IFAJ Congress 2010 - Catch the early bird special

The IFAJ Congress will be early in 2010. Registrations are now open for the event which will be hosted by Belgium, a founding member of the IFAJ, at the popular seaside resort of Ostend, from April 17 to 21. Places are limited so people are encouraged to book soon. An early bird special with discounted rates is available until January 31. For more details and registration in English, French, German or Dutch go to www.ifaj2010.org

Pre-Congress tour

People who sign up for the 2010 pre-congress tour will have the chance to explore the Duchy of Luxembourg. The initinerary from April 14 to 17 includes visits to national viticultural and dairy organisations, and the cellars of the most important wine producer "Les Domaines de Vinsmoselle" to taste their unique crémant. A trip to the historic Vianden castle and a boat trip on the Moselle to Schengen are also on the program. More information...

Masterful photo takes out Star Prize

A landscape photograph reminiscent of the Old Dutch Masters school of painting has won a former farmer the 2009 Star Prize for Agricultural Photography, from a record field of 157 entries. The beautiful image of cows grazing by the Rhine was taken by Hans Menop from The Netherlands, who also won the nature/landscape section of the award. Josef Berchthold of Germany won the people category in the awards, sponsored by DeLaval, and Evan Collis from Australia won the production category. Read more about the results and view the winners...

German story wins writing prize

Friederike Krick of Germany has won the 2009 IFAJ Star Prize for print journalism, sponsored by John Deere. Australian journalist John Conroy was runner-up, with an honourable mention going to Caitriona Murphy from Ireland. Read more about the award results here, or click here to find out more about the winner, in German.

Young journalists discover a new world

Ten excited young agricultural journalists had the times of their lives at the IFAJ Congress in Texas as recipients of a 2009 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award. Sponsored by Alltech, the program recognizes the leadership potential of young journalists from countries affiliated with the IFAJ. Each recipient received 1,000 Euros to support their participation at the congress. Take a look at the special reports they have prepared for the IFAJ E-News, capturing the highlights and their experiences meeting peers from around the world.

Texas 2009 - a super-sized congress

As you might expect given the location, everything about the 2009 IFAJ Congress in Texas was big. About 700 delegates attended the event, held jointly with the annual Ag Media Summit in the United States. Farms visited showed agriculture on a massive scale - a 10,000-cow dairy enterprise which employs so many people it has its own employment agency proved a highlight for many. And then there was the overwhelming range of professional development sessions. Share the experience through the blogs, stories and photos of those who took part, including a specially translated report from Per Henrik Hansen. If you have something to add to the collection send a copy or link to the IFAJ at secretary(at)ifaj.org

Two more countries join IFAJ

As IFAJ President Mike Wilson acknowledges in a recent From the President column for our website, there was more to the Texax congress than cowboy boots and beer. For a start we welcomed two new members - Kenya and Slovenia. Read more...

Rabobank spnosors IFAJ

The IFAJ has announced a one-year agreement with Rabobank to sponsor the organization's new website. "IFAJ is deeply committed to providing relevant services to our diverse membership across the globe, and we could not do that without generous financial support from companies such as Rabobank," says IFAJ president Mike Wilson. Read more...

Markus takes a global view

In the second in a series of special features introducing members of the IFAJ Presidium, Stefanie Nagelschmitz talks to vice president Markus Rediger, from Switzerland, about his career working for a major agricultural information centre in Switzerland and the IFAJ's potential in an increasingly global society.

We need your help

Participants in IFAJ events over the past 50 years or so are being asked to hunt through their collections of old photos for images that may help illustrate a history of the organisation, being compiled by former president Paul Queck. Scanned images, with captions, should be sent to Connie Siemes at secretary(at)ifaj.org. For more information about some of the specific photos being sought click here.

What's new online

Visit the IFAJ website for these new additions:

Coming Events

Issue December 2009

And it's goodnight from me...

This is my last issue of the IFAJ E-News. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me since I first took on the role of editor five years ago, for your support, encouragement and contributions. It has been a joy to work with you all, and I am sure you will continue to support the new editor. In the meantime, there is plenty to read about in this edition, with the next IFAJ Congress and Star Prize competitions coming up earlier than usual in 2010. Registrations are open now, so make sure you check out the details.
Liz Harfull

New international award for broadcast journalism

The IFAJ has expanded its prestigious Star Prize award program for excellence in agricultural journalism and photography, with a new award for broadcast journalism. The award has categories for radio, television and online broadcasting. The deadline for the competitions is earlier this year to so winners can be selected in time for the early annual congress. Entries close February 1, 2010. For more information go to www.ifaj.org

Plans for historic south american congress

Argentina is likely to host the IFAJ Congress in 2013. A bid put forward by the local guild for agricultural journalists has won the support of the IFAJ Presidium and Host Liaison Committee. A recommendation to accept the offer will now go to the next full meeting of the IFAJ Executive in Berlin next month. If ratified, the congress would be the first held in South America, making it an historic event for the organisation, says President Mike Wilson. "We are confident that the local guild, CAPA, can handle this commitment and provide our global organization with a first-class experience. It is also our hope the congress will help spread the values and benefits of IFAJ to many more ag journalists in South America," he said.

Can the IFAJ help curb world hunger?

That is the challenge IFAJ president MIke Wilson poses in this thoughtful commentary, written after hearing former Irish president Mary Robinson give the prestigious Michael Dillon Lecture in Ireland. "Robinson believes our organization could mobilize and hold governments accountable, to ensure that the fundamental right to food is available to all. That's the power of the press, and it's a power we don't utilize often enough," Wilson challenges.

Crossing borders

Forty agricultural journalists from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany met in the small German mountain town of Monschau to build stronger links between the three countries. Read Katharina Seuser's report about this important gathering hosted by the German guild, which she says highlights how journalists can be ambassadors for a better understanding, both professionally and culturally, when they cross borders.

Special report explores impact of GFC on IFAJ countries

In this special report, Goran Djakovic explores the impact of the global economic crisis in countries affiliated with the IFAJ. His report follows a special conference organised by the Serbian guild in September to explore economic issues relating to agriculture. Officially opened by Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, the major event drew together government, business, academic and journalism leaders to discuss issues relating to improving agriculture, which has traditionally provided stability for the Serbian economy, including the impact of the global economic crisis, competition in agriculture and monopolies, and options for financing agriculture production.

Ali a hit for Alltech

Muhammad Ali with with Pearse Lyons of Alltech during the visit to Ennis ,Co Clare ,where he was made Freeman of Ennis.

Photograph by Eamon Ward

IFAJ sponsor Alltech received blanket coverage throughout the Irish media in September for the company's role in bringing boxing legend Muhammad Ali to Ireland where he visited the birthplace of his great grandfather Abe Grady. An estimated 10,000 people turned out for the exciting event in the small village of Ennis. The world-famous Ali also attended a special fundraiser for the Alltech-Muhammad Ali Center Global Education and Charitable Fund and its community-based humanitarian and educational programs, before travelling on to Britain where he made an appearance at a gala night for the Alltech World Equestrian Games, to be held next year in his home state of Kentucky, USA. Read more...

Literature prize for South African writer

South African guild member Derrick van der Walt (left) has won his country's prestigious MER Prize for Youth Literature. His book also received the Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature in 2008. Derick is the owner of Greenpepper Communication in Pretoria, a company specializing in corporate communication and publications. He is pictured with well known South African author Etienne van Heerden, who received the WA Hofmeyr prize (Photograph: Naomi Bruwer, Litnet.)

50 years for Yara awards

The guild in Great Britain celebrated the 50th edition of its Yara-sponsored journalism awards last month at its popular Harvest Lunch. The arable crops section was won by Farmers Guardian journalist Teresa Rush, Peter Hill from the Irish Farmers Journal won the livestock/grasslands section and freelancer Alison Lee won the environment/rural issues award for a story published in The Field. Read more...

Funds sought for new university chair

The University of Illinois in the United States is raising funds to establish a new chair to help train future professionals in agricultural communications, reports Karlie Elliott. The Dr James F. Evans Endowed Chair in Agricultural Communications is named after Jim Evans, well-known for his lifetime of teaching communications, and a major contributor to the IFAJ's professional development program. A first of its kind, the chair will provide resources to undergraduate students, and support teaching and research. Go online to make a donation.

Australian seminar tackles hard issues for young journos

The professional and personal challenges of covering a disaster like the terrible bushfires which killed 173 people in Australia last Feburary, and destroyed more than 2000 homes, farms and countless animals proved to be a major focus of a professional development seminar in Australia. The one-day program was organised by the Rural Press Club of Victoria to provide the chance for young journalists to learn from seasoned reports, editors and public relations professionals. Read more...

