What is new online

  • A global blogroll is being created, listing IFAJ members and their agri-blogs. Add your blog!
  • The IFAJ is forging stronger links with the International Press Institute as part of its commitment to freedom of the press. Riitta Mustonen attended an IPI meeting in Helsinki and reports on activities, including a glimpse inside Russian media.
  • A comprehensive look at skills, tools and approaches for successful rural-urban reporting.

Hello Mr. President

In the first in a series of special features introducing members of the IFAJ Presidium, Stefanie Nagelschmitz talks to president Mike Wilson, from the United States, about his career in rural journalism and his vision for the organisation which has been an important part of his life for the past thirteen years.

Registration still open

Registrations are still open for the 2009 IFAJ Congress in Texas, but the price goes up after June 30. For more information and to register visit the congress website at www.ifaj2009.com.

Award winners off to Texas

Ten young agricultural journalists from around the world have won awards to attend the IFAJ Congress as part of the prestigious IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism awards. "The IFAJ believes it is important to support and nurture young people who are destined to develop into the leaders of our profession, and we're pleased to partner with Alltech to provide this kind of opportunity," says IFAJ president Mike Wilson. Find out who won...

Info-Expo a must see at Texas Congress

Overseas delegates attending the Ag Media Summit in Texas as part of the IFAJ Congress this year need to make sure they visit the InfoExpo, according to organising committee chair Laurie Potter. "The tradeshow provides you with the perfect opportunity to network with hundreds of agricultural communication professionals and learn about exciting new products, innovations and services," Potter says. "With at least 75 exhibitor booths each year, it's a great way to interview key sources for potential stories." Several exhibitors are planning to bring key managers to the event this year so they can visit with IFAJ delegates. The InfoExpo will be open on August 3 and 4. Click here to check out the complete schedule.


Bring your publications too...

Organisers of the 2009 congress want journalists and photographers attending to bring a sample copy of the publication they work for. "We'd like to do a big display so everyone can see what the world works on," says organising committee chair Greg Lamp.

Useful links for congress delegates

Congress organisers have put together some useful weblinks for delegates who want to research information about U.S. agriculture before the event. You will find them on the congress website at http://www.ifaj2009.com

It's show time

Members of the guild in Great Britain are getting ready for the Royal Show at Stoneleigh Park in England. Awards for communicator of the year, horticultural writing and photography will be presented at a party held in association with the event on July 7. The guild has also helped with the subject and speakers for a daily farmers debate program. Topics include food pricing, on-farm energy generation, understanding consumers and careers in farming. Click here for more information about the debates, or here to find out more about the awards.

More coming events

6th World Conference of Science Journalists, London - June 30 to July 2, 2009. http://www.wcsj2009.org/

2009 Bastiat Prize for Journalism - entries close June 30, 2009.

'Worldwide trends in open access to agricultural information,' World Library and Information Congress agricultural libraries discussion group, Milan, Italy - August 23 to 27, 2009.

75th anniversary Green Week, Berlin - January 15 to 24, 2010.

Issue June - July 2009


Organisers of the 2009 IFAJ Congress in Texas are still accepting bookings, so if you live in a country enjoying heavily discounted airfares at the moment, seize the opportunity and come along to what is shaping up to be a spectacular event. People from 29 countries have already registered for the congress which coincides with the annual Ag Media Summit in the United States. Registrations so far total more than 650 for both events combined. Details on how to register are featured in the right-hand column of this edition, which is also brimming with news about the outstanding achievements of members and guilds from around the world.

Liz Harfull, Managing Editor, IFAJ E-News

Star Prize finalists named

Three finalists have been named for the IFAJ Star Prize for print journalism. Stories written by John Conroy of Australia, Friederike Krick of Germany and Caitriona Murphy of Ireland will line up to receive the award which will be announced on Tuesday, August 4, at the 2009 IFAJ Congress in Texas. Read more... 

Campbell chairs research council

IFAJ Treasurer James Campbell has been elected chairman of the prestigious Northern Ireland Research and Development Council, AgriSearch. Read more... 

ACDC attracts visitors from 115 countries

The Agricultural Communications Documentation Center continues to grow and serve agricultural communicators around the world, according to a new report.  During 2008 this international resource, based at the University of Illinois in the United States, hosted online visitors from 115 countries.  It also grew in size and range of interest as part of a pioneering partnership with the IFAJ. Read the report and find out how the centre can help you.

Riitta wins major food award

IFAJ executive committee member Riitta Mustonen has been named the Finnish Food Journalist of the Year by the Finnish Chefs Association. In giving Mustonen the honour, the association found she had contributed to food traditions and culture of the provinces in Finland. Read more... 

Finance journalist top communicator in NZ

A former Financial Times journalist from Britain with a special interest in the agricultural sector is this year's New Zealand Landcorp Agricultural Communicator of the Year. Read more...

Thirty years on the African airwaves

A program which provides content to more than 300 radio stations across Africa is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a leap into the latest communication tools. Based in Canada, Farm Radio International was set up by George Atkins in the 1970s after a visit to Africa revealed local farmers were not short of good ideas but found it hard to share them. Find out more about this remarkable program via their website, view some videos of their work on youtube, visit their new blog, or check out what they have to say on Twitter.

African study confirms value of radio and video

Meanwhile, a study has shown the power of radio and video to encourage innovation in agriculture is not recognised widely enough by Africa's policy makers. Published by the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, the study was carried out by the Africa Rice Centre and Benin's University of Abomey. In one instance, innovation levels rose from 19% among farmers who attended workshops to 72% among those who learnt from educational videos. Read more... 

Tweeting over Twitter

Have you joined the Twitter revolution? Have no idea what we are talking about? This latest social media tool is causing quite a stir, as it becomes a popular avenue for quickly sharing information, and journalists are starting to take notice. Read two interesting points of view in the June edition of the American Agricultural Editors Association newsletter. Go to The Byline section listed in the left hand column, and click on full edition.

New web resource for ag journalists

The Serbian Association of Agricultural Journalists (AGROPRESS) has created a new website portal for news of significance from the agricultural sector, and as a resource for journalists, reports president Goran Djakovic. Photos for publication can be purchased from the site. Visitors can also download stories free of charge, watch videos and participate in forum discussions. The website has been developed with support from the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management, and other donors.

Serbia launches new women's project

In another major event for AGROPRESS, USAID Deputy Mission Director Marilynn Schmidt has officially launched a major new project set up by the Serbian guild to promote entrepreneurship among women living in rural areas. The Women Entrepreneurs in Agribusiness Project is encouraging women to improve their economic position by setting up new businesses. Read more...

Diploma now open to wider audience

Canada's online agricultural communications diploma program at the University of Guelph is opening up to a global audience. The three three-day residencies that were part of the limited-enrolment program are being discontinued to make it more accessible for learners abroad. Read more...

New publication for world ploughing event

A special publication has been launched in the lead up to the 56th World Ploughing Contest in Slovenia in September 2009. The WPC News is available online in both Slovene and English, with new editions published every two months. Content includes reports about the teams, agriculture and rural areas from countries involved in the contest, according to editor Tatjana Cop. IFAJ members and friends are being encouraged to register and attend the event. For more details visit www.spo2009.si

Fresh and familiar take the reins in Ireland

Both new and familiar faces have been elected to the three main committees for agricultural journalists in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Among them is immediate past president of the IFAJ, David Markey, and newly elected chair of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Ireland, Margaret Donnelly. Click here for a full report on the elections and click here for Donnelly's report about a visit to Glanbia held as part of the annual meeting.

It's Bond.... Nick Bond

The Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Great Britain has a new chairman. Nicholas Bond will lead the organisation for the next two years, with Lindy Margach as deputy chair. Read more in this report on the guild's website.

Queen's honour for Caroline

A member of the guild in Great Britain has been awarded a prestigious Queen's Honour, the MBE (Member of the British Empire) for her services to agriculture. Caroline Drummond is chief executive of the Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) organisation, based at Stoneleigh. Read more...typo3/http://www.gaj.org.uk/contextra/TemplateParser.asp?aId=338

Awards time in Australia

It's awards time Down Under too, where the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists has announced the winners in its three major annual competitions. Queensland radio journalist Arlie Douglas is packing her bags for Texas and the 2009 IFAJ Congress after winning the Australian Alltech Young Leader in Rural Journalism Award. A national competition for farm writing sponsored by John Deere has been won by Victorian country newspaper journalist John Conroy, and Adelaide photographer Tait Schmaal has taken out a national photography award. Conroy and Schmaal will now represent Australia in the IFAJ Star Prize competitions. Read more...

Women editors take the lead in UK...

Three of the top six UK agricultural titles now have a woman editor, following the appointment of Ruth Rodgers at Farming Life, after 17 years of experience as a rural journalist. Rodgers has taken over from former Northern Ireland Guild of Agricultural Journalists chairman, David McCoy, who has retired after 26 years as editor. Both the Farmers' Guardian and Farmers' Weekly also have women editors.

...while in the U.S women the focus of new course

Students at Texas A&M University in the U.S. had the option last autumn of enrolling in a new course focussing on women professionals in agricultural journalism and communication. Students conducted research, explored pioneers and achievers in the sector across the decades, and discussed what it means to be female in this work environment, according to a recent report in the ACDC News. For more information contact Professor Tracy Rutherford at trutherford@aged.tamu.edu, or Rebecca McGovney-Ingram at rmcgovney-ingram@aged.tamu.edu

Ag communicator stays close to the soil

The IFAJ is indebted to Jim Evans from the ACDC at the University of Illinois for his ongoing enthusiasm and contribution to our professional development program, but Jim has more than one pre-occupation. When the weather starts to warm up, he wheels out his vintage tractor and sows corn for the family's award-winning popcorn enterprise. Watch a television feature about the enterprise prepared by WILL-TV.

Troubles in Madagascar effect farm broadcasts

Political strife in Madagascar earlier this year saw several radio and television stations shut down or burned. This brief report from an IFAJ member, in both English and French, explains while one of the radio stations that broadcasts to farmers is back on the air, coverage is not what it used to be.

Wilson uncorks a milestone birthday

Some say IFAJ President Mike Wilson is aging like fine wine, so it was appropriate for his 50th birthday on April 10, the federation gave him a selection of fine wines representing IFAJ's five grape wine-producing continents. Vinifera wines from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany and South Africa were hand-delivered by general secretary Owen Roberts for a celebration in Wilson's honour at his hometown in Decatur, Illinois. Past president David Markey sent greetings, congratulating Wilson on his good health, wonderful family and friends, outstanding career and solid IFAJ leadership. "The federation is fortunate to have such a committed and competent individual at the helm," said Markey. Wilson also received a Swiss rain jacket bearing the federation logo from vice president Markus Rediger.

Farm radio 'giant' dies

Canada has lost one of its radio stalwarts with the death of Murray Gaunt, a 'giant' in farm radio according to Owen Roberts who wrote about Gaunt in his regular column in the Guelph Mercury. Read Roberts's thoughtful piece

Blessed be the communicators

Ever had to sit through a speaker at an event, and despite the power of their knowledge, found yourself wishing you were somewhere else? This entertaining and inciteful piece by Clive Dalton was featured in a recent edition of the New Zealand guild's regular newsletter. It contains some useful reminders on the do and donts of successful communication and public speaking.