British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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BGAJ eAlert - October 2014

Harvest Service and Luncheon

The Guild’s annual Harvest Service and Luncheon proved a popular success again, thanks to the generous support of Shepherd Publishing, Waitrose, Keenan, Partners In Purchasing, Alison Risebro, Kelsey Farm Shops and Jersey Cattle Society. New Guild chaplain Revd George Pitcher conducted the service for the first time and Guild member Philippa Spackman read her chosen poem to celebrate harvest. There are reports in News on the Guild website and a gallery of pictures taken by freelance Ruth Downing.

Award presentations

The presentation of Guild awards was a highlight of the Harvest Lunch at Stationers Hall, with Steve Mitchell a well and truly “gobsmacked” winner of the prestigious Netherthorpe Award. Read why he got the judges’ vote here, and click on these web page links to discover the worthy winners of the Guild’s Yara and Keenan journalism awards.

Charitable Trust builds capital

The Guild’s charitable trust, which helps members young and old in times of difficulty, built its capital fund through an auction and prize draw at the Harvest Lunch. Find out who secured the Wimbledon Centre Court tickets or took home a bunch of welcome prizes here. The Trustees have decided not to publish a Guild Christmas Card this year as the cost of production has now reached the point that the income it generates is no longer worthwhile.

Guild council recruiting

Several members of the Guild’s management Council will step down at the annual meeting in March – either voluntarily or because Guild rules require them to – so there is an opportunity for fresh faces with fresh ideas to take their places around the meeting table at The Farmers Club.

“Your elected Council manages the affairs of the Guild, and have meetings three times a year in London with travel expenses paid, and three times online,” explains chairman Jane Craigie. “Although we make collective decisions on key issues, individuals take responsibility for such things as member recruitment, member communications, training and professional development, Under 35s membership, the awards, events, finance and representation with the Charitable Trust and the international journalist organisations to which we’re affiliated.

“We all derive great satisfaction from seeing the Guild doing well and offering new opportunities for members to meet, socialise, network, travel, learn new skills and have the quality of their work recognised through the awards,” she adds. “Just give me a call or send an email to find out more to help decide whether you would like to be involved.”

IFAJ Congress 2014 videos

A lively video recording some of the highlights of IFAJ Congress 2014 hosted by the Guild in September has been posted online. Shot and edited by Guild member Ian Damms and his colleagues at Breeze & Freeze, and sponsored by Agrovista, the video shows the main Congress tour visits and the traditional Scottish hospitality and entertainment that the world-wide delegates enjoyed. The video can be seen here where links are also provided to other videos from the event.

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 can claim a share of annual licensing fees (or Copyright Royalties) from ALCS, the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society. To make a claim, which can include missed claims for the preceding three years, members must register with ALCS. 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.

European deadlines

Deadlines are fast approaching for two awards promoted by DG-Agri, the European Commission’s food and agricultural directorate.

This Friday, October 24 is the deadline for entries to the ENAJ Young Journalists Contest for articles on a CAP topic. The top three winners get to rub shoulders with the DG-Agri team – including the Commissioner – and fellow journalists at a Brussels networking event early January or early February next year. Details here.

Entrants for the DG-Agri CAP Communication Awards have until the end of next week - Friday, October 31 - to submit projects and campaigns on agriculture and rural development aimed at  stakeholders and general public. Details here.

Maintaining regional coverage

It's good to see that Archant Norfolk has appointed a new farming and food editor to continue coverage of agricultural issues in the Eastern Daily Press newspaper. Chris Hill succeeds Guild member Michael Pollitt, who stepped down this summer after almost 30 years in the role. The new farming correspondent previously worked as community editor at EDP’s Dereham office; he is now overseeing the Farm & Country pages and the annual Agricultural Review publication.

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 AHDB’s English Beef and Lamb Executive – EBLEX – is looking for a Technical Communications Officer to bring additional skills and capacity to a busy press office, helping maintain the image of the livestock sector, informing producers about its work and communicating the benefits of beef and lamb to a broad audience. More details here.

Year Book updates

Update the Guild Year Book with the new job, location and contact details noted here, as well as any new Member and Friend listings below. Earlier updates can be found in the eAlerts Archivesection of the Guild website. Remember to send change of job, address, telephone or email details to Guild secretary Nikki Robertson.

Publication of the 2014/15 Year Book has been deferred but Members and Friends should continue to notify the Guild secretary of any changes (eg home or business address, telephone numbers and email address) needed for the next edition.

Godfrey Brown, retired Member and former Fleet Street farming correspondent, has a new email address:

Simon Gee has left his role in marketing at breed society Holstein UK but is pursuing his interests in cattle breeding and sustainable agriculture through freelancing from home: Meadow House, Basingstoke Road, Kingsclere, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 5NT. Tel: 01635 297627 Mobile: 07935 908795 Email:

Eddie Gillanders, publishing editor of Farm North East, has a new email address:

Bridget Johnson, former Bidwells communications executive, has stepped down from the Guild now that her role at the agency has changed.

Julie Scanlon has returned to the UK after 11 years living and working in the United States. She is at a temporary address in Derbyshire while looking at new job opportunities in communications, as well as dairy farming tenancies. Julie can be reached by Tel: 01433 670390 Mobile 07580 378080 and Email:

Melanie Scott left The Scottish Farmer after 14 years when her post was declared redundant. She is now working as a freelance rural consultant specialising in agricultural and equestrian marketing and communications. Melanie can be contacted at Birtlebog Farm, Kilbirnie, Ayrshire KA25 7LJ. Mobile: 07918 591696. Email:

Rog Wood, agricultural correspondent for The Herald, Glasgow, acquired a new email address ( but lost his contacts list in the process! He asks any Guild member with whom he has regular contact to forward their details to him.

New Members and Friends

Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild can direct them to the Membership Benefits website page here, where a PDF leaflet is available to download. Anyone involved in agriculture who would like to establish or maintain links with the Guild and its Members can become a Friend to receive eAlerts, attend events and be listed in the Year Book.

On the Guild website….

Learn more about the supportive work for members and their families carried out by trustees who manage the Guild’s Charitable Trust.

In News on the Guild website

Guild members support Addington Fund

Peter Allen

Timely refresh for Beef Farmer magazine

Guild members celebrate 80 years of Farmers Weekly

Members and guests praise Harvest Service and Lunch

Talk of biodynamic farming at Harvest Luncheon

Prize winners galore in Charitable Trust draw

Another successful 'camera off auto' workshop

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 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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