Journalism Award Winners Named at Congress

The winners of the IFAJ contests were announced during the Congress in Sweden. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who submitted their work. It’s amazing to see what colleagues across the globe are working on.

IFAJ-YARA Award for Sustainable Agriculture Reporting
Winner: Kerry Staight, Australia
Second Place: Martha Wairimu Nyambura, Kenya
Third Place: Aage Krogsdam, Denmark

For more about the IFAJ-YARA Award and to read the winning entries, click here.

IFAJ Star Prize For Photo Excellence
Winner: Cliff Donaldson, Northern Ireland.

People Category
Winner: Brian Cassey, Australia
Distinguished recognition: John Eveson, Great Britain

Winner: Evan Morgan, Australia
Distinguished recognition: Cliff Donaldson, Northern Ireland

Winner: Cliff Donaldson, Northern Ireland
Distinguished recognition: Hans Dahlgren, Sweden

To learn more and see winning photos, click here (

IFAJ Star Prize for Print Journalism
Winner: Mary Baxter, Canada
Honorable mention: Friederike Krick, Germany.

IFAJ names winners of Star Prize broadcasting awards
Winner Radio: Eric Poulsen, Denmark
Honourable mention: Kendall Jackson, Australia
Winner TV: Kerry Staight, Australia
Honourable mention: Eric Poulsen, Denmark

Winner Video: Damien O’Reilly, Ireland
Honourable mention: Nancy Nicolson, Great Britain

To view or listen to the winning entries, click here (

Japanese Colleagues Grateful For Donations

The Assembly of delegates at the IFAJ congress in Sweden received a report from Tadashi Murata about the distribution of donations of money that were forwarded by members of IFAJ following the tsunami disaster in Japan in 2011. The region around Sendai was one of the areas most seriously affected by the disaster. A total of 14,624 euro were transferred through IFAJ to the Japan Agricultural Journalists' Association (JAJA).

This money had been delivered by JAJA to farmers and businesses in the region around Sendai, who were hosts during the IFAJ congress in 2007. All of the victims expressed great appreciation of the kindness shown in the donations from IFAJ. Follow this link to see the report in pictures of the handing over of donations in Japan. The remainder of the money is to be donated to the Fukushima farmers against the radiation disaster.

Professional Development Features Focus on Photography Safety

Jim Evans

Mark Moore

"One step right and hold on tight.  Steady now."
"Plant the food.  Get a grip.  Careful, now."

These features highlight the risks and safe-shooting sides of agricultural photography, based on experiences and tips from eight IFAJ members in the U.S.  Author Mark Moore spearheaded the effort, inviting information from American Agricultural Editors' Association members. The features include contributions from Gil Gullickson, Charles Johnson, Christine McClintic, John Otte, Jim Patrico, Harlen Persinger and Wayne Wenzel, as well as Mark. I helped coordinate the effort, on behalf of ACDC.

You can see the features at

Do you have other experiences or tips to share? We’d enjoy hearing about them and ways to further mitigate risks. Email your thoughts to IFAJ News editor k.elliott.bowman(at)

IFAJ News October 2012

Moving forward on transparency

Owen Roberts, Canada

At this year’s highly successful congress in Sweden, transparency was a recurring theme among executive members, delegates and the presidium.

It’s certainly an important topic – in a global organization such as ours, communications with members must be constant. Decisions must be open.

Owing to the breadth of countries that belong to IFAJ, we only meet once a year as delegates and twice a year as an executive. That means a great deal of administrative activity must occur outside of our general gatherings to keep the organization running smoothly.

And as we’re realizing now, that infrequent schedule also makes the need for transparency and clear communications even more important.

So with that in mind, greater transparency measures are underway.

For example, to address what could be a more open election process, a constitution sub-committee has been organized, chaired by President Markus Rediger of Switzerland. This sub-committee is charged with reviewing matters such as the existing rules which permit withholding the number of votes tallied by candidates during presidium elections.

As well, consideration is being given to publish meeting minutes on the IFAJ website, so all members can see what their executive and presidium are discussing.

That measure would serve to communicate another transparency step taken by the finance and sponsorship committee at the Swedish congress – where the executive committee was given details of individual sponsorships received by the federation for professional development initiatives, particularly contests. 
Another move towards greater transparency was a decision to state the IFAJ’s facebook policy on its facebook page, to let users know they are welcome to participate in discussions as long as they follow guidelines surrounding good taste and relevancy. The policy, passed by a motion at the executive meeting, supports efforts to control cyber bullying and let all members have a voice for discussion, without fear of ridicule.

And finally, the professional development and education committee will be asked to make recommendations to Secretary General Riitta Mustonen of Finland about judges for the all-important IFAJ star prizes. This will help open the judging process and broaden the field of judges. 

All these efforts are designed to make IFAJ more open and accountable. Please send me a message at owen(at) and let me know what else you think could be improved. The presidium is very interested in what you have to say.

