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BGAJ eAlert - September 2012

Guild secretary appointed

The Guild has a new general secretary: Nikki Robertson has been appointed to the post following a round of interviews with several candidates keen to take on the part-time role.  She will also be secretary to the organising committee of the IFAJ Congress 2014, which the British Guild is staging in north-east Scotland. Read more about Nikki and her past association with the Guild in News on the website.

Harvest Lunch tickets on sale

Tickets for the Guild's annual Harvest Lunch are now on sale - an eAlert with booking form was distributed earlier this week.

Due to unexpected technical difficulties with the Guild's PayPal account, all payments will have to be made by cheque. Members who have already submitted a booking form - please send a cheque made out to 'Guild of Agricultural Journalists' to the secretary's address on the booking form. Members yet to make a reservation can do so by sending the booking form to the secretary with a cheque.

This memorable day begins with the Harvest Service at St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, starting promptly at 11am; a drinks reception at Stationers' Hall nearby at 12.15pm, followed by a splendid 'Best of British' meal, with wine included.

Tickets are very modestly priced for such an event thanks to generous contributions from main sponsor Lloyds TSB Agriculture, main food and drink supplier Waitrose, and drinks reception sponsor Richard Keenan.

The event will be rounded off by a moving rendition of Parting Glass by Claire Seaton, who will also perform during the Harvest Service with the St Bride's Church choir, sponsored by Shepherd Publishing.

Apres lunch refreshment will be available afterwards in a private room at Ye Olde London, a traditional ale house, close to Stationers' Hall.

Bid for Wimbledon centre court tickets

Two Centre Court tickets for next year’s Wimbledon tennis championships will be auctioned at the Harvest Lunch on October 11 for the benefit of the Guild’s Charitable Trust.

“These fantastic seats, kindly donated Grp Capt Grieve Carson, a long-time supporter of the Guild and a Trustee, are for the first day of the event, June 24,” notes trustees chairman, Stephen Howe. “They are located in a prime position on Centre Court directly opposite and on eye level with the Royal Box – so the successful bidder is guaranteed a good view when Federer opens next year’s Championships.

“Members, family, friends and colleagues needn’t miss out if they are not going to the Harvest Lunch,” adds Stephen. “I’ll be accepting email bids up to 6pm on Wednesday, October 10 – just make it a generous sum to have a good chance of securing these great tickets!”

Please note: the successful bidder must make the donation direct to the Trust. Tickets will be sent mid-May 2013 and under no circumstances can they be sold or passed on to a third party because of the risk that they end up on the black market.

Richard Keenan Innovation Award winners

The first winners of the Guild’s new award for articles and broadcasts on innovation in agriculture were announced during a popular members’ reception at Livestock 2012. The winning articles covered two very different topics – to find out what they are and who received the prizes visit the Richard Keenan Innovation Award page on the Guild website!


Several Guild members took part in the meetings, visits and entertainment that formed the IFAJ Congress 2012 in Sweden, which was rounded off with dinner in a spectacular setting in Stockholm. Get some impressions of the event here.

And to fully understand what attending a Congress means to some, read the comments of British Guild member Aly Balsom of Farmers Weekly and young American agri journalist Holly Spangler of Prairie Farmer who were chosen to join a select group for the Alltech-sponsored IFAJ Bootcamp professional development programme.


The September edition of IFAJ News profiles the new President and other officers elected at this year’s Congress; there is also a poll for members to take part in that questions whether practising farmers who also write are best-placed to do the job of a journalist. Read more here.

Photography award sponsor

The Guild is delighted to announce that SafaGrow, a specialist in formulated foliar fertilisers, has agreed to sponsor the Arable category of the Guild’s photography awards. The Peterborough-based business has products for cereals, oilseed rape, potatoes and sugar beet, claiming longer shelf life than the market standard and speedy nutrient uptake.

SafaGrow joins Livestock category sponsor JG Animal Heath; once a sponsor is found to provide the £750 prize fund for the Landscape/Environment category, the competition can be relaunched. Suggestions or offers to Council member Howard Venters, please.

Energy Now conference move

The Energy Now Expo conference and exhibition on renewable energy sources moves from its usual location in Worcestershire next February to the Telford International Centre, Telford, Shropshire. The event is organised by Renewable Energy Events and Energy Now magazine, edited by Guild member Roger Abbott. They are also staging a Scottish edition of the event at Ingliston on September 26-27.

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.

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.

Anthony Cave-Penney, retired sheep specialist, has a new email address:

Dr Philip Bell, freelance based at Amlwch on Anglesey, has a new email address:

Stuart Gibbard has returned to freelance journalism following the publisher's decision to close Vintage Tractor & Countryside Heritage, which he edited. He will be contributing to a number of titles and has several books in the pipeline but is happy to consider freelance work in the fields of vintage or modern tractors and machinery, and countryside heritage. Stuart will also be developing his archive, which is one of the largest privately-held historical resources for tractors, machinery, etc. Contact details: Prospect House, 196 Moulton Chapel Road, Moulton Chapel, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE12 0XB. Tel: 01406 380740; Mobile: 07971 547763; Email:

Hannah Goodwin is moving from the Pinstone Communications agency to join the Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) as a market intelligence analyst in the potato specialist team. Her new contact details are: Te: 02476 478840.

Joanne Pugh has moved from the National Beef Association, which she joined as assistant director a year ago, to become senior communications officer at the National Sheep Association. Her new contact details are Tel: 01684 892661; Email:

Clare Swaffer, editor of Milk Industry, was married a few weeks ago (congratulations!) so is now Clare Aspin. Her business email address continues unchanged.

New members

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

Photo kit for sale

Freelance Andrew Watts, keen to rationalise his collection of photography equipment, has been selling items through eBay and has three remaining: a 1.8m telescopic light stand; an umbrella/flash bracket for the light stand; and a Nikon SB 80DX Speedlight. A seven day auction begins on eBay this Saturday, September 22 – contact Andrew for more details: 07966 028 734.

What's on the Guild website?

A reminder for freelance Guild members to think about preparing Copyright claims with the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) for the February payment. See the Guild website here for more information on the scheme.

On the website News pages ……

Great prizes for Guild's Charitable Trust draw! Guild appoints new general secretary New website for Farmers Guide Philip Case heading to Brussels Sailing and client wins for Andrew Kendall From beef to sheep role for Joanne Pugh Bob Carruth's running wine challenge! Guild members at IFAJ Congress 2012 Judges praise Nancy Nicolson's video report

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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