Executive Member Fuat Memeli Retires

Stephen Cadogan
IFAJ Communications co-chair
Ireland


Among the IFAJ Executive Committee members to step down this year is Albania’s Fuat Memeli. The Albanian Agricultural Journalist Association is now represented on the committee by its President, Xhevdet Bashllari.

During his time as president of the Association, Fuat led the celebration in 2010 of the Association’s 15th birthday.

Over the past decade, Fuat has figured as director, producer and sometimes cameraman in rural films, winning competitions including the World Festival of Agricultural Documentary Film. A more recent production featured in international competitions is from the desertification towards the park, about forest restoration in Albania.

Check Out IFAJ Member Blogs

Stephen Cadogan
IFAJ Communications co-chair
Ireland

Where can you read IFAJ president Mike Wilson's thoughts on management, or IFAJ secretary general Owen Roberts' childhood reminiscences?

Only in the member blogs which you can click on at the top of the IFAJ website home page. In his farmfutures.com blog, Wilson says most of us return from seminars full of ideas, only to watch the enthusiasm fade in the rush of daily tasks.

"You’re energized, and you go home and your life is taken prison by the to-do list. We make decisions at meetings but adjourn with no plan of action, accountability or timetable."

He advises, "First, clearly define your mission, vision, and values, then lead by example." Although tagged in his blog under farm management, it's a lesson we could all take to heart.

Check it out, and also picture for yourself Owen Roberts as a kid, perched precariously on the fender of his friend Randy Burke’s John Deere tractor. He recalls it in his urbancowboy.ca blog, while welcoming how much higher a priority farm safety is now, compared to then.

Read on to Allan Barber's Meaty Issues blog from New Zealand, where he reports fears that the country's Dairy Restructuring Amendment Bill could destroy its dairy industry. However, I am more taken by his advice  on where to find the world's best horseracing.

Matt Cawood's “Out Here” blog touches on rural broadband, a favorite subject of many ag communicators. Where Matt lives, in a part of Australia's New South Wales that standard road maps portray as mostly blank, good Internet service is a necessity.

There's something for everyone in the member blogs - from Switzerland, Adrian Krebs communicates mostly in German. There's Lilian Schaer's Food and Farming blog from Canada; and from Australia, Pip Courtney's "Saddle up" and Michael Thomson's The Week Observed.

Matthew Naylor reports from the Mouth of the Wash in the United Kingdom; Daniel Aghan Odongo's blog comes from Kenya; and Barbara Kanzian from Austria writes about the innovative side of agriculture.

The United States is also represented by Chuck and Cindy Zimmerman's Agwired, and the blog of Linda H. Smith of The Progressive Farmer.

IFAJ Sponsorships Announced

Stephen Cadogan
IFAJ Communications co-chair
Ireland

IFAJ Treasurer James Campbell has confirmed sufficient sponsorship is now in place for a full class of 10 Master Class participants during the Swedish Congress. Participation may be increased to 11, through assistance from the Swedish government.

This year’s primary sponsors are Pioneer Hi-Bred and British American Tobacco. In addition, there will be direct sponsorship of one participant through the charitable trust fund of the American Agricultural Editors Association, and one participant sponsored by the Dutch Guild. Agriterra has offered to cover costs of two participants' flights and for interpreters during the master class.
Following the format initiated successfully in Canada, part of the Master Class will be shared with the Young Leaders Boot Camp, sponsored by Alltech.

Meanwhile, sponsorship plans are also on course to allow the proposed “Exposure-4-Development” tour to Kenya. Tour costs are to be reduced by participants flying directly into Kenya instead of from the Netherlands. The three-year “Exposure-4-Development” pilot project will offer IFAJ  journalists a first-hand look at agricultural issues in a developing country, helping them work towards reducing hunger and poverty, and improving food productivity.

IFAJ Contests Announced

Members in guilds around the world are preparing their entries for the five IFAJ professional development contests. To learn more about these awards and how to enter, visit www.ifaj.org/contests-and-awards/writing-contest.html.

Five contests are offered:

  • IFAJ Star Prize for Print closes for entries on  May 1 and is sponsored by Deere and Company.
  • IFAJ Star Prize for Broadcasting also closes on May 1.
  • IFAJ Star Prize for Photography is sponsored by Delaval, May 1 is the closing date.
  • The Yara Award for Sustainable Agriculture Writing is sponsored by Yara, and the closing date is July 1.

Visit the IFAJ website contests and awards section for more details and guidelines.

IFAJ Elections

All four seats of the IFAJ Presidium are up for election in Sweden at this year’s Congress. Positions include, president, vice president, treasurer and secretary general. Nominations are due May 16 and must be made by member guilds.
Election rules are in the "About" section of the IFAJ website.

Start Making Your Plans to Enhance, Enchant, Enjoy

American Agricultural Editors Association

The American Agricultural Editors Association is planning for its annual Ag Media Summit. Online registration begins May 1.

Ag Media Summit events through Monday afternoon, Aug. 6, will be held at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, 330 Tijeras NW. Call (505) 842-1234 for reservations, our AMS rate is $115. Monday evening and Tuesday activities will be held across the street at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

Want to learn more about Albuquerque? Check out these websites:
http://www.albuquerqueoldtown.com/
http://www.urbanspoon.com/c/60/Albuquerque-restaurants.html
http://www.abqthemag.com/ 

Promoting Tastes of Europe

European Commission
Ag-Press.EU

The European Commission recently announced a new communication, “Promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products: a reinforced value‑added strategy for promoting the tastes of Europe.”

The Communication is the second stage of the promotion policy reform process launched in July 2011, aiming to make agriculture and agri‑food more dynamic, competitive and to promote sustainable, intelligent and inclusive growth.

Dacian Ciolos, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said, “The European Union has a good hand to play to make its economy more dynamic and boost growth and jobs by further optimizing the benefits of its agricultural and agri‑food products, both on the European market and world markets. Exports in this sector already represent more than €100 billion. In an increasingly open world, the success of European agriculture also depends on its capacity to strengthen and develop its position. This entails new ambition for our promotion policy and putting in place a real Community strategy for optimizing the use of our products.”

The key objectives set for future promotion policy, center around four themes:

  • real European added value
  • more attractive programs with a bigger impact
  • simpler and more effective management
  • new synergies between the different promotion instruments.

The Communication reflects the in‑depth consideration launched in July 2011 by the adoption of a Green Paper about the policy of information and promotion for agricultural products which was a leading initiative to strengthen the competitiveness of EU agriculture and which generated a broad public debate, as well as the information in the report on the external evaluation carried out in 2011 on the present promotion policy.

Fore more information visit: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/promotion/index_en.htm

Exposure-4-Development Media Tour

As with the Master Class, sponsors have stepped in to make another exciting program a reality. We have sufficient sponsorship agreed to reduce the contribution required from IFAJ funds to the level suggested at our meeting in Berlin and to lower the contribution by Agriterra to the same amount. I intend to send to all guilds the information package. Information on the program, sponsors and more will also be available soon on the IFAJ website.

The budget allows for 15 journalists on the tour for free! Participants must cover their flight to Kenya, but the rest is covered.

To lift already a little corner of the veil: journalists will travel to Nairobi, meeting up with local guides and experts. As we organize the tour under the umbrella of the UN International Year of Cooperatives, we will focus on this theme: farmers taking their economic development in their own hands. We’ll visit coops (dairy, coffee, fruit, vegetables). Participants will see processing companies, mainly owned/run by farmers. The group will also visit larger players in tobacco and flowers for export around Nairobi. Of course, we will meet many individual small family farmers, see their local markets and gather with their groups and leaders. Participants will have the opportunity to talk to government representatives and peers, members of the Kenyan guild. And of course, we will show you some of the wonderful spots in the Kenyan countryside! This is a rare chance to take a firsthand look at food production in a developing country and report on what’s going on to your audience at home.

So, if you are ready for an unforgettable experience: keep an eye on your inbox and the website.

We owe a big thank you to the sponsors of the Exposure 4 Development Tour, which includes British American Tobacco, AGCO, Interpolis, VION and Grain Farmers of Ontario.

