The Guild is managed by a Council of 11 Directors appointed by Members at the Annual General Meeting (usually held in March). They are supported by the Guild President and General Secretary.
Directors are elected to represent the interests of Guild Members, Retired Members and Friends; deal with management matters; and organise events of interest and value. The full Council typically meets four times a year at the Farmers' Club in London in addition to attending the Guild's AGM.
The legal basis of the Guild as a Company Limited by Guarantee is detailed in the Guild's Articles of Association re. Additional rules concerning Guild membership and management of the contained in the Guild's Byelaws.
The Guild Council's senior officers are the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, who each serve a two-year term, and the Honorary Treasurer.
Each Director/Council member serves a term of no more than three years before they must either stand down or seek re-election at an Annual General Meeting.
Under a rule introduced in 2011, they may serve for another two years before compulsorily standing down for 12 months, after which they can seek re-election if they wish.
Members can be invited to attend Council meetings in an advisory, non-executive role.
The Council can bestow Honorary Membership on anyone who is not a Guild member but has been of special service to the Guild, such as President.
A Fellowship (FBGAJ) honours members who have given the organisation outstanding support and service. The five longest-serving Fellows of the Guild are appointed Senior Fellows; they are entitled to receive Council meeting minutes and to attend Council meetings if they wish.
Our Senior Fellows are currently Godfrey Brown, Denis Chamberlain, Eddie Gillanders, Peter Ryder and George Thomson.
As chairman I head up the Guild council directors, chairing meetings held 4-5 times a year at the Farmers’ Club in London. I’m responsible for driving the overall delivery of the Guild’s programme of work, as well as spearheading initiatives such as the 2018 member survey.
My remit is to ensure we continue to deliver what members want and represent members' interests more widely. I keep in close contact with all Council members, supporting them where needed. I also manage sponsorship of the Guild’s flagship event: our annual Harvest Lunch.
I support Catherine in the chairman role, helping to organise events, representing the Guild at international meetings if required, and acting as a sounding board for ideas.
I also manage the events side of the Guild, organising informal networking receptions at the likes of Cereals, LAMMA, and Dairy-Tech. This involves liaising with current and potential sponsors, members, show organisers, and ensuring the food and drink turns up!
Being part of Council is really inspiring, and I feel the Guild is taking some really exciting steps right now. I’m very keen to use my role to build stronger links with mainstream media, both so that agriculture can be better represented and become more outward-facing.
I oversee the provision of training and development for the Guild. Seen as one of the major benefits of being a Guild member, we have exciting plans about how to develop our offering in this area and keep it inline with the changing face of UK media.
Working closely with Caroline Stocks, we are gearing up to provide a mixture of courses which touch on everything from practical writing skills to high-end digital content provision.
With the delivery of high quality content still at the heart of what our journalists and PR professionals are all about, we want to provide them with the requisite tools to thrive in an ever changing media world.
Jane Craigie, FBGAJ
I am the BGAJ’s International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) and international representative on Council, so I represent our Guild, as one of 50 other member countries, on the IFAJ’s executive committee.
I believe it is really important for our Guild to have strong international connections and a rich understanding of global agriculture and how the UK is perceived internationally; there is no better way to learn about and connect with the world’s agricultural community and news than via the IFAJ.
My wish is that more of our members will apply for the many travel opportunities our Guild offers via the IFAJ, the European Network of Agricultural Journalists (ENAJ) and our other international connections.
As Awards Secretary, I am responsible for coordinating the Guild's awards programme, including liaising with sponsors, organising judges and encouraging entries.
I’ve just taken on this new role to support the council’s expanding workload in events, awards and professional development. The creation of the role reflects growing industry interest in the Guild’s activities and the value it has to offer – from networking and profile-raising to training and international travel.
I'm keen to identify new sponsors, as well as work with our existing ones, to ensure that the Guild continues to provide the services members want, and that sponsors can benefit from.
Louise is also a trustee of the Joe Watson Legacy Fund, which aims to improve the understanding of agriculture and provide better education for journalism and communications.
I’m one of the more recent council members, with a new role of regional coordinator. As there’s so much happening in each of the Guild’s regions I will be responsible for helping to share resources, experiences, training and special events.
I previously chaired the Guild’s Midlands committee and I’ve been a BGAJ member for many years. The Guild has always played an important role in my career and professional development, so I’m proud to be part of council and helping to make sure it remains a relevant and forward-looking organisation.
Peter Hill, FBGAJ
Having been a member of council for many years, I currently serve in an advisory role to the council directors.
I largely advise on matters relating to Guild rules and procedures, but I also handle enquiries for recruitment advertising. I also manage membership subscriptions and direct debits, which is a paid role.
I am Guild Treasurer and also liaise with the BGAJ Charitable Trust – an independent charity to help BGAJ members, former members and their dependents who may have fallen upon hard times or into poor health.
As well as offering financial help, the Trust keeps in touch with retired colleagues and provides reassurance to troubled members and their families.
Liz Snaith, FBGAJ
I am the Guild's membership secretary – and I also look after Guild activities in the Midlands.
As well as attending BGAJ council meetings to pitch in ideas about how the Guild can help support its members, I help out more specifically with training and communications.
Working with Ben, we’ve put together a range of training and development opportunities, with a schedule of speakers and events. I also help with Guild communications, managing its social media accounts to ensure members are kept up-to-date with everything that’s happening.
As a freelance journalist, being a member of Guild council is really important to me. It helps me keep in touch with colleagues across the industry, and gives me a direct say on issues that are important to me and other agri-communicators.
I look after internal communications for the Guild – primarily the Guild website, eAlerts to members and the Guild yearbook. It's a busy job but very rewarding and means I keep in close contact with Guild members and friends.
Updating the website and sending out eAlerts is our main form of communication, including notifying Members of events and entry dates for awards. The Yearbook is a major benefit for members – and includes a valuable directory of industry contacts.
The work of the Management Council is supported by: