British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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GAJ eAlert - November 2011

NOAH Award deadline – December 31

Details of this year’s NOAH-sponsored Guild award celebrating excellence in the reporting of animal health and welfare issues have been circulated to members through a dedicated Award eAlert, which is archived on the website under Member Communications. The award is open to news stories or features – whether broadcast or published in print or online – throughout 2011.

Sell-out Christmas cards

This year's Guild Christmas card – featuring an image donated by member Theresa Eveson – has been a sell-out success with all 1500 cards purchased before the end of November. Apologies to anyone hoping to order some; but a big ‘thank you’ to those who bought cards and supported the Guild’s Charitable Trust; and to Matt Mellor and colleagues at ABC for handling the packing and posting.

Harvest Service and Harvest Lunch

The Charitable Trust also benefited from fund-raising activities at the new-look Harvest Lunch, which celebrated the best of British produce with a bespoke meal at Stationers’ Hall in the City of London following a packed Harvest Service in St Bride’s Church. Several reports on the event, at which the Princess Royal was guest of honour, are published on the Guild website News pages. Read complimentary comments from members and guests here and watch the video posted here for a flavour of the event - as well as positive reflections on the value of Guild membership.

Sponsors and Supporters

The Harvest Service and Harvest Lunch benefitted enormously from generous sponsorship in cash or kind, some of which has already been pledged again for next year.

The Harvest Service was sponsored by Shepherd Publishing, managed by Guild member Howard Venters. Based at the Sheep Centre, Malvern, Worcs, Shepherd Publishing was established in 1996 to produce a high quality journal on behalf of the National Sheep Association. It has since developed into a highly respected publishing operation specialising in all aspects of the livestock industry.  Titles include Sheep Farmer (NSA), Beef Farmer (NBA), Cattle Breeder(BCBC), The Woolman (Worshipful Company of Woolmen), Wool Producer (Campaign for Wool), Grass & Forage Farmer (BGS) and British Livestock (export promotion).

Lloyds TSB Agriculture was principal sponsor of the Harvest Lunch, as part of its engagement with agricultural journalists and the farming industry as a whole. Mark Lawrence, Agriculture Marketing Manager said: “Our commitment and support of British agriculture runs deep and in addition to providing a wide range of financial and banking services to our customers, we are heavily involved in a number of farming sector activities. We were delighted to support the Guild’s Harvest Lunch in 2011 and to have helped facilitate the move to the wonderful surroundings of the Stationers’ Hall.” A publication introducing Lloyds TSB to Guild members can be read here.

At the pre-lunch reception, sponsored by Keenan, English sparkling wines were provided by Bluebell Vineyard Estates in Sussex and for the meal, caterer Life’s Kitchen worked with main lunch sponsor Waitrose, which also supplied the table wine, the Jersey Cattle Society and sourcing agency Partners in Purchasing to gather ingredients complementary to the mutton supplied by Oxford-based FAI Farms.

Seasonal produce from Covent Garden-based wholesalers Allison Risebroand DDP Ltd were all traced to individual producers, whose details were available in a leaflet for members and guests on the day. Suppliers also included Arla FoodsBaxtersDaniels GroupEnglish ProvenderFine Lady BakeriesGraham’s DairiesLactalisLongley Farm Dairy and Finsbury Foods baker Nicholas & Harris.

A superb display of harvest produceassembled by long-time Guild supporters Bill and Andree Kelsey of Kelsey's Farm Shop, together with Allison Risebro and DDP, was admired by members and guests on arrival. It was donated to meals charity Foodcycle after the event.

Guild member Ian Damms and his colleague Mark Spikings at Breeze & Freeze provided free photography and filming to record the event. Ian has been a member since attending one of the first training schemes back in the early 1990s. Since then he and his team have produced knowledge transfer materials and promotional videos for the agricultural industry around the World from offices in Northants and Devon. “Using video, 3D graphics, still images and software programming techniques, I believe we produce some of the most innovative digital media seen in the industry,” says Ian.

