Japanese and Australian communicators link

Gordon Collie, Australia

When the Japanese rural media wanted to learn more about the impact of disastrous floods on the sugar industry in Australia, the international contact network was put to good use.

Yamada Masaru of the Japanese Agricultural Journalists Association got in touch with his colleagues at the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.

ACAJ immediate past president Gordon Collie became a tour guide for Hana Saito, a photo journalist with the daily Japan Agricultural News who flew to Brisbane in January. Ms Saito had briefings with sugar industry leaders who outlined the impact of a huge wet season and flooding – more than $500 million losses with an estimated six million tons of cane unable to be harvested in 2010.

Japan is a major customer for Australian sugar, which has been in tight supply as months of soaking rain brought a soggy end to the crushing season. This was before the impact of tropical cyclone Yasi which caused further havoc to the sugar industry in the far north in early February.

Saito, a Masters graduate from London Metropolitan University, travelled to the southern cane growing region of Bundaberg to report on the aftermath of December floods. She got a close-up look at paddocks where top soil had been swept away and sick cane crops inundated by waters overflowing from the Burnett and Kolan rivers. Her photos were emailed back to Tokyo from a wireless laptop at a farmhouse within minutes of being taken to meet tight deadlines.

Taryn heads east- agricultural journalist forsakes British Columbia for Britain

Canadian agricultural journalist Tayrn Carlton is welcomed by chief executive Clarke Black to the Ulster Farmers' Union head office team in Belfast as communications manager.

Rodney Magowan, United Kingdom

As agricultural journalists worldwide prepare to attend the IFAJ Congress in Canada this fall Canadian Taryn Carlton is enjoying her new role in Northern Ireland.

Communications Officer with the Ulster Farmers’ Union since October 2010, Taryn manages media campaigns and press calls on regional, national and European Union farm issues. CAP reform, new policies from the recently elected United Kingdom coalition government and regional assembly farm budget debates leave Taryn little time to ponder her counter-move against the centuries long flow of migrants west to Canada!

From Abbotsford, 45 minutes out of Vancouver, in the fertile Fraser Valley of British Columbia, Taryn joined the Canadian government agricultural research body on graduating from the University of Victoria.

Then followed six years in Scotland managing communications for a charity handling mental health problems, including those in isolated farming, crofting and fishing communities.

Moving 12 miles across the North Channel from Scotland to Northern Ireland and her UFU post allows Taryn to combine interests and experience in communications and agriculture. Though friends in the NI Guild of Agricultural Journalists suspect her fiancé, a farmer’s son from North Antrim, is the real reason Taryn forsook those wide-open spaces of Canada for our wee fields and rolling green hills!

Alltech cuts the ribbon on opportunity at $200 million algae facility

Christina Lombard, USA

IFAJ sponsor, Alltech, presents a technological and environmentally conscious breakthrough.

A global leader in natural animal nutrition, Alltech recently opened its $200 million Alltech Algae plant in Winchester, Kentucky. It is a state-of-the-art algae fermentation facility that was acquired in 2010 from Martek Bioscience Corporation, and is one of the largest algae production sites in the world.

The primary focus of the facility is the development of products derived from algae. The algae will be used for value-added feed products, algae-derived bio-fuel and for the production of ethanol.

Algae capture CO2 and release it as pure oxygen, creating  70% of our atmosphere’s oxygen, more than all forests and fields combined. Algae are the fastest growing plants in nature and have the ability to convert large amounts of carbon dioxide into oxygen.

“For Alltech, algae fermentation presents the latest technological frontier from which we expect incredible opportunities in the areas of food, feed and fuel to arise,” said Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech. “We have already been working in this area for several years and see it playing a major role in both human and animal health and nutrition.”

New resources for keeping a safe eye on agriculture

Jim Evans, USA

What guidelines can you use for the safety aspects of what you are writing, telling or showing about agricultural equipment being operated, livestock being handled and dozens of other agricultural activities?  A new IFAJ professional development feature introduces a set of "Media Guidelines for Agricultural Safety" that agricultural journalists and communicators may find helpful.  IFAJ member Scott Heiberger provides them, as developed by an international team of agricultural safety specialists. He also introduces a website that describes more than 60 main hazards associated with farm chores and other activities in which children sometimes take part.  You can help make these guidelines even more widely appropriate, internationally, for particular regions, cultures or type of agricultural activity. More.

Issue March 2011

IFAJ News March 2011

Can you believe it is March already! Welcome to this month’s edition of the IFAJ News. As always, it is a pleasure to share the organization’s news with you.

In this issue you will find new professional development ideas, as well as recent news and updates from member guilds and members around the world.

Always, many thanks to those who send in news items and please continue doing so. As we prepare for next month’s newsletter, we would like to know what issues are important to you, as agricultural journalists, in your countries and why? Send these thoughts and news to me at any time, but for the next issue please send by April 10. Also, please never let language be a hurdle for sending in ideas or news items. Feel free to respond in your native language and we will work together to learn more and share your news items.

Thanks for your support and for reading the IFAJ News.
Karlie Elliott Bowman, Editor, k.elliott.bowman(at)gmail.com

Our Friends in Japan Need Our Help

Mike Wilson
IFAJ President

We are all aware of the devastation that has taken place in Japan. IFAJ held its 2007 Congress in Sendai, where much of the earthquake and tsunami damage has taken place. Many of our members have built life-long relationships with our colleagues in Japan. Now we want to help. The President of Japan Agricultural Journalists Association (JAJA) has issued a statement that you can read here on our website.

We have been in touch with Japan IFAJ executive representative Masaru Yamada for the past several days as we work to develop a coordinated relief effort through IFAJ. Our organization will be collecting donations that will be used specifically to help our fellow agricultural communicators and their families. IFAJ is facilitating the collection of donations from members through electronic transfers of funds initially to the bank account of IFAJ, for onward transfer of a single combined sum to JAJA in due course.

If you want to make a donation to the Japanese IFAJ relief effort, contact your IFAJ executive in your country.

In talking with our Japanese friends earlier this week, it became clear to me that this financial effort needs to be robust and sustained for the long term.

I know I can count on each of you to help our colleagues in need. Watch for further updates on Japan here at the IFAJ website and IFAJ newsletter.


IFAJ Contests

IFAJ Contests
Members in 30 guilds around the world are preparing their entries for the fiveIFAJ professional development contests. To learn more about these awards and how to enter, visit www.ifaj.org/contests-and-awards/writing-contest.html.

Below is a brief glance of the five contest areas. Visit the IFAJ website contests and awards section for more details and guidelines.

IFAJ Star Prize for Print

The IFAJ Star Prize for Agricultural Journalism, award recognizes the best agricultural writing of the year among journalists in IFAJ member countries. Eligible applicants include agricultural journalism guilds from member countries in good standing in IFAJ are welcome to enter stories from their members. One entry per member country is allowed and member countries are to create their own criteria for their entry.

There is no entry fee for this award. To be eligible for entry, the article must, be a story with broad agricultural interest, be written by an individual or team and have been published between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010, in a print publication or online.

IFAJ Star Prize for Photography

The IFAJ Star Prize for Agricultural Photography recognizes individual members for their work in agricultural photography.

Eligible members include, member who are in good standing of a national association or guild that is a member of IFAJ. They may enter one published photograph in each category. National agricultural journalist associations and guilds that are members of IFAJ may also each enter up to three photos each (one photo per category). National associations may enter a photo taken by someone who is not a member of their association. However there is a fee for such entries for these submissions. There is no entry fee for any member in good standing of a national guild affiliated with IFAJ. The entry deadline is May 1, 2011.

IFAJ Star Prize for Broadcasting

The Star Prize for Broadcast Journalism recognizes the best radio, television and internet broadcasting among federation member countries.

Entries may be submitted by, Agricultural journalism guilds from member countries in good standing and are welcome to submit one entry per category, from members of their guild. The entries must be submitted by guilds, not by individual members. It is up to member countries to determine how it selects its entry. Entry deadline is May 1, 2011.

IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award

The IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award recognizes the leadership potential of young members from countries belonging to IFAJ, and supports their participation at an IFAJ congress through this award, designed to help offset travel and registration. The federation and Alltech believe it is important to support and nurture those who are destined to develop in the profession, to help IFAJ grow and to contribute positively to the global advancement of agricultural journalism and communications. Submission deadline is April 15, 2011.

Award for Reporting on Sustainable World Agriculture
The IFAJ Award for Reporting on Sustainable World Agriculture is open to articles, Internet productions or radio/TV broadcasts on the broad themes of hunger, feeding the world sustainably and meeting the challenge of providing nutrition to a growing world population. This award provides a unique professional development opportunity for all IFAJ members to participate in a broad-based contest that is relevant to current global issues – the goal of higher food production with a lower carbon footprint. It is open to all members; guilds are not required to put forward a candidate. The theme is, “How to feed a still growing world population? Can we double agricultural production towards 2050?