Riding On a High

Karlie Elliott Bowman

IFAJ News Editor

The weather here reminds me of the wonderful weather we all enjoyed in Sweden—even including some rain. It finally started raining, just when we were all beginning to wonder if Mother Nature remembered how to do so. Of course, for many of us in the States, the rains came too late to help our crops. And, as many of you asked at the Congress, yes, the drought really has been as bad as media portrayed.

I’m still on a high from our recent Congress in Sweden. There’s nothing like being surrounded by global colleagues to further heighten one’s love for agriculture and increasing one’s perspective on international issues.

There’s another instance that’s been exciting for those of us in conventional agriculture. Standford University recently released a study confirming organic produce is not more nutritious than conventional. This information made quite a splash on Facebook and Twitter. You can read what two of my favorite bloggers had to say about it here and here.

This newsletter is jam-packed. In this edition you’ll hear from the IFAJ Presidium, learn about the IFAJ contest winners, meet IFAJ’s newest guild, hear from another Boot Camp member and much more. I hope you find it valuable.

And, please feel free to contribute articles or submit comments by emailing me at k.elliott.bowman(at), finding me on Facebook at Karlie Elliott Bowman or looking me up on Twitter, #KarlieElliottBowman. I look forward to hearing from you.

India’s Guild Joins IFAJ

Lena Johansson

The Indian guild is the newest IFAJ member. During the Congress delegate assembly members voted in favor of the guild joining the organization.

India has a long tradition of freedom of press and democracy. The country the worlds largest producer of milk and the second largest producer of wheat and rice. India's arable land area of 159.7 million hectares, the second largest in the world, after the United States.

Journalist Sayani Surender currently leads the Indian guild, Kisantalkies, and said it’s important for the guild to join IFAJ because, ”India has always had its share of good agricultural journalists. But most of their work is confined due to regional language. So I, along with some of my journalist friends, started the national guild Kisantalkies. As we were still in the initial stage of forming the federation we got to know IFAJ, which was well organized and doing great work. So we wanted to be part of IFAJ and together.

The Kisantalkies organization currently has about 50 agri journalists members.

Surender said, ”India is just catching up with technological upgrades and other mechanizations in agriculture. So contacts with other countries can lead to exchange of ideas, technology and innovation.
Farm journalism is more organized abroad and this can help India in implementing some of our global colleague’s ideas for Indian agri journalism and take it to the next level which can benefit the farming community.”

He also mentioned, ”We are happy and thank IFAJ for voting India to be a part of the federation.”

Highlights from IFAJ Pre Congress Tour

Maija Soljanlahti

Thirty journalists from across the globe participated in IFAJ’s Pre Congress tour in southern Finland.

Participants explored the forest, sampled delicious salmon soup and met the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Jari Koskinen, by a campfire. And this was just the beginning of the two day event.

Attendees traveled to Kettula, a forest farm owned by the Farmers' Union MTK. The chairman, Juha Marttila, talked about farming and forestry in Finland.

IFAJ members also had some fun on the tour, enjoying the sauna, swimming in the lake and learning how to play the wooden stick game.

One the second day of the tour IFAJ members visited a dairy, hog and arable farm. There they learned about animal health and breeding.

The tour wrapped up with time to explore Moomin World and the old city of Naantali before boarding a ferry for Stockholm via the Finnish Gulf.

For more information and photos visit,

Recounting an IFAJ Alltech Young Leader Experience

Karlie Elliott Bowman
IFAJ News Editor

Alexis Kienlen, of Canada, was one of this year’s Alltech Young Leader Boot Camp participants, which took place before the IFAJ Congress in Sweden. Alexis writes for the Alberta Farmer, freelances, writes poetry and fiction and has extensive travel experiences.   

Alexis shares her experiences from the Boot Camp and Congress with us, in English, via her blog.

Alexis said, “Here’s the backstory, my friend Lisa Guenther was the 2011 Young Leader and attended the IFAJ conference last year in Guelph . She was the one who urged me to apply, and I will always be grateful to her because I had an amazing experience.”

For more about this year’s Boot Camp and Master Class visit their blog.

Exposure-4-Development Media Tour

José van Gelder

On November 15 IFAJ member journalists will travel to Kenya, for the IFAJ/Agriterra E-4-D Media Tour.

This years’ tour is carried out under the umbrella of the UN International Year of Cooperatives. The program will focus on visiting farmer cooperatives. From vegetables to coffee, from dairy to credit coops for small farmers. It is all covered. If you want to know more about the background of this tour, see the IFAJ website under “Professional Development”.

The tour will begin in the Nairobi area where participants will see a livestock market, farmer field schools and a cooperative bank. During the tour, the group will travel up north as far as Meru and Mitunguu, which is northeast of Kenya National Park. At that point we visit the plants of our main tour sponsor, British American Tobacco. We will end the tour in Naivasha, southwest of Nairobi and famous for its lake.

Look for Tweets and Facebook updates from the group beginning November 4. Upon returning home After the group has returned we will make sure that experiences are shared with you through the IFAJ website and Newsletter.