British Guild of Agricultural Journalists
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Management Council

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. 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 Godfrey Brown, Denis Chamberlain, Eddie Gillanders and Peter Ryder.

 

Council Members

Baroness Boycott of Whitefield

President
 

Olivia Cooper

Chairman
Email
: chairman@gaj.org.uk

 

I was elected chairman in 2020.

Being council chairman 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.

 

Johann Tasker

Deputy chairman and Yearbook
Email
: deputy@gaj.org.uk

 

I am the Guild's deputy chairman, supporting Olivia in her role as council chairman. It's a busy but rewarding job and means I keep in close contact with Guild members and friends.

I also edit the Guild's annual Yearbook – which contains details of the Guild's activities, awards schemes and training – and a valuable directory of industry contacts.

 

Nikki Robertson

General Secretary
Email
: secretary@gaj.org.uk
 

Jane Craigie, FBGAJ

IFAJ Representative / Scottish Region Organiser
Email
: international@gaj.org.uk

 

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.

 

Hannah Crawford

Membership
Email
: membership@gaj.org.uk

 

I am one of the more recent council members, taking on a new role as the Guild's membership secretary. 

Outside of the Guild, I manage the Marketing / PR for Cogent Breeding Ltd. I have always had a passion for writing, and the Guild is the perfect opportunity for me to further my career and provide continued professional development. 

I look forward to the next couple of years recruiting new members and educating the younger generation on the career opportunities available in journalism, PR and marketing. 

 

Paul Lay

Regional coordinator
Email
: midlands@gaj.org.uk

 

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.

 

Catherine Linch

Events
Email
: events@gaj.org.uk
 

Olivia Midgley

Awards
Email
: awards@gaj.org.uk
Phone
: 07787 240750

 

Olivia is head of news at AgriBriefing, publishers of Farmers Guardian.

After graduating from Sheffield University with a journalism degree, Olivia kicked off her career with stints on local and regional newspapers. 

She joined Farmers Guardian's London team in 2011 and worked her way up the ranks to become news and business editor in 2016. 

 

Ben Pike

Communications
Email
: communications@gaj.org.uk

 

Ben is owner and director of Eve Communications – a marketing and communications consultancy for the agricultural, food, rural tourism and agribusiness industries.

A graduate with a degree in multimedia journalism from Manchester University, Ben worked for the Bridgwater Mercury before joining the NFU as a web editor in 2007.

He later became the union's agricultural publications editor – planning, commissioning, writing and editing content for the NFU's flagship publication, British Farmer & Grower.

Ben went freelance in 2013, specialising in food, farming and rural affairs before setting up Eve Communications in 2016.

 

Clive Rainbird

Treasurer and Charitable Trust liaison
Email
: treasurer@gaj.org.uk

 

I am the Honorary Treasurer and, as such, I endeavour to ensure that we run our financial affairs prudently whilst working closely with other members of the Council to safeguard the Guild's finances.

In addition to my role as Treasurer I also have a liaison role 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

CPD / Midlands Region secretary
Email
: cpd@gaj.org.uk / midlands@gaj.org.uk

 

I am the Guild's CPD secretary – and I also look after Guild activities in the Midlands.

 

Ex-Officio

The work of the Management Council is supported by:

 

Geoff Dodgson, Reader in the Diocese of Ely

Honorary Chaplain
Telephone
: 07710 379561
 

Peter Hill, FBGAJ

Council advisor
Email
: subscriptions@gaj.org.uk

 

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.

 

Adrian Bell, FBGAJ

ENAJ Representative
Telephone
: 020 3637 6636
 

Enquiries?

Nikki Robertson

07584 022909

gajsec@gmail.com

 

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