Changes to IFAJ News

Karlie Elliott Bowman
IFAJ News Editor

We’ve made many changes to the newsletter over the past few years—always looking for ways to improve and provide more timely impactful information to our readers. Our latest change is that now, instead of receiving IFAJ News each month, it will be published once every two months. This change is designed to accommodate more features that can impact you professionally and as a guild. Breaking news will appear on the IFAJ website (

And as always, we want to hear from you and your guild. If you have news or photos to share please email me at k.elliott.bowman(at)

Get Ready for IFAJ in Argentina

Karlie Elliott Bowman
IFAJ News Editor

I hope you’re ready to experience Congress 2013 in “The World’s Grainery,” Argentina. For the first time, IFAJ travels to South America. What an incredible time to be had by all participating.

As I can personally not attend this year, I look forward to receiving stories we can include in IFAJ News. Please be sure to send your photos and stories to me at k.elliott.bowman(at)

And, if you’re looking to learn more about Argentina before you leave be sure to visit the Congress website,

Many thanks to Argentina’s guild for organizing what we’re sure is to be another outstanding Congress.

Latin America’s Second Largest Grain Producer to speak at Congress

Gustavo Grobocopatel, an Argentine agricultural producer, is President of Los Grabo Group, a leading services company involved in raw material production and processing for the food industry. By promoting the use of no-till farming and related crops systems (the production of grains on a large scale in a privately-owned and rented farms) he played a leading role in the technological leap forward the farming sector experienced in the 1990s.

In 2010, he became the second-largest grain producer in Latin America. Over time, the company expanded its  business area to other member countries of the Mercousur trading bloc and currently produces grain by-products such as flour and pasta, among others.

For more about the IFAJ Congress in Argentina, including travel information, visa requirements and the schedule visit

Participants named for second E-4-D media tour

José van Gelder
The Netherlands

Participants have been selected for the second annual IFAJ Exposure-4-Development media tour.

 The tour, which will visit Uganda in November, is designed to offer IFAJ members an opportunity to visit a developing country, meet with farmers there, visit their grassroots organizations and talk to experts.

The 15 agricultural journalists selected for the 2013 tour are:
-    Bernhard Weber, Austria
-    Anne Cote, Canada
-    Thea Kvist Lindgaard, Denmark
-    Anu Artjoki, Finland
-    Aimo Vainio, Finland
-    Fritz Fleege, Germany
-    Christian Muhlhausen, Germany
-    Marc van der Sterren, Netherlands
-    Chris McCullough, Northern Ireland
-    Marike Brits, South Africa
-    Lisbeth Karlsson, Sweden
-    Claire Muller, Switzerland
-    Liz Wright, UK
-    Paul Queck, USA
-    Brent Olson, USA

National guilds review applications and choose those who best meet the selection criteria. All applicants are scored based on a point system, which, along with selection criteria, is agreed upon by the IFAJ executive committee.

The selection criteria included a review of each candidate’s previously published or broadcast work, their readership, listenership or viewership, and their letter of reference.

Each guild had the opportunity to out forward two journalists and a reserve. The reserves were selected when fewer than 15 guilds had eligible applicants.


The Exposure-4-Development Media Tour is coordinated by Agriterra and made possible with sponsorship from British-American Tobacco.

Family-friendly entrepreneurs (especially women in rural areas)

Jim Evans
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center

We recently added to the ACDC collection a 2012 journal article by Carol Ekinsmyth about new business formation in family spaces. The author, a geography faculty member, noted that 73 percent of UK enterprises have no employees, and 17 percent of those are managed solely by women. This significant phenomenon is growing, she noted, especially in rural areas. She investigated the nature, dynamics, networks, and locations of new female businesses started within the past five years.

Findings underlined the importance of businesses (a) created within family spaces and (b) borne out of desire to manage work/life tensions. They suggested that good business ideas for these women were born and nurtured in the "everyday, mundane spaces of family life." They came to fruition through word-of-mouth social contacts and networking that occur in these spaces. Following are four businesses identified most frequently through the study:
•    Personal services (e.g., parent training and responsibilities)
•    Baby and children's products
•    Network marketing consultancies
•    Writing, blogging, art, and design

You can read this article at:

Reporting about science in quick-tempered times

Jim Evans
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center

"It is the editors who need educating in science," read the title of an article by Carl W. Larsen. It caught our attention in a 1958 issue of Nieman Reports. We are adding his article to the ACDC collection, partly because of the following admonition that applies to agricultural as well as other kinds of science reporting. Also, the advice seems as timely today as it was a half century ago.

"In this quick-tempered period, we must demand that the quality of reporting and editorial opinion—especially on science—be of the highest order."

Check with us at docctr(at) if you would like help in gaining access.

