IFAJ Executive Committee At Green Week

Stephen Cadogan
IFAJ Communications Chair

The IFAJ presidium has been very busy over the last four months, since meeting in Canada.

As a result, there is a full agenda for the IFAJ business meeting set scheduled for January 19-21 in Berlin, where IFAJ is the guest of Messe Berlin at the International Green Week.

High on the agenda for the executive committee is the IFAJ Challenge 2020 global strategic plan.

Executive members will also try to find time to report on the IGW international exhibition for the food, agricultural, and horticultural industries, taking place for the 77th time in 2012.

Producers from all over the world use the IGW to test-market food and luxury items and establish a brand image. Exhibitors often organize around national, regional, or product themes. Presentations feature fresh produce, fish, meats, and dairy products, combined with a vast selection of international wine, beer, and spirits specialties. The event runs from January 20-29, and includes direct agricultural sales, an organic products section, commercial and non-commercial agriculture, forestry, and landscaping exhibits.

Registration for 56th Annual IFAJ Congress in Sweden Opens Soon

The 2012 IFAJ Congress is set for August 15-19, and is themed "Solutions for a green future". The conference will take place at Lake Mälaren, 35 km west of Stockholm Central station. Participants will be able to choose one of eight excursions for the tour days.

Post Congress will take place on Gotland, the biggest island of Sweden, situated in the Baltic Sea.

Registration begins February 10.

For more information visit: http://www.ifaj.org/congress2012.html

Explore Finland Before IFAJ 2012 in Sweden

Riitta Mustonen

Planning your trip to Scandinavia for the next IFAJ Congress? Consider visiting Finland for a pre-congress tour.

The Finnish Association of Agricultural Journalists is hosting a pre-congress tour in Finland, for two days and two nights, ending in Stockholm early Wednesday, August 15.

The tour will begin in Helsinki on Monday, August 13 in the forest. Experience beautiful Finnish nature and learn what Finns do in the woods. That evening refresh yourself in the smoke sauna at a beautiful lake before joining a delicious dinner at the Farmers' Union's estate. The tour will stay in the countryside and enjoy breakfast at a Finnish country house.

On the second day participants will choose to visit either a dairy, oat or hog farm , and that evening discover where the Moomins live. Then the group will board the Viking Line and see the tremendous archipelago on the way from Turku to Stockholm.

The pre-congress fee will cover all the expenses from Helsinki to Stockholm, including food, accommodations, bus trip and ferry.


Pre-congress participants traveling to Helsinki will need to take a ferry overnight from Stockholm to Helsinki, or fly out that morning. There are also many flights from central European airports.

For full tour information, visit www.maataloustoimittajat.fi/precongresstour2012.


Eight Tours Now on Congress Website

Marina Tell

Participants of the 2012 IFAJ Congress can choose from one of eight tours during their time in Sweden. With eight tours to choose from, there will be 25 delegates on each tour.

Registering for the Congress early betters your chance to get your first choice tour. Registration begins February 10. Keep an eye on the congress website www.ifaj2012.se.

European network of Agricultural Journalists Established

Damien O' Reilly
Acting Secretary, ENAJ

The European Network of Agricultural Journalists (ENAJ) has been  launched as a new organization representing agricultural journalists from the EU. The new network will help agricultural journalists throughout the EU communicate, and provide members with better access on important issues.

The ENAJ will work to establish agriculture guilds and associations in member states who do not have an agricultural journalism organizational structure. The organization also aims to provide professional development opportunities for young journalists and will run two major networking events annually where journalists can meet and debate latest issues with key figures from European agriculture, including the Commission and member state ministers.

ENAJ is initially led by Belgian journalist Jef Verhaeran. Verhaeran explained the new organization came from a meeting of minds between journalists and the EU Commission earlier this year. Leaders of agricultural journalist associations from member states came together to explore the possibility of establishing a new organization and the idea received the backing of member guilds and associations.

Over the next 12 months a "project team" of eight journalists is working to establish and grow the network. The team includes, Damien O'Reilly (Ireland), Katharina Seuser (Germany), Hans Siemes (Netherlands), Eric Massin (France), Jesus Lopez Colmenarejo (Spain), Tatianna Cop (Slovenia) and Adrian Bell (UK).

Dr. Henning Otte Hansen Receives Award

Overrækkelse af legat på økonomikongres i Dansk Landbrug
Hans Bang Hansen, næstformand i foreningen Nykredit (t.v.) med legatmodtageren Henning Otte Hansen (t.h)
Kolding Hotel Comwell, 6.12.2011
Foto: Søren Holm/Chili

Connie Siemes
IFAJ Executive Secretary

Dr. Henning Otte Hansen, senior advisor at the University of Copenhagen and chairman of the judging panel for the IFAJ-Yara Award for Sustainable Agriculture Reporting, received the Nykredit Award at the annual Economic Congress by the Danish Farmers Union Advisory Department. This is a major honour in Denmark.