Guild new entrants' training scheme

Steve Mitchell of ASM PR organised another successful training scheme for prospective new entrants into agricultural journalism, with the enthusiastic support of sponsor and host John Deere, and professional training consultant David Mascord. The John Deere award for the best article written during the course was presented to 18-year old Matthew Sharp at the Harvest Lunch. Read a full report in the Awardssection of the Guild website.

International news

Details of a journalists workshop on Serbian agriculture (May 16-21, 2012), reflections on the value of a young journalists' development course at the IFAJ Congress and a study on the value of rural radio are among the topics covered in the latest edition of IFAJ News from the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, which can be read here.

Sweden's agricultural journalist Guild hosts next year's IFAJ Congress on August 15-19, with optional tour programmes preceding and following this unique gathering of farm writers and broadcasters from around the World. Full details will be released soon.

Focus on farm contractors

Guild member Jill Hewitt, chief executive of the National Association of Agricultural Contractors, reminds fellow members that the organisation's annual conference on December 8 at the East of England Showground, will provide a valuable source of copy on a sector that plays an increasingly important role in farm business management. Contact Jill (08456 511245).

Jobs & Recruitment

As a service to members, brief details of vacant positions are mentioned in Guild eAlerts but publishers, agencies and other organisations can put full information about posts in front of the Guild's 450 members by using the recruitment advertising service. See the Guild website here for full details. The service can also be used to invite tenders for publishing and press/public relations contracts.

Guild member Anna Davies of Scene & Herd PR & Marketing would appreciate some freelance writing support from a fellow member in Scotland able to put in a few hours a week writing material for clients in the rural business / food and drink sector. Interested? Contact Anna by email or her on 07775 894012.

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 eAlert Archive section of the Guild website.

Photographer and agricultural film maker Ian Damms has moved to the West Country, establishing a satellite office for his Breeze & Freeze business in the process. He now lives at Higher Week Farm, High Bickington, Umberleigh, Devon EX37 9BW. Tel: 01769 560699 or mob: 07899 897694. He will also use the existing office in Northampton.

The Western Mail’s long-serving agricultural editor, Guild member Steve Dubé, has ended his career with the Welsh title by taking voluntary redundancy. He has a book launch coming up and welcomes offers of commissions; he also has a new email.

Northants-based freelance PR and marketing consultant Clare Harwood also has a new email address.

Members past and present

Former Yorkshire Post agricultural editor Bob Benson is continuing to recover after a serious stroke and is now resident, with Jennie, in a Surrey bungalow run by The Journalists Charity, an organisation that supports journalists and their families in times of difficulty.

Bob would doubtless welcome correspondence from friends and former colleagues addressed to 9 Ribblesdale, Roman Road, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 3DX. Alternatively, he can be reached by email.

Retired PR and journalist Derek Watson lives in the charity’s residential home, which is also in Dorking.

Former British Farmer & Stockbreeder northern correspondent Colin Jackson has added his recollections of working with the late Alan Barker to the obituary published on the Guild website.

New members

Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild can download a 'benefits of membership' leaflet and an application form by visiting the Guild website here, where there is also an informative video. Alternatively, contact membership secretary Liz Snaith.

The Guild is delighted to welcome the following new member: Rebecca Pow, Freelance journalist/PR, Tuckers Farmhouse, Stoke St Mary, Taunton, Somerset TA3 5BY. Tel: 01823 443816 Mobile: 07900 685303 Email


What's on the Guild website?

Journalists who are members of ALCS (the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society) need to submit claims for a share of Royalty fees for articles published in 2010 by the end of December. See the Copyright page of the Guild website for details.

On the website News pages ……

Farmers Guardian backs fund raising event New recruit to team Mike Parker Sara Gregson starts blogging on grass Guild course student joins RDP Sandy Cox keen to get his boots muddy Pinstone wins Nuffield Scholarships PR Emma Penny's Editor of the Year title

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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