About IFAJ News

Share your Guild’s news in the IFAJ News. Send news or article ideas to editor Karlie Elliott Bowman at k.elliott.bowman(at)gmail.com. Never let language be a hurdle for sending ideas or news items. Feel free to respond in your native language and we will work together to share your news items.

Also, be sure to share IFAJ News with your colleagues. Encourage them to visit www.ifaj.org/news/newsletter-subscription.html to subscribe. IFAJ News is a publication of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. IFAJ gives agricultural journalists and communicators a platform for professional development and international networking. To learn more about IFAJ visit our website at www.ifaj.org. If you have questions about IFAJ, please do not hesitate to contact our executive secretary Connie Siemes, at P.O. Box 205, 6920 AE Duiven, The Netherlands, Ph 0031 573 451975, e-mail: secretary(at)ifaj.org. You can also follow IFAJ on Twitter @IFAJ, and you can find us on Facebook. 

IFAJ News April 2012

The Power of Positive

Mike Wilson
IFAJ President
United States

Earlier this month we received good news about our 2012 Master Class program. Our IFAJ colleagues in Sweden have been working behind the scenes to establish a partnership with the Swedish Agricultural University that will bring two more journalists from developing countries to our program and workshop at the IFAJ congress, to be held Aug. 15-19 in Sweden.

By all accounts, this will bring the number of journalists to 10 or 11, even more than the number of people who attended last year. 

Earlier this year we were not even sure we would have a Master Class, due to budget concerns. It would have been easy to become discouraged and give up on the program.

Instead, we reached out to forge new relationships with new partners, including British American Tobacco (watch for more info on BAT in a future issue of this newsletter), as well as founding Master Class sponsors Pioneer and Agriterra.  Several guilds also stepped up and volunteered to sponsor Master Class attendees, including Sweden, The Netherlands and the U.S. 

By staying positive and focused on the goal, we were able to turn what could have been a negative into something good for the organization.

By happy coincidence, another new sponsor, Bekina, is being introduced this month to IFAJ. This partnership allows us to begin translating our monthly newsletter into Spanish. Read more about the newsletter and Master Class in this issue.

In my many years as a journalist covering agribusiness and agriculture, I have learned – sometimes the hard way - that the key to success is how you approach things. In the publication I work at, our editorial approach is to find the positive angle in the many challenges our readers face. For farm readers, we will focus on the things they can control – say, better ways to manage their business – and not the things they cannot control, like the vagaries of weather.

In other words, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That expression may sound contrived, but it works. When you are faced with a problem or concern make sure you have all the facts, then reach out in a positive way. Instead of complaining, think of some potential solutions and answers. That is the beginning of good, constructive dialogue. Good dialogue will lead to positive change for everyone.

I have found this to be true with IFAJ as well. We talk about a lot of challenges at our IFAJ business meetings. After much debate and discussion, we find ways to solve problems. Not everyone always agrees with the solutions. But as long as people are willing to compromise, we do find a way to move ahead. That is not easy in an international group where different cultural values and language barriers can often trip up the process.

IFAJ moves forward in a positive way by focusing not on complaining, but on doing.  The ‘doers’ – people who do things without expecting anything in return – are the engines of our volunteer-driven organization. A business leader I know calls this "Servant Leadership" – people who, if they see a need, work to fill that need, no matter how high up they are in the organizational hierarchy.

We have a lot of servant leaders in IFAJ, and the organization will need a lot more in the future if we hope to achieve our ambitious goals. Keep it positive and incredible things will happen.

IFAJ Announces New Partnership with the Belgian Boot Manufacturer

Marianne Mork,
Communications Co-chair
Norway

Bekina Boots, the Belgian-based company well known for its lightweight wellington work boots, has agreed to sponsor the monthly IFAJ newsletter, beginning April 2012. Agricultural is the biggest market for Bekina, which has worldwide market reach and recently began marketing plans for the United States. In 2010 the IFAJ held its congress in Belgium where Bekina was a key sponsor, says sales executive Brecht Debruyne.

