Master Class program gears up for Argentina

For the fourth year, farm journalists from developing countries will participate in the Master Class, which precedes the IFAJ 2013 congress (August 30-31). The Master Class will be held in the centre of Buenos Aires, not far from the hotel where congress begins, September 1. Participants will arrive on Thursday in Buenos Aires in order to have a get-familiar evening at the hotel before the classes begins Friday morning.

IFAJ member journalists are the faculty for the workshops, making it a true peer-to-peer event. Following the success of this class in Canada and Sweden, we are again combining the first day with the Boot Camp for Young Leaders.

The first day will focus on climate change, a global and increasingly pressing issue. All Master Class and Boot Camp participants received an email asking them to answer questions related to this topic, such as: “What do you consider the role of ag journalists in this matter?” or “What would you like to better understand as you report on these issues?”

The second day, the Master Class will mainly focus on the role of new media and the possibilities new media offer. We will also have news conferences on topics that our sponsors provide, guided by a senior journalist to help in shift the news from the PR.

The Master Class contributes to Millennium Development Goal 1, which is reducing hunger and poverty. Journalism is a powerful means to inform both farmers and the general public. The Master Class provides a dynamic professional development experience focused on skills, agricultural issues, media trends and agribusiness. It also gives IFAJ members access to contacts in countries often not federation members, but who are intricately involved in feeding an increasingly hungry world.

Attendants for the 2013 Master Class all come from Latin-American countries. The Master Class coordinator is José van Gelder. For any questions regarding this event, contact José at vangelder[at]

And again…a lot of enthusiasm for the E-4-D Media Tour!

It’s not even the official deadline for sending in the applications, and already E-4-D media tour organizer José van Gelder with AgriTerra is receiving good response.

José states that, although it seems impossible to match to last years’ success, she is sure that Uganda will do so.

“We are in contact with the Uganda Cooperative Alliance, with the farmers’ federation of Uganda and with my colleague Taco who works in Uganda as an economic advisor. What even makes it better, is that his wife Naomi, who worked for Dutch television in the past, helps us with the whole setup of the program. She will visit all the places that we identify for the tour in order to check their relevance for ag journalists and their audience.”

The tour will start in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. From there the group will travel southwest to Mbarara. Because of the climate, this is a very productive region providing all sorts of crops, fruit and dairy.
“We will visit local markets, meet government officials, visit small holders, private companies and farmer-led cooperatives and make sure we see some unforgettable spots in the Uganda country side,” says Van Gelder.

Countries with submitted applications are Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa and the UK.

For more information contact vangelder[at]

Ag Journalists prepare for trip to Uganda

Fifteen  journalists from around the world will soon travel to Uganda for the IFAJAgriCord Exposure-4-Development Tour. An international judging panel will choose successful candidates  from each country's entries.  

For more for more details on the Uganda program. 

Members' responses sought for research study about knowledge transfer in agricultural journalism and communication

Owen Roberts

IFAJ Vice-President

IFAJ executive members have been asked this week to engage their guilds in a survey about their role as what's called "knowledge brokers" -- those who help transfer information to farmers.
All IFAJ members are encouraged to participate in this survey, the first-ever of its kind.
You -- and the IFAJ -- will benefit from the wealth of information collected. This includes best practices your international colleagues have found to collect information, how to create engaging media and new ways media are disseminating information to their audiences.
This survey will also provide global insights into the role agricultural communicators and journalists play in migrating knowledge within the agricultural industry.
Don't miss this unique opportunity to have your thoughts included in this study -- expect an email shortly from your executive member explaining the survey and providing a link to participate.
Please contact me if you have any questions, owen[at]

Internet adding $2,000-plus annual gross farm income to small farms

Jim Evans

Small farms with access to the Internet earned approximately $2,200 to $2,700 more in gross farm income compared to small farms without access to the Internet – that’s  the conclusion in a research report  added to the ACDC collection. A pair of agricultural economists at Louisiana State University used data from a nationwide U. S. Department of Agriculture survey of farm households in 2010. They defined a "small farm" as having a gross cash farm income of less than $250,000. Sixty-two percent of the small farm households had access to the Internet.

Researchers concluded that small farm businesses, through good management of off-farm and on-farm activities, can benefit from Internet service as it opens up options for gaining information and potentially reducing input costs and household expenses.

You can read this conference paper, "Assessing the impact of Internet access," at:

British Guild of Agricultural Journalists chairman takes on blog

Guild chairman Jane Craigie recently began a blog about the many activities she is involved with, including preparations for IFAJ Congress 2014 in north-east Scotland next September. Her latest blog describes visits to three Congress media tour destinations - Mackies, the Glenlivet Estate and Ballindalloch, a Highlands estate with the World's oldest Aberdeen-Angus herd.

Follow BAJ Chairman Jane Craigie’s blog here,

Irish Guild names new chairman

Miriam Atkins, editor of Irish Food magazine, was recently named chairman of Ireland’s guild. She will serve the organization in this role over the next two years.

IFAJ News June 2013

Twofold challenge for Ag journalists

Markus Rediger
IFAJ President

In Switzerland only 6.8 percent of household expenditure is spent on food (2011), the lowest percentage in the history of my country. In 1990, the average household paid just 11 percent for food. Which means the Swiss, and with them many consumers in European and other countries, pay less and less for their daily bread.

