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GAJ eAlert: February 2011

New website live! 

The Guild has a new website – and a new design for the monthly eAlerts to go with it. There are also some new features, including Search, an RSS feed that puts latest Guild News headlines on your internet browser, links to the Guild’s new Facebook and Twitter presence handled by Guild secretary Clemmie Gleeson, and a page acknowledging the valuable support that members of the Guild enjoy from a number of individuals and organisations.

Among them are machinery manufacturer AGCO; thanks to European communications manager, Guild member Paul Lay, AGCO continues to sponsor the eAlerts (and also the annual meeting) through its various tractor and machinery brands.

The Guild is also indebted to Perkins Engines, manufacturer of power solutions for agricultural and many other applications. Through Guild members Adrian Talbot and Annette Ward, the Perkins marketing and communications department has funded the design and development of the new website, provided some useful ideas on design and functionality, and committed to its ongoing funding over five years. Generous support indeed!

And all so that Guild members can enjoy a greater sense of community within their chosen profession by tapping into regular news, views and information about their fellow members and the publications and agencies involved in communication activities of all sorts in the agricultural, commercial horticulture and rural enterprise industries.

There is still some archive material to transfer from the previous website and more new features to add. In the meantime, all constructive feedback for ways of enhancing and improving the site is very welcome.

Peter Hill / Guild eAlerts & Website editor


The 68th Annual General Meeting of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Great Britain will be held at 10.30am on Thursday, March 17, 2011. It will be held at the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham. The main business will be to receive and approve the annual report and accounts, and to elect the Guild President, Chairman, Chaplain and Auditors.

Any member wishing to put a Motion to the meeting must submit it in writing to the Hon General Secretary at least 21 days beforehand. Members wishing to record apologies for absence or to raise issues under Any other business are also welcome to advise the secretary beforehand.

Clemmie Gleeson, Hon General Secretary, Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Great Britain, 1 Rose Villa, Anchor Road, Spa Common, North Walsham, Norfolk NR28 9AJ. Tel: 01692 402853  Email:

Don't be put off!  Annual meetings have a bit of a stuffy reputation. But rest assured that all the stops are being pulled out to make the event on March 17 that incorporates the Guild’s national and Midlands regional AGMs an interesting and enjoyable one. At least as good, in fact, as the first such event held last year when just a few weeks before the General Election, the meeting attracted prospective agriculture ministers to a debate (pictured below), some lively discussion and coverage in the leading farm and horticultural media.

For 2011, there will be a media briefing and discussion on the Government’s Global Food & Farming Futures policy report with particular emphasis on its implications for the UK. With Guild member David Richardson in the chair and a number of leading figures and organisations in the agricultural industry invited, expect some forthright views on this important document. Watch for more details on the website.

On a lighter note, judging by last year’s welcome contributions, there will be plenty of feedback from members on Guild activities and the things they would like the management Council to organise. And after a welcome buffet lunch, the exhibits of the National Motorcycle Museum will be available for everyone to visit.

So, clear the diary and for one day at least, give your membership of the Guild priority.

Guild subscriptions 2011  Annual Guild subscriptions were collected by Direct Debit on February 14. Please check bank statements and if this item does not appear or the incorrect sum has been collected, notify Guild treasurer Tim Price without delay. The 2011 subscription rate is £63 for Full members and Friends of the Guild, £31.50 for those who have applied for the Retired membership category.

Eastern region events  The Guild's Eastern Region co-ordinator, Louise Impey, asks all members in the region to seriously consider the type and scope of meetings and provide her with suggestions. Low attendance at the past two events was disappointing and, as she says, it is unrealistic for potential hosts to give up their time and open their doors to Guild members if there insufficient attendance.

"I'd like to know whether professional development sessions would be of more interest to members than visits to farms and businesses," she says. "I'd also like positive ideas for regional meetings."

Send an email to Louise or start a thread on the Guild's Facebook page (or on Twitter) to exchange views and ideas.

Edward Hart

Prolific writer and author of books on everything to do with sheep and heavy horses, Edward Hart, has died. See News for an obituary and to send in personal tributes and recollections.

In News on the Guild website:

  • a new editor for the Aberdeen-Angus cattle society magazine;
  • racy tales from Africa in a new book from George Macpherson;
  • a new IFAJ writing and broadcasting award in sustainable agriculture;
  • how to enter the IFAJ’s Star Prize agricultural photography awards
  • winners of the Guild’s own NOAH-sponsored animal health journalism awards

.......and a lot more besides.



Johann Tasker

01206 263807


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