"We have heard about the IFAJ becoming bigger and stronger, reaching out to more and more agricultural journalists worldwide," says Debruyne. "It came to our minds to do something together in the future. The Agricultural journalists know what the farmers want and we are ready to listen."

Bekina's sponsorship will provide the resources needed for IFAJ to add the Spanish language translations to the monthly newsletter, which is already offered in English and German, says IFAJ president Mike Wilson. "Bekina is a family-owned, forward-thinking company that we are happy to partner with," says Wilson. "We look forward to a mutually beneficial business relationship."

Bekina Boots (www.bekina.com) celebrates 50 years as a boot manufacturer and 20 years as a specialist in polyurethane boots this year. The company, operated by the Vanderbeke family, is headquartered in Kluisbergen, Belgium.

Communicators Prepare for Serbian Press Tour

Stephen Cadogan
IFAJ Communications co-chair
Ireland

At least 30 ag communicators have already signed up to enjoy Serbian hospitality, when Agropress, the Serbian Association of Agricultural Journalists, hosts foreign journalists from May 14 to May 19, including a visit to the International Agricultural Fair in Novi Sad.

Participants will see Serbian traditional households and farms, modern technologies,  successful agribusinesses, and Serbia's tourist attractions and homemade specialties. April 20 is the last day to register.

With support from the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, and sponsorships, Agropress will provide grants to cover the tour fees of five visiting journalists.

Additional details for this year’s Balkan Tour are at http://agropress.org.rs/balkan-tour-2012-srb.html  or http://agropress.org.rs/balkan-tour-2012-eng.html 

Pre-congress tour almost full

Marianne Mork
Norway

The Finnish pre congress tour is almost full. Only three places left, as of April 13th. Registration deadline is May 1.

In Finland you will learn about proper sauna-behavior, what the Finns do in the woods and how to use oats in new, creative ways. And much more.

If you are considering attending, register today! Check out the full tour program and prices here: www.maataloustoimittajat.fi/precongresstour2012 Or email Riitta Mustonen at riitta.mustonen(at)maaseuduntulevaisuus.fi

IFAJ Conference 2012 registration closes May 1

Marianne Mork
Norway

As of April 12 there are still 50 open spots available on the IFAJ Conference 2012 in Sweden. Registration ends May 1st.

- Tour 4 is full, and tour 7 only has one available spot. Tour 8 has 3 open spots. The other tours still have a few available seats, according to Congress General Lena Johansson. There are also a few available spots on the pre- and post-congress tours.

The program for the opening day seminar on Thursday August 16th is now ready.

This seminar is open to everyone attending the congress.

- A society that builds on sustainability might be the solution to many of the problems in our future, such as lack of food, climatic changes and energy crisis. At this seminar we will learn about the importance of agriculture- and forestry in the future. We will also talk about how agriculture increasingly is being perceived as one of our most important businesses.

Among the speakers we find Mr. Johan Rockström, a globally renowned expert on climatic issues, who is also a Swedish minister of rural areas. Another speaker is the Chairman of Federation of Swedish farmers, Helena Jonsson –member of the Prime Minister to the Government's Future Commission, who is also an organic farmer.

When the Prince of Wales visited Sweden a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Rockström and Mrs. Jonsson were among those he specifically had asked to meet.

For registration, please see www.ifaj2012.se

Come to the world horticultural expo “Floriade”

Hans Siemes,
Executive of the IFAJ
The Netherlands

Are you interested in horticulture, in flowers, plants, trees? Once every ten years the world exhibition Floriade is held in The Netherlands. This time, near the event is near the city of Venlo, a horticultural center with many greenhouses. This region ‘invented’ the tasty tomato and is famous for roses. Venlo is in the southern part of The Netherlands, near the German border.

Floriade and their main sponsor Rabobank invites IFAJ Congress members to the world expo. They promise a spectacular visit. If visiting from another part of the world, it’s a great opportunity to combine a visit to the IFAJ congress with a visit to the Floriade (see a glimpse at www.floriade.com).

On Monday August 20 at 10 o’clock Floriade and Rabobank will IFAJ. Guided tours can be arranged. Rabobank will offer the entrance tickets. And off course you can use the press facilities. If you are planning to come, please register by sending an e-mail to globaloffice@ifaj.org with your name(s) and country.

