British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
International Contacts, Annual Congress Tours, Professional Development, Writing & Photo Awards, Freelance Directory
Members of the Guild are also members of...

Guild eAlert - August 2011

Guild / Yara Journalism Awards deadline – Friday, August 26 All members should have received an entry form through the post for the Guild’s Yara sponsored journalism awards for 2011. As ever, Yara’s generous sponsorship provides the winners of each category with a £1000 cash prize and a place at the Guild Harvest Service and Lunch. There are three categories: Arable/Field Vegetable Crops, Grassland/Livestock and Environment/Rural Issues, and the awards are open to both print and broadcast work.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the winners at the wonderful Harvest Festival service and as our guests at the new Harvest Lunch being held at the Stationers’ Hall on October 13,” says organiser Rosie Carne. “So do take the time to look back over the past 12 months and select a potential winner.”

Get an idea of past winning articles on the Yara award page of the Guild website, where the entry form is available to download, and then dig out a suitable entry published or broadcast between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. Note that editors can nominate entries on behalf of staff or contributors.

Harvest Lunch 2011– Thursday, October 13 The Guild is delighted to welcome Lloyds TSB Agriculture as principal sponsor of the annual Harvest Lunch, which takes on a new format this year – a celebration of British food and drink in the magnificent home of the Stationers’ livery company in the City of London.

Other generous supporters of the event, providing cash sponsorship or supplies of British farm produce for the lunch, will be announced soon, along with booking details for individual places and tables for members and guests.

Watch out for a dedicated eAlert on this most popular event in the Guild calendar. In the meantime be sure to keep the day clear and take a look at the splendid venue on the website of the Worshipful Company of Stationers & Newspaper Makers.

Harvest Service 2011 – Thursday, October 13 Organisers of the popular Harvest Service in St Brides Church want to add a special personal touch this year – a reading written and (if they wish) given by a Guild member.

“The service will include two traditional readings from the Bible but we decided to add a contemporary and more personal one,” says enthusiastic sponsor and co-organiser, Howard Venters of Shepherd Publishing. “We’d like Guild members to submit a narrative of some 300 words relevant to the celebration of British harvest; the author of the one chosen can give the reading on the day if they wish.”

Readings should be submitted by email to church administrator James Irving by Monday, September 12.

“The Guild’s Harvest Service, with its fantastic choir, is a truly wonderful occasion,” adds Howard. “I do hope that Guild members will come and fill the church, whether or not they are attending the Harvest Lunch afterwards, to experience this splendid event.”

Members should note that the service starts a little earlier this year, at 10.45am; the church will be open from 10.15am.

Dairy Event & Livestock Show - members' reception After the popularity of the Guild’s first members’ reception at last year’s Dairy Event & Livestock Show, it seems only right and proper to repeat the occasion; so that is what’s happening!

Between 5pm and 7pm on the first day (Tuesday, September 6), members will be able to wind down and enjoy a magnificent selection of regional cheeses accompanied by English wines and local beverages. Sponsored by NFU Mutual – thanks to the good offices of communications executive and Guild member Tim Price – the reception will also be a sampling opportunity for organically-reared veal.

“It’s being supplied by Guild chairman Adrian Bell from his Cotswold farm and will remind us of the significance of veal production in the dairy chain,” says reception organiser Liz Snaith. “We’ll also have a special welcome for the newly established ‘U35’ members with a get-together to explore how they would like to take the group forward in terms of interests and activities.”

Another good reasons to attend is to hear the announcement of another Guild journalism award that will appeal to members from all sectors - be there to get the details first-hand!

Press tickets for the Dairy Event & Livestock Show, being held for the second year at the NEC, Birmingham, should be requested by email to Emily Rowley at the RABDF as soon as possible so they can be posted out in good time. State name, full postal address and names of any colleagues also requiring tickets, together with the days planning to attend – there are separate tickets for each day.

New members Members who would like to invite colleagues and industry contacts to consider joining the Guild can contact membership secretary Liz Snaith.

Year Book updates Update the new Year Book with contact details by checking the new member listings in the eAlerts Archive on the Guild website.

Joanna Pugh (right) has taken up her new role as deputy director at the National Beef Association. She can be contacted using telephone number 01434 601005, NBA mobile 07579 009648 or by email., run by Ruth Jewkes and Adrian Bell, has moved to new premises: 5, The Farmhouse, Fernhill Court, Balsall Street East, Balsall Common, Warwicks CV7 7FR. Tel: 01608 637800

Guild member Gerry Barnett, agricultural correspondent of the Journal Series, Evesham and Cotswolds, now works from home following the closure of the Evesham offices. His email address is: and telephone 01386 881427.

In Scotland, Ken Rundle has stepped back from his management role as Head of Communications at SAC (Scottish Agricultural College) to become Senior Communications Officer.  “The new position gives me the flexibility to spend more time closer to home in Aberdeen, as our campus at Craibstone on the outskirts of the city is just minutes away,” he explains. “I enjoy my work with SAC, which keeps me connected to the industry, science and policy issues that interest me.” Ken’s former post has been filled by Jane Smernicki, who previously worked alongside him with particular responsibility for the work of the SAC’s Rural Policy Centre.

John Chapman Long-serving members of the Guild will be saddened to hear of the death of John Chapman, former press and public relations officer at the Milk Marketing Board in the 1960s and ‘70s. “They will remember him as an affable and efficient communicator,” says John Allan of Cropwell Consultancy. “He developed his interest in writing - and acting - while at Wye College, which stood him in good stead in this role at the MMB. When he retired, he took up photography alongside acting, and performed through to 2010 at the Bristol Old Vic, and many other theatres around the country, during tours with the likes of Nigel Havers. His lively conversation will be missed by all who knew him.” John Chapman's funeral took place at Charlton Hawthorn in Dorset where the crowded church included many well-known personalities from the theatre.

David Ashton Notice has only just reached the Guild of the death almost a year ago of member David Ashton, a journalist with a special interest in bees, who lived with his Danish wife in Denmark. Recollections from members of David’s past career would be welcome – please email Guild website and eAlerts editor, Peter Hill.

Condolences All Guild members who know Ken Fletcher, deputy and technical editor, The Scottish Farmer, will wish to offer their condolences on the unexpected death of his fiancé Fiona Blackburn last week.

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.

Farmers Weekly Group has four vacancies for journalists to work on its Farmers Weekly print and FWi online products in the areas of news, business, arable and machinery.

What's on the website? Freelancers – check out the opportunity to earn Copyright royalties for articles published over the past three years. See ‘Copyright Facts and Figures’ in the Member Information section of the Guild website.

On the website News pages ……

New IFAJ freelance directory online Emma Craigie is a new Friend Charlotte's challenging fund-raising effort Bob Davies memorial award presented



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


Join Us!

Click here to view Guild membership benefits and to find out how to join.

Guild News

Click here for the latest news.