to date with news and information about the Guild's big event in September next year at the website.

New Members and Friends

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.

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new Members:

Ralph Dickinson, PR Account Manager, Pinstone Communications Ltd, The Business Plaza, Leominster Enterprise Park, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 0LA. Tel: 01568 617629 Email:

Jez Fredenburgh, Business Reporter, Farmers Weekly, Reed Business Publishing, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS. Mobile: 07810 132920 Email:

Helen Harcombe, PR Account Manager, Pinstone Communications Ltd, The Business Plaza, Leominster Enterprise Park, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 0LA. Tel: 01568 617620 Email:

Lizzie Murrie, PR Account Executive, Pinstone Communications Ltd, The Business Plaza, Leominster Enterprise Park, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 0LA. Tel: 01568 617620 Email:

Ian Oliver, Communications Manager, HGCA, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwicks CV8 2TL. Tel: 02476 478728 Mobile: 07543 972156 Email:

In News on the Guild website:

Scene & Herd handling AgriScot PR  Guild members drive sheep across London Bridge  Weddings galore!  Record fund-raising for Guild Charitable Trust  Army and rural communities have mutual interests

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


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