In 2011 Dr. Hansen accepted a three-year assignment to be the chief judge of IFAJ’s Yara Award.

Nykredit is a major Danish Credit Institution providing loans to farmers, businesses and private families.

IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders Award supports professional development, leadership training

Lisa Guenther

Guilds are now seeking applications from members for the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award.

The deadline is earlier than originally scheduled (brought forward to March 1, 2012).

As working journalists and communicators, our learning does not end with the completion of a post-secondary program.

The world we work and live in is changing more quickly than ever. We need to sharpen our skills, increase the depth and breadth of our knowledge, and connect with colleagues. The IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism Award is one program that helps us do just that.

For more information, visit http://www.ifaj.org/contests-and-awards/young-leaders-award.html.

About IFAJ News

We want to share your Guild’s news in the IFAJ News. Send news or article ideas to editor Karlie Elliott Bowman at k.elliott.bowman@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@ifaj.org. You can also follow IFAJ on Twitter @IFAJ, and you can find us on Facebook.


IFAJ News January 2012

Overcoming our language barriers

Mike Wilson
IFAJ President
United States

I have learned many things about communication while serving the IFAJ, and one of the most important lessons is this: we should never let language differences become a barrier to growing our organization beyond our current status.

In meeting and interacting with many agricultural journalists around the world, there are some cases where we simply do not speak the same language. Even so, we often find a way to communicate. Maybe with gestures, or with sounds, or by pointing to something, or asking for assistance.

With patience and a smile, we can nearly always find a way to connect with others.

Even so, language is one of the “hot button” issues in our organization. If you don’t believe it, just go to the IFAJ Facebook page and read the posts about language beginning around October 2011. In one post initiated by Brita Drangsholt Jaksjø there were no less than 62 comments about language alone!

As you know, IFAJ has three official languages: English, French and German. French is rarely used, as France right now is not a member of IFAJ. We use English as our ‘working language’ when we hold business meetings and congresses. We have many German-speaking members and we now have our newsletter available in both English and German, thanks to our partnership with Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC).

Now IFAJ is branching into different areas of the world and we don’t want language barriers to slow us down. In 2007 IFAJ added its first South American country, Argentina. That is where we will hold our first South American congress in 2013.

We made the connection with Argentina while traveling there at a press conference in 2005. We just happened to meet Mercedes Colombres, an agricultural journalist working at La Nacion, who told us about CAPA, Argentina’s agricultural journalists guild. Mercedes knew English, and the relationship between IFAJ and CAPA grew from there.

There are many other Spanish-speaking agricultural journalists the IFAJ has yet to reach. As our Spanish IFAJ executive Jesus Colmenarejo notes, Spanish is the second most common language on the planet, and growing. I’m hopeful that we will be able to begin offering a Spanish-language IFAJ newsletter sometime this year.

One of the problems with language can be translation costs. That’s one reason why we have relied on English as the working language of our organization, as a vast majority of people know at least some English. In one-on-one situations, I often used Google’s online translating tool when I get a non-English email from someone interested in joining or talking about IFAJ. Online translators help, but they are not perfect.

IFAJ often depends on volunteers to help with translations. That was the case last year when we held our first Master Class program. We had journalists from China, Brazil, Argentina and Africa (many of whom spoke French), to name a few countries. Yet, we were able to communicate. Some of the best comments came from the journalists who spoke not one word of English!

One thing we don’t want to happen is to allow language issues to divide us. People become very passionate when they discuss this topic, and sometimes they forget that words, in any language, can hurt. So if you find yourself debating language with a colleague, keep it positive. Remember that IFAJ is about building professional development.

I can’t say for sure what kind of changes are ahead for IFAJ and the languages we will need to incorporate into our business model. But if we hope to be inclusive – to grow beyond our traditional regions - we will need to make the appropriate changes.  Let’s stay focused on our common values. That’s the best way to keep building this worldwide organization, despite our differences.

New IFAJ Executive Committee Members Named

Karlie Elliott Bowman
IFAJ News Editor

IFAJ welcomes new members to the executive committee. Each country’s guild is has an executive committee representative. Click here to learn more about your country’s contact.

Newest members of the IFAJ committee include:

Leigh Radford

Leigh Radford of Australia is the National Editor of ABC Rural, a special department within the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He primarily covers agriculture and mining issues. In addition to his involvement with ACAJ he is Vice President of his state’s rural press club, Rural Media South Australia.He said, “I’m delighted to join the Executive of the IFAJ and contribute to the international body that represents rural and agricultural journalists. IFAJ can be a powerful vehicle to encourage dialogue between journalists in different parts of the world, exchange ideas, learn from one another and become better educated about the issues faced in other parts of the world.”