IFAJ News August 2013

IFAJ Newsletter Sponsor BEKINA® announces new AGRILITE boot

BEKINA®, the Belgian manufacturer of polyurethane boots has used its many years of expertise to create a totally new AGRILITE boot with one central advantage for the farmer : Xtra comfort. For more on this announcement click here.

Journalists can help farmers deliver on transparency

Owen Roberts
IFAJ Vice President

Are farmers using technology? I’ll say. Last Wednesday, my son-in-law Mark, a crop and livestock farmer, texted from the delivery room IT’S A BOY. He used technology to calm jittery nerves, to announce the arrival of Henry Huston, his and my daughter Alicia’s first child, and the first grandchild for my wife Angi and me. Great moments in issues management and multi-tasking, I’d say.
Admittedly, I'm an opportunist by connecting our grandson's arrival to technology on the farm. But in reality, technology is a popular topic with farmers, and always has been. A lot of talk surrounds technology uptake.

Lately, consumers are among the driving forces for those conversations. Almost everywhere, consumers have a growing interest in food production details. Simple clichés about our food being the best and the safest do not appeal to them anymore, if indeed they ever did.

Accordingly, the agri-food sector is making adjustments in its approach to public relations, to try explaining to consumers production hows and whys.

This includes how and why farmers, processors and manufacturers use science and technology, including genetically modified crops and modern feeding and housing livestock facilities.
This stepped-up approach is all in the name of transparency – that is, being forthright, ethical and proactive about actions, issues and activities. Everyone in the sector is reaching for it, to promote better understanding, generate trust and avoid accusations of secrecy.  It’s a well-intentioned, admirable goal.
Social media has given transparency a new edge. It’s given non-journalists the opportunity to become writers and publishers of their own material and reach new audiences.

Farmers who are particularly good at writing or broadcasting can strike up a direct conversation with farmers or consumers through blogs.

Some of the smartest media outlets use this to their advantage by welcoming farmer bloggers into their stable. After all, if readers are going to farmer blogs anyway, why not have them housed on a publication’s website, rather than having farmer bloggers get all those e-visits on their own?

It makes good business sense…and it’s good for transparency, as long as the blogger’s content isn’t under pressure from the publisher.

In Argentina, at IFAJ 2013, results will be revealed of the first-ever IFAJ-sanctioned survey of successful media approaches to technology transfer (results will also be posted later in the month on the IFAJ website).

I’m curious to see how transparency fits into these results, and in particular, what journalists see as the limiting factors in disseminating best practices to target audiences.

Early indications are that technology is not wholly to blame.

Wild Weather

John Morriss

Christian Mühlhausen

IFAJ ColleaguesThe following reports provide a brief look at the wild weather our colleagues across the globe are experiencing.

John Morriss, Associate publisher and editorial director for Farm Business Communications in Winnipeg, Canada provided this update of conditions: Rain makes grain, but…  The Canadian Prairies have often been the source of "How dry is it?" jokes ("The trees are following the dogs around," etc.) but we haven't heard too many of those in recent years, and certainly not this one. Climate change is often mentioned, and the skeptics seem quiet lately. The warming of our Arctic regions and the melting of the sea ice means more moisture evaporating into the atmosphere, and it has to fall somewhere.Whatever the reason, just about all of agricultural Canada, including both the Prairie provinces and southern Ontario and Quebec, has seen plenty of moisture this year. Overall, that's a good thing, but it's been accompanied by several unusual and extreme rainfall events. The mid-June deluge of more than 220 millimetres in 36 hours over the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and B.C. led to massive flooding and damage in Calgary and other cities in southern Alberta. Four people died, and damage is measured in the billions of dollars.In early July, Toronto received a record 126mm of rain in a single day, flooding parts of the city, submerging vehicles and knocking out electricity in many areas.In southwest Manitoba, two major rainstorms have flooded small towns. Tornado watchers who used to stay south of the border are now venturing into the area. And in neighbouring southeast Saskatchewan, on July 13 Grainews editor Leeann Minogue and her husband lost more than 80 per cent of their crop in a 10-minute hailstorm with tennis ball-sized hail. That makes two lost crops in three years — in 2011 they were unable to plant because of spring flooding. Again, this is traditionally one of those "How dry is it?" areas.But as the saying goes, "Rain makes grain," which means that aside from local flooded areas, at the end of July crops looked good to excellent across most of Canada. But many farmers were beginning to say "That will be enough for now," and hoping for a dry spell for the crop to mature and be harvested in good condition.

Another IFAJ Colleague, Christian Mühlhausen of Germany provided the following report.

Heavy rain for several days in the end of May caused one of the heaviest floods ever in Germany, especially in Eastern Germany.


