British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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BGAJ eAlert - August 2016

Special event at Darts Farm, Topsham, Devon

Members and Friends of the Guild are invited to a special event – featuring photography training, networking, a farm walk and some good old-fashioned socialising over a pint.

This new south-west initiative by Council Member Olivia Cooper begins by meeting at The Bridge Inn, Topsham, for lunch at 12.30pm on Friday, 30 September.

The group will then head over to Darts Farm to meet Michael Dart, who will tell us how his family created this award-winning farm shop, as well as his Nuffield scholarship on the value of food.

The afternoon will comprise theory and practical training on farm photography by Peter Dean of Agripicture Images and a Member of the Guild.

Bring your own camera for tuition in portraits, indoor and outdoor shots; there may even be a competition for the best photo of the day!

The programme will finish with some home-made tea and cakes at Darts Farm, followed by an opportunity for some retail therapy or a few drinks back at the pub for those who fancy it.

This is an ideal opportunity to get to know your Guild colleagues better, especially those in the south-west, including journalists, photographers, videographers and PR consultants all specialising in the agricultural sector.

It is also a chance to sharpen up your photography skills and potentially generate some editorial on this fascinating farm and retail enterprise.

Sponsored by Agri-hub and Agripicture Images, the cost is just £20 each, including lunch and tea.

Please do invite non-members to join us, at a cost of £25 a head – if they sign up to the Guild the extra will be refunded. Any surplus generated will be paid to the BGAJ Charitable Trust.

Please book your place by September 16 by emailing or call on 01392 840009.

Harvest Lunch update

Tickets remain available for our forthcoming Harvest Service and Lunch – but there are now little more than three weeks to go before the flagship event in London on Friday, 23 September.

The annual Harvest Lunch is a highlight of the Guild year – and a chance to catch up with Guild Members, Friends and Guests old and new.

Bringing together decision-makers, influencers and opinion formers, the Harvest Lunch is an ideal networking opportunity for journalists.

It is also an excellent opportunity for PR consultants to entertain clients.

We would urge those who haven't yet done so to secure their tickets as soon as possible. For full details, please click here.

Guild Member Jo Learmonth to visit China

Freelance journalist and Guild Member Jo Learmonth is among 12 agricultural journalists and communicators from around the globe who have been specially selected to visit China.

Jo and her fellow journalists will be taking part in the 5th International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Exposure-4-Development tour during late September.

The initiative, sponsored by AGCO, will focus on agriculture and mechanisation.

The 12 jury-selected journalists will travel to Beijing, Changzhou and Shanghai for a first-hand look at farming and development in the world’s most densely populated country.

Cooking up a Thai feast with Perkins

The writing talents of four Members of the Guild were celebrated in fine style at the presentation of the 2016 Perkins Power on the Farm Award with a Thai cookery experience and lunch at The Ivy restaurant in London entertaining the winners. To find out who the successful entrants were, visit the Perkins award page on the Guild website here.

Fresh focus for agricultural freelancer

Guild Member, freelance journalist and PR consultant Ben Pike has rebranded and expanded by launching a new communications business. Read more...

Agri-hub meets growing demand with new appointment

Agri-hub, the agricultural media service, has appointed a new editorial and PR assistant. Read more...

Guild members join IFAJ 2016 in Germany

Members of the British Guild joined agricultural journalists from across the world at the 2016 IFAJ conference in Germany this summer. Read more...

International farm journalists elect new leaders

Representatives from 41 countries elected new leaders at the 60th International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Delegate Assembly. Read more...

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Charitable Trust prize draw

Set up to help Members young and old when they face a period of financial or other difficulty, the Guild's Charitable Trust continues to build up 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. In the last draw, announced at the annual meeting, Jane Craigie and John Kenyoneach won £50, Louise Impey netted £100 and Teresa Wickham took the top prize of £250.

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

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:

Justine Hards, Publications and PR Co-ordinator, LEAF, Unit 175 Avenue J, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwicks CV8 2TL. Mobile: 07775 383039 Email:

Alistair McLaren, Senior Marcomms Manager, AHDB, Unit 201, 5th Street, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwicks CV8 2TL. Tel: 024 7647 8970 Email:

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.

CropLife International, an industry body that champions the role of agricultural innovations in crop protection and plant biotechnology to support and advance sustainable agriculture, has a 6-12 month placement opportunity in Brussels for someone interested in getting a foothold in global agricultural communications.

PR agency ABC has an opening for another team member at its offices near Shrewsbury with the potential to develop responsibilities, a client portfolio and earnings scale.

Find details of all posts 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. All Members and Friends of the Guild can be searched for (using various criteria) and contacted through the Guild's Farming Media Centre.

Adam Clarke has left Farmers Weekly to pursue a career as a freelance agricultural journalist specialising in arable farming topics and to continue his training as an agronomist. He can be contacted on 07751 235458, via email at or on Twitter (@adamclarke_1).

Tony McDougal has moved to Dorset, from where he is freelancing on agricultural topics including poultry while also providing media communications for Dorset County Council and the Dorchester Agricultural Society’s Dorset County Show. He can be contacted at 15 Treves Road, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 2HD. Tel: 07766 133788 Email:

Ben Pike has a new email address ( as a result of expanding and rebranding his freelance journalism and PR consultancy. All other contact details are unchanged.

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.

Additions to Farming Media Centre publications

Two publications have been added to the Farming Media Centre directory on the Guild website. Scottish Farming Leader is the membership magazine of NFU Scotland, edited by new Member of the Guild, Ruth McLean, while FarmLand is a new print and digital magazine covering agricultural news, event information, smallholders, food and recipes, auction marts and sale details.

Publication missing? If you know of a specialist farming title, regional publication or a newspaper with regular farming coverage that is missing from the directory, please notify Peter Hill – ideally, with a PDF of the front cover (or the farming page in the case of a newspaper) and contact details of the editor or agricultural correspondent.

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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