Per Henrik Hansen

Per Henrik Hansen of Denmark is a journalist and communications consultant for topics including food, agriculture and rural areas. He primarily works with Denmark’s organic sector.Per looks forward to contributing to further developing IFAJ and helping it become a more global organization, including helping colleagues of third world countries gain international contacts, and develop professionally.

Tadashi Murata

Tadashi Murata of Japan is an editor for the Zenkou Kyoudou Publication Ltd. Zenkou Kyoudou publishes a monthly magazine and the book of business management for the Japan Agricultural Co-operatives(JA) and Small Business co-operatives. He also runs a flower shop in Tokyo and a private business specializing in websites and writing.Tadashi has experienced the community provided by IFAJ members and said he looks forward to another exciting Congress and seeing friends. As an executive team member he’s looking forward to learning more details about agriculture in other countries.

Steve Werblow
United States

Steve Werblow is a freelance writer and photographer in the northwestern part of the U.S.A.  He works for John Deere's magazines, The Furrow and Homestead, as well as a variety of other clients in agriculture and industry.

Steve says he is looking forward to helping IFAJ continually broaden its international network and find new ways to provide professional development opportunities for members around the world.

IFAJ Executive Committee Members Retire

IFAJ Executive Committee Members Retire

Niels Christian
Niels Christian Jorgensen will participate in his last IFAJ Executive Committee meeting in Berlin.  Jorgensen retires from the job as Danish executive to IFAJ, handing the seat to Per Henrik Hansen.

Jorgensen, who turned 70 last summer, was elected a new member of the Danish Food and Agricultural Journalists in 1989, and also took on the role of Danish executive to IFAJ. After 14 days, when the president of the Danish guild withdrew, Niels was elected for this post too.

He abdicated from the presidential chair in 1998, prior to IFAJ Congress, which in 1999 was held in Denmark. But he remained IFAJ executive and furthermore treasurer and secretary of the Danish guild.

Niels is still in charge of these posts, but decided that time has come for a generational change in the international activities.

With his great knowledge of international affairs, Niels has been an important person in IFAJ. The organization has benefited from Niels's labor in many contexts, and after 22 years, his interest for the international aspects is still unabated.

Niels graduated as an agronomist in 1968, and earned his diploma in marketing economics from Copenhagen Business School in 1972. He was a consultant for the Danish Bacon and Meat Council, stationed in Brussels from 1973-1974. In 1980, he was appointed Communications and Information Officer for the organization.

Since 2003, Jorgensen has worked with his wife, Mariann, in their joint enterprise 2vejs kommunikation.

Masaru Yamada

Executive member Masaru Yamada of Japan, has been involved with IFAJ since the early 1990s. He retires as IFAJ executive in Berlin, passing the role to Tadashi Murata.

Masaru attended his first IFAJ Congress (in Sweden) as a young journalist. He has attended 12 to date, with his passion growing for the organization ever since.

Masaru’s commitment as an agricultural journalist and executive team member has played a large role in increasing the Japanese Agricultural Journalists Association's participation in IFAJ. In 2007, Masaru and JAJA hosted the IFAJ Congress. Masaru served as lead organizer.

He’s been a member of JAJA Japanese since1985, and has served as International Director, and IFAJ Regional Vice President for Asia.

Masaru began his journalism career in April of 1977, after graduating from National Nagoya University’s agricultural school. He has worked his entire career for the Japan Agricultural News, a daily newspaper with a circulation of 350,000 copies.

IFAJ colleagues thank him for his thoughtful, insightful, sincere advice and delightful sense of humor.

Masaru said, “IFAJ has been extremely valuable for my professional career. No other journalists covering agriculture in Japan have a greater professional network.”

Liz Kellaway Harfull

Also leaving the IFAJ executive is Liz (Kellaway) Harfull of Australia. Among the high offices held by Liz in IFAJ were regional vice president for the South Pacific area.

In 2004, she took over the editorship of the IFAJ newsletter, and increased its frequency from two to three issues per year to four to five issues annually, greatly increasing the number of pages and quality.

Liz was the founding coordinator of the IFAJ Star Prize for Broadcasting, putting heart and soul into getting the competition off the ground and making it a solid part of the IFAJ awards program. IFAJ now seeks a new coordinator for the competition.

Liz is a sought-after author, and has just completed 12 months of research for her next book. She is stepping back from all IFAJ duties but continuing as president of the Australian guild through August 2012.

How European Experts View Traceability Of Foods and Ingredients

Jim Evans
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center
United States

A recent British Food Journal article reported on research among European food risk managers to assess the advantages and disadvantages of traceability.  Through a two-round Delphi technique, experts identified nine advantages on which more than 50 percent agreed. Topping that list was the advantage of accurately tracing products if a safety incident occurs.

Managers identified three disadvantages on which more than 50 percent agreed:

  • Varied accuracy of traceability between links in the chain
  • Administration and paperwork required
  • Limited reliability of the system used. 

You can gain access to this article, "Experts' perspectives on the implementation of traceability in Europe," from the publisher here.