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GAJ eAlert - March 2011

Year Book - final call for amendments - deadline March 31.

Wendy and Peter Ryder, who publish the Guild's Year Book, asks for any final amendments to the members' entries for the 2011/12 edition due to be published in June. The form should also be used by any member who joined since the last edition was published and is therefore not listed in that edition.


Regional group events

All members are welcome to attend regional meetings, not just those in the regions concerned. But register an interest in any events with the organiser in case numbers are restricted.

Eastern  Members have the opportunity to visit two Velcourt-managed farms near King's Lynn in Norfolk. The two units are adjacent to each other, but that is where the similarities end, says eastern region Guild organiser Louise Impey. One is owned by a progressive, German industrialist, who has invested heavily in both machinery and infrastructure; the other has been in the same family for many years and is run along more traditional lines. The two farm managers will explain their different approaches and show how both businesses are preparing for future challenges.

As both farm managers would give up their own time for a visit, Louise appeals to members to contact her with a firm commitment that they would like to attend before she makes a commitment to Velcourt. Plans are to hold the event in early May, meeting at around 5pm, so that as many members as possible can attend. Please email Louise to register an interest and highlight any preferred dates - or particular dates to avoid.

Year Book updates 

Doreen Forsyth has resumed working as a freelance public relations consultant after a period working in an agency. Doreen specialises in dairy and livestock production. Her contact details are now: Tel 01665 713522/07968 772531. Email

William Surman has left the Farmers Guardian London office for Brussels where he has taken up the role of Communications and Parliamentary Coordinator for the British Agriculture Bureau, which represents the NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru and Ulster Farmers Union. His new contact details are: Tel 0032 2285 0587. Email:


Terry Jones has relinquished his post as director of communications at the NFU to join the Food & Drink Federation as its Director of Communications. From early April his new contact details will be: Tel 0207 420 7316.  Email:


Andrew Watts is to leave Farm Business at Easter after three years in the role to pursue a career as a freelance journalist and PR consultant. After relocating to Oxfordshire with his girlfriend, Andrew will pursue his interests in political and economic analysis and technical writing relating to the arable and livestock sectors. "My time at Farm Business has been immensely rewarding, but personal life has to come first and my girlfriend and I see ourselves settling in the West of England longer term.  I look forwarding to developing the close relationships I established over the past eight years since beginning with Farmers Weekly, first as a news reporter and food chain writer before enjoying a brief period as deputy machinery editor.  Andrew can be contacted on 07966 028 734 or emailed at

John Swire, editor of Agriculture & Industry News, has a new mobile phone number: 07825 291 243

New members

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new members. Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining can contact membership secretary Liz Snaith.

Jane Carley, freelance specialising in farm and groundscare machinery, 3 Red Lion Court, Warwick Road, Kineton, Warwickshire CV35 ONX. Tel: 01926 645981 Mobile: 07790 484482 Email:

Janine Heath, video journalist / press officer, Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire TF10 8NB. Tel: 01952 815428 Email:

Sharon Hockley, senior press and PR officer, NFU, Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire CV8 2TZ. Tel: 02476 858678 Mobile: 07966 204137 Email:

The following have joined as Friends of the Guild:

Trevor Clarke, Editor, The Clench, Shornhill Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, Glos GL54 4BJ. Tel: 01242 890550 Mobile: 07717 804099 Email:

Ian Leach, Business General Manager, Alltech UK Ltd, Ryhall Road, Stamford, Lincs PE9 ITZ. Tel: 01780 764512 Email:

Rob Yorke, land agent and rural commentator, Gelliwelltog, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 7LR. Tel: 01873 890305 Mobile: 07900 891564 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 that wish to put full details about a post in front of the Guild's 450 members involved in journalism and commerciall communications. More details about this service are available on the website here.

PR Executive  Livestock sector PR specialist Liz Snaith wants to recruit a graduate, ideally with some experience of pedigree livestock, to join her established agency.

PR Manager  Communications agency RDP Advertising & Marketing, run by Guild member Angus Chalmers, is recruiting a PR specialist to join the Gloucestershire-based business as an Account Manager. The closing date for applications is April 8.

Sub-editor  Guild member Jane Potts, editor of the monthly regional magazine Farmers Guide, wants to appoint a freelance sub-editor to work for about a week a month (depending on the size of the issue) to help the production process and flow of copy and images. The process can be handled electronically so the person concerned would not have to work at Farmers Guide's Ipswich offices.

Charitable Trust 

Diane Montague, the Guild Charitable Trust treasurer, reports that David Collett was the lucky £250 winner in the latest draw among 200 Club subscribers. Former Guild president Baroness Hazel Byford won £100, and £50 each was won by freelance journalist Peter Reynolds and communications consultant George Chancellor.

A number of shares are available to members, family, friends and colleagues who would like to support the discreet but excellent work of the Trust. The annual subscription is £10 each and individuals may hold up to 10 shares, which obviously increases the chance of winning a cash prize in the two draws held every year.

Guild member Mike Gooding made a winning £250 bid for a day’s exclusive fishing on a Scottish river, organised  by Arthur Anderson and donated by Howard Venters. This will be added to the Trust’s capital investments, which provide funds to supplement the practical help provided by Trustees to members who find themselves in difficulty.

Read more about the work of the Trust and its fund-raising activities here.

What's on the website?  A new website page acknowledges the generous sponsorship and other contributions to Guild activities.

The News pages record the sad deaths of current and former Guild members Ted Fellows, Judith Millman and Laurie Taylor - but also the happier news of Guild award wins for west-country journalist Peter Hall and Scots communications professional Ross Muir.

There are reports from the Guild's national annual meeting at which Adrian Bell of Whisper PR was elected chairman, and on the press briefing that followed on priorities for UK agriculture to help meet the demands of a growing global population.

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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