British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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GAJ eAlert - January 2012

Subscriptions for 2012

Following a detailed review of the projected impact of higher costs on Guild finances in 2012, the management Council has agreed an increase in subscriptions for full Members and Friends from £63 to £66, while the rate for members with Retired status will rise from £31.50 to £33.00 per year.

“Council members are well aware of the current pressures on members’ finances and have kept subscriptions to the minimum necessary to maintain a healthy and effective Guild,” says Tim Price, Guild treasurer (pictured). “A number of changes to the way the Guild operates means we have been able to keep the increases below the rate of inflation while improving the opportunities and services available to members.

“The number of people serving on the Guild’s management council has been reduced and Guild administration streamlined,” Tim adds. “At the same time, the Guild’s higher profile in the agricultural industry has attracted generous sponsorship, which is helping us to further improve our website, awards and events without reflecting these additional costs in members’ subscriptions.”

However, increasing costs for travel and for staging events and meetings – plus the impact of exchange rate fluctuations on the annual payment to our international body, the IFAJ – means that the small increase is necessary.

“The value of Guild membership has never been greater,” Tim emphasises. “As well as being part of a professional network of communication specialists in agricultural journalism and PR, membership brings many opportunities for professional development, building contacts in Britain and overseas, and for competing for awards.”

For a reminder of these and other benefits, visit the Guild website here where a video gives some members’ views on the value of the organisation.

“As usual, subscriptions for 2012 will be collected by Direct Debit on February 14,” notes Tim. “The new subscription amounts will be collected automatically – members do not need to take any action themselves.”

Please address any subscription queries or receipt requests to Guild treasurer Tim Price.

Welcome sponsorship

Tractor and harvest machinery manufacturer AGCO has confirmed its continued sponsorship of the Guild’s monthly eAlerts and also of this year’s annual meeting in March. AGCO’s generous involvement with the Guild, through member Paul Lay who heads up the marketing communications department, is typical of the support received from a number of commercial organisations. Opportunities are always available – Guild members with businesses or clients wishing to offer their support in cash or kind are welcome to contact Guild chairman Adrian Bell.

Regional journalism award

Details of the Guild's Stuart Seaton award for regional journalism have been circulated to all members via an Award eAlert. This is a great opportunity for a regional newspaper to be recognised for its committment to informing non-farming readers about agriculture and rural affairs – and for the journalist involved, too. Farming correspondents can enter or be nominated by their Editor; and this is the only Guild award open to non-members. Friday, February 24 is the deadline for entries.

Beef mailing

The National Beef Association is in the process of improving its list of press contacts for press release mailings. Any Guild member who does not get NBA releases and would like to should contact Helen Dobson. Likewise to have NBA press releases sent to a colleague or to be removed from the mailing list.

International news

Member organisations of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) raised more than £11,700 in donations to help the Japanese journalists’ Guild contribute to post-tsunami development in the country.

In the latest IFAJ News (which can be read here), the IFAJ president Mike Wilson notes that farm journalists from China, Brazil, Argentina and Africa were among participants in a Master Class professional development programme as the organisation embraces more nations.

Farming in Sweden

Registration for this year’s IFAJ Congress in Sweden opens on February 10. The Congress, which runs over four days in August (15-19), includes a choice of eight visits to see different aspects of farming and rural enterprise in the country. If they wish, Guild members can add a two-day visit to Finland before the Congress, or stay on afterwards for a trip to Gotland, the biggest island of Sweden situated in the Baltic Sea. Full details here.

Get a flavour of past Congresses here or talk to Guild chairman Adrian Bell or IFAJ representative Joe Watson about the value and enjoyment of an IFAJ congress experience.


Guild members aged 35 years or less can apply for a €1000 (£830) scholarship to help cover the registration and travel costs involved in attending the Congress in Sweden. The IFAJ-Alltech scholarship is available to 10 agricultural journalists around the World and the British Guild has been successful in putting forward candidates on several occasions. To apply for the Guild’s single nomination, download the application document from the IFAJ website here (Under 35s co-ordinator Liz Snaith and Guild secretary Clemmie Gleeson can offer some guidance on what's required) and dig out three top-class examples of published work. Applications are needed by February 15 so that a nominee can be put forward ahead of the IFAJ’s selection deadline.

Guild training scheme success

The Guild’s new entrant training scheme, sponsored by John Deere and organised by Guild member Steve Mitchell (pictured) of ASM PR, has notched up another success with the appointment of former student Rhian Price as a reporter on Poultry World. Rhian had three work experience days on the Farmers Weekly Group publication as part of the course. She has also worked freelance and as a PR assistant.

The annual course for around 10 students meets an important objective of the Guild – to help attract fresh talent to agricultural journalism and commercial communications.

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.

Freelance photographer Peter Adams has a new email address.

Philip Connolly has left Merial to offer communications expertise on a freelance basis. He can be contacted by email or mobile 07722 167224

Freelance journalist and Guild secretary Clemmie Gleeson has a new telephone number for work and Guild matters: 01692 402313.

New Members

Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild can download a 'benefits of membership' leaflet in pdf form here and an application form here. Alternatively, contact membership secretary Liz Snaith.

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new Members…

Rachael Holdsworth, freelance journalist and PR, The Old Nursery Office, Rock Road, Washington, West Sussex RH20 3BQ. Tel: 01903 892060 Mobile: 07850 017587 Email

Debbie Mather, PR and Marketing Manager, Frontier Agriculture, Witham St Hughs, Lincoln LN6 9TN. Tel: 01522 556140 Mobile: 07799 861708 Email

Alison Wilson PhD, Media Officer, The Food & Environment Research Agency, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ. Tel: 01904 462380 Mobile: 07920 297631 Email

….and also the following new Friends of the Guild:

John Giles, Divisional Director, Promar International Ltd, Alpha Building, London Road, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 7JW. Tel: 01270 616795 Mobile: 07768 553298 Email

Milly Wastie, RABI regional officer East Midlands and NFYFC vice-chairman, 9 Styles Place, Yelvertoft, Northampton NN6 6LR. Mobile: 07525 323450 Email

What's on the Guild website?

The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) has published the 2012 deadlines for a full programme of writing, broadcasting and photography awards. See the Dates & Deadlines page on the Guild website for details.

On the website News pages ……

Pastures new for Philip Connolly New Friend profile: John Giles New Friend profile: Milly Wastie

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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