In Switzerland the total share of a food product's value that goes to farmers' pockets is around 30 percent, according to the economic account of the farmers' association. The more a product is processed, the less money the producer or farmer receives.

For fresh veal, about half of the cost goes back to the farmers. From one liter of milk the farmer receives 45 percent and for cheese, just 33 percent.

Behind these statistics are many stories to investigate and write about for a wide variety of audiences, both farmers and consumers.

Although the supermarket shelves here are overloaded with plenty of food and food is getting cheaper, studies show that consumers are more and more dissatisfied with their food today. They believe that this will not get better in the future. Scandals like the horse meat fraud in Europe support this. Yet, consumers need to eat and drink every day. Lucky the consumer who can trust the food on his plate.

It's my opinion that the more calories consumers have on their plate and the cheaper it costs, the less they seem to trust their food. There is need for unbiased information, a need for solid journalism to inform and establish trust – a twofold challenge in the food sector.

In many places on the globe there is a shortage of trained and professional journalists, including agricultural journalists. The challenge for an Ag journalist is that he is a good writer or communicator (depending on the media) and that he has solid specialist knowledge of agriculture, faming and the food sector. This is a twofold basic challenge in our profession. Our guilds in the member countries and IFAJ offer support for both areas. We invite journalists on tours to all sectors of the food chain in many countries and our professional development helps build skills in writing, photography, as well as leadership.

One of our next opportunities will be the next international IFAJ Congress in Argentina in September 2013. Don’t miss it! The members of CAPA (Circulo Argentino de Periodistas Agrarios) are working to meet the needs of their colleagues. It is their first international IFAJ Congress in their 57 years of existence, and it is our first visit as IFAJ to South America.

In IFAJ we are working to implement our new strategy of becoming more international in scope. Meanwhile, a group of colleagues is working on improvements to the constitution. Lastly, we offer two part-time positions this summer. One replaces the existing Executive Secretary, as Connie Siemes retires in September. The other is a new position as global coordinator. Please check the IFAJ website and inform your colleagues! I am looking forward to hearing from you or meeting you in the near future. 

Call for applicants

IFAJ is pleased to announce two positions are currently available to assist the organization. These openings follow the retirement of IFAJ executive secretary Connie Siemes, and reflect new priorities established by your acceptance of the global Strategy 2020, in Sweden and Berlin.

Please see the job descriptions for details about each position, and circulate these calls for applications among your members. Anyone is welcome to apply.

IFAJ President Markus Rediger is chairing the hiring committee, along with IFAJ vice-president Owen Roberts, Lena Johansson from Sweden and Adrian Bell from Great Britain.


Please direct questions to Markus Rediger, President of IFAJ to . Send letters of intent through July 15, 2013.

General manager
Two days a week.
(Executive Secretary and internet network facilitator)

The general manager maintains contact with executive members, guild secretaries and the presidium. The general manager’s home base is considered the official, central contact point for IFAJ, for incoming and outgoing correspondence. The general manger supports all members of the presidium; archives and maintains IFAJ official documents (such as brochures, medals, diplomas, public relations material); manages the IFAJ website in cooperation with the webmaster, the communications committee chair and the presidium member in charge of communications (vice-president) and contributes news content for the website.

The general manager will help facilitate the new IFAJ Internet network and social media in cooperation with the global coordinator. This includes organizing and promoting the platform, participating in the platform (launching discussions, answering administrative questions, involving others for contributions), overseeing content and helping maintain professional standards.

The general manager manages production and distribution of official IFAJ information such as IFAJ News and website updates.

The following are other duties:

-    Organize regular IFAJ business meetings (prepare agendas, reports, etc.).
-    Serve as a liaison for IFAJ congresses and Green Week meetings.
-    Update contact lists of the Presidium, executives and other guild chairs and secretaries of member organizations, related organizations and sponsors.
-    Creates global member database.

- Process press cards requests.
- Other services as required.

 Marketing and Public Relations
-    Assist with marketing IFAJ to other journalistic organizations, potential sponsors and new member countries.
-    Prepare IFAJ marketing and public relations materials.

Web network
•    Stimulates participation on the platform (launching discussion, answering questions, involving others for contribution.
•    Overseeing content and maintaining professional standards.

This position is expected to require two days of work per week.
Salary is to be determined.
Start: Summer 2013
Language: Fluency in English and one other IFAJ official language would be an asset.
Accountable to the president.

Global coordinator
One day per week.
Coordinator strategy 2020, treasurer and guild support

The global coordinator reports to the presidium and works to create liaisons and manage partner programs between IFAJ and agricultural journalists worldwide. The global coordinator works with the general manager to help implement Strategy 2020, coordinating new outreach projects, guild liaison and guild support, and develops programs described in Strategy 2020, giving input and direction to IFAJ committees which are implementing Strategy 2020.
Guild support
•    Determine where guild support is required
•    Network with membership and outreach committee

•    Provide strategic support for the treasurer and the sponsorship committee (letters, communications, sponsor proposals) for the increasing need to fundraise and manage money.

This position is expected to require one day of work per week.
Salary is to be determined.
Start: Summer 2013
Language: Fluency in English and one other IFAJ official language would be an asset