Participants planning to attend are responsible for their own travel arrangements and accommodations. Participants are advised to book a flight to Stockholm with - on the way back - a stop in Amsterdam or even better Düsseldorf (Germany). The other possibility is to book an extra flight Stockholm to Amsterdam or Düsseldorf and back (a 2 hour flight). The cost is approximately 100 to 150 euro.

In Amsterdam or Dusseldorf take a train or hire a car to Venlo to Floriade. From Amsterdam Venlo is approximately 180 kilometers and from Dusseldorf 70 kilometers. The Floriade website (www.floriade.com) provides accommodation recommendations. Some accommodations may be the Van der Valk hotel Venlo, hotel de Zwaan Venray, hotel Puur in Venlo, Antiek in Helden. A double room costs app. 90 - 100 euro per night.  The more luxurious hotels (f.e. the Bilderberg group) are more expensive. Some hotels have special Floriade arrangements.

Don’t wait another 10 years. Do what the other 2 million visitors do. It’s worth coming to this world horticultural expo. Otherwise you have to wait until 2022 to get the next opportunity.

IFAJ Development Projects

José van Gelder
Master Class Coordinator
The Netherlands

Writing an update on ones projects is always much easier when it’s good news.

The Master Class

During the exec meetings in Berlin in January, we could not confirm that IFAJ had all of required sponsorships in place for the 2012 Master Class. But tThanks to our sponsors British American Tobacco and Pioneer, and a number of very committed IFAJ, there is now a sufficient budget to run another completely filled master class!

The Dutch guild NVLJ will again sponsor one attendee, as will the American Agricultural Editors Association and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala will sponsor two attendees. Agriterra will pay for two plane tickets and for interpreters needed both days.

This allows me to proceed with the organization of the Master Class of August 2012 (not that I stopped at any time) in conjunction with the congress in Sweden and to invite 11 journalists. Based on the established point system, the list of countries receiving invitations may contain the following:

  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Congo
  • Gambia
  • Tanzania (2 people)
  • Brazil
  • Ecuador
  • Rwanda
  • Kenya
  • Zambia

Soon, the IFAJ website will feature articles from invited journalists on what the agricultural cooperative movement means for economic development in their country. 

The next newsletter will provide more about the program.

Following the format initiated successfully in Canada, part of the Master Class will be shared with the Young Leaders Boot Camp, which is sponsored by Alltech.
So, if you want to exchange ideas with a colleague from a developing country, come to Sweden this summer!

Exposure-4-Development Media Tour

As with the Master Class, sponsors have stepped in to make another exciting program a reality. We have sufficient sponsorship agreed to reduce the contribution required from IFAJ funds to the level suggested at our meeting in Berlin and to lower the contribution by Agriterra to the same amount. I intend to send to all guilds the information package. Information on the program, sponsors and more will also be available soon on the IFAJ website.

The budget allows for 15 journalists on the tour for free. Participants must cover their flight to Kenya, but the rest is covered.

To lift already a little corner of the veil: journalists will travel to Nairobi, meeting up with local guides and experts. As we organize the tour under the umbrella of the UN International Year of Cooperatives, we will focus on this theme: farmers taking their economic development in their own hands. We’ll visit coops (dairy, coffee, fruit, vegetables). Participants will see processing companies, mainly owned/run by farmers. The group will also visit larger players in tobacco and flowers for export around Nairobi. Of course, we will meet many individual small family farmers, see their local markets and gather with their groups and leaders. Participants will have the opportunity to talk to government representatives and peers, members of the Kenyan guild. And of course, we will show you some of the wonderful spots in the Kenyan countryside! This is a rare chance to take a firsthand look at food production in a developing country and report on what’s going on to your audience at home.

So, if you are ready for an unforgettable experience: keep an eye on your inbox and the website.

We owe a big thank you to the sponsors of the Exposure 4 Development Tour, which includes British American Tobacco, AGCO, Interpolis, VION and Grain Farmers of Ontario.