The German government estimates the cost of the flood damage in 2013 for German farmers will be 400 million euros. The ministry will contribute more than 60 million euro and a matching amount will come from the federal states, for a total of 120 million. Bayern und Sachsen-Anhalt have the highest amount of damage, followed by Brandenburg, Niedersachsen, Sachsen und Thüringen.


The German Farmers Association DBV estimates the cost of the flood even higher: Above 430 million euro. Almost 495,000 acres of crop land and more than 320,000 acres of grassland are  affected by  flooding, along with  farm buildings


Joachim Rukwied, president of DBV in Germany, estimates about 15,000 farm families have suffered from the flood disaster. He thinks the total damage will cost half a billion Euro, and he believes the situation will result in higher prices for agriculture products.  Rukwied wants the affected regions to receive 500 Euro (per ha) in flood assistance from the government.


The DBV’s efforts to raise awareness of the flood situation has sparked a wave of help for farmers. Several organizations sent money to the “Schorlemer” foundation; 200 farm families have already received money from the foundation. However, not all costs could be paid, so the flood is still considered a disaster for German farmers.

Die Bild-Combo zeigt das vom Hochwasser überflutete Werratal bei Unterrieden (Hessen), auf dem oberen Bild während des Hochwassers am 05.06.2013, auf dem unteren Foto mit den Hochwasserschäden am 17.06.2013. Foto: Stefan Rampfel

Latin America increased agri-food exports

Círculo Argentino de Periodistas Agrarios (CAPA)

Latin American food sales have grown by 37 per cent in just five years, a growth that surpasses any other region. 

Between 2008 and 2012, Latin America and the Caribbean was the region with the greatest increase in agri-food exports worldwide. The external demand for these products, especially from Europe and Asian economies, contributed to a path of sustained growth throughout the region.

Oceania also significantly increased food exports: 36 per cent in the same period. Except for Asia, all continents increased food sales abroad in value, compared to 2008 (SEE PICTURE).


Variation 2008-2012



North America








Latin America and the Caribbean


This data comes from a report by the Argentine Circle of Agricultural Journalists (CAPA) and will be presented during the first Congress of Agricultural Journalists in Latin America, in Buenos Aires, September 1. This event will be the prelude to a wider gathering in the country, bringing together more than 200 agricultural journalists worldwide, September 1-5, for the IFAJ congress.
The report also reveals that Europe accounts for almost half of global agri-food market. This participation did not change significantly between 2008 and 2012.  For its part, Latin America accounted for 18 per cent of world exports in the sector, gaining three overall percentage points over 2008. Thus, the region ranks in second place as a global provider of food. Nearby is North America, with 15 per cent of the international offering.

Rising consumption
The study also highlighted increased food consumption per capita in the XXI century. This occurred mainly in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Asia, Middle East and North Africa ​​and Latin America.

"The prospects for the region are very good and the potential is huge. Population growth in 2050 challenges the region to veer towards higher value-added products, in order to feed the world, ensuring food security and nutritional populations," said Carlos Gonzalez, president of the organizing committee of the and IFAJ congress and the Latin American Congress.

Curci Gonzalez stressed that the Latin American meeting not only reflects the challenges facing the region in terms of food production, but also the mission of agricultural journalism to communicate these issues and be a link between the producers, political leadership and the population.

The event will feature speakers from the FAO and public policy experts such as Alvaro Ramos, IFAD representative Mercosur. This entity is a forum for policy dialogue in the field of family farming and food security in the Southern Cone of Latin America. Antonio Aracre, president of Syngenta, is another of the speakers, representing the business sector.

It will also show successful experiences of Latin American agricultural communications told by their protagonists.

2013 Star Prize for Photography Entries Now Online

Allison Finnamore

This year's 71 entries to the IFAJ Star Prize for Photography are now posted on the IFAJ website at

Keeping up with the high quality of entries in previous years, the photographs submitted this year by you, our IFAJ members, are amazing.

The judges, photographer and past IFAJ Star Prize in Photography Winner Alex de Haan of the Netherlands and Canadian Janice Thoroughgood, manager of creative development with Farm Credit Canada, scored 26 photographs in the Production Category, 23 photographs in the People Category and the 22 photographs in the Nature/Landscape Category. Your images took them on a trip around the world of agriculture and showed your vantage point through the viewfinder.

As head judge and contest coordinator, it was exciting to see your entries as they arrived in my inbox and be the first to view the collection of entries as a group. I also enjoyed seeing entries from past congresses or IFAJ-related tours. Your work is dynamic and dramatic.

When you look through this year's entries on the IFAJ website, please keep next year's contest in mind too. Over the upcoming months, consider keeping a file to track your possible entries, push yourself to capture an award-winning image and  encourage your colleagues to enter. This contest is open to all members of IFAJ in good standing, so there is no pre-judging by your national guild.

I look forward to sharing the judges' valuable feedback and results with you during the awards presentation at our annual congress in Argentina.