Serbian guild celebrates five years

The Association of Agricultural Journalists in Serbia, AGROPRESS, has celebrated its fifth anniversary with a special gathering of more than 150 people in Zemun. Read the full report by Boran Kostandinovic in English, or click here to find them in Serbian, German and Spanish.

Danish stalwart retires

Long-time IFAJ supporter Aage Krogsdam has retired from the board of the Danish guild after 25 years. Krogsdam won the IFAJ Star Prize for writing in 2001, and was chairman of the organizing committee for the congress held in Denmark ten years ago.

Dominion Post journo dominates NZ awards

Dominion Post journalist Jon Morgan walked away with the top prize for agricultural journalists in New Zealand's annual Rongo Awards last month, as well as an inaugural award for horticultural reporting and the main photography prize. Another new award for journalists with less than three years experience went to Blair Ensor of the Marlborough Express. Click here for the full results...

But wait... there's more...

And in more news from the Land of the Long White Cloud, Glenys Christian has retired from the New Zealand guild's executive after 28 years of service. The annual meeting also saw the election of author and columnist Mick Calder as president, award-winning journalist and photographer Jon Morgan as vice president, and three new executive members - Sue Edmonds, Sean O'Brien and Liz Brook.

Surprise for James

The Northern Ireland section of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists sprang a pleasant surprise on James Campbell during an evening reception at the Balmoral Show. Campbell was presented with a gift marking his retirement after 20 years as the section's treasurer. He stepped down after being elected treasurer of the IFAJ.

Yellow Peril makes its mark

A unique semi-soft chese made from English milk, rind washed in Scotch whisky and suffused with Welsh saffron was served to more than 1000 guests at the Farmers Weekly Awards dinner in London. Known as the Yellow Peril, it was commissioned by local guild members Adrian Bell and Ruth Jewkes to celebrate the publication's 75th anniversary. Read more...

The voice of farming - a personal account

You may not be able to try the cheese, but you can read an entertaining account of the changes in farming and Farmers Weekly over the past 75 years, written by machiner writer and guild member David Cousins for the magazine's milestone celebrations. The longest-serving member of the editorial team, Cousins has worked for the magazine for more than a third of its existence. Read the article in full.

German guild tackles some misunderstandings

Journalists and farmer representatives explored issues around mainstream media reporting of agriculture during a special three-day meeting in Germany. About 120 journalists from across Germany attended the event, which was organised by IFAJ past president Hans Heinrich Metthiesen. The meeting also elected Katharina Seuser for another term as guild president. Read more in English, or German.

Blue ribbons all round for Liz

Retiring IFAJ newsletter editor Liz Harfull won't have to worry about keeping busy - she has been elected president of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists. The freelance journalist, editor and now best-selling author brings 30 years of experience to the organisation which brings together five rural press clubs across Australia. Liz will continue to serve as the ACAJ's official delegate to the IFAJ, a position she has held since 2000. The election topped off a great few weeks for Liz, whose first book, The Blue Ribbon Cookbook, was named runner-up in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris, in July, from a field of 56 finalists.

French journalist dies in tractor accident

Independent French journalist Olivier Fachard has been killed in an accident during a new tractor launch in October, reports the online newsletter of the guild in Great Britain. Fachard was a popular member of the French machinery press, who wrote on viticulture and was a regular contributor to Le Betteravier Français, the French sugar beet growers' magazine.

New radio script competition puts focus on small farms in Africa

A new competition has been launched for radio scripts written about innovation on small farms in sub-Saharan Africa. The competition is being run by Farm Radio International, in collaboration with organisations such as the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters and Inter Press Service Africa. Winners will be announced in January, 2010. More information...

Broadcaster wins European award

euronews has won the third annual European Communication Award, presented on behalf of the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD). The award recognizes the channel's efforts to empower EU citizens to become more informed about how decisions made in Brussels can affect their daily lives. Launched in 1993, the news broadcaster covers world affairs from a European perspective 24 hours a day, simultaneously in eight languages, including Arabic and Russian. It reaches an estimated 292 million households in 144 countries by cable, digital satellite and terrestrial distribution.

Swann diving once more

Twenty-two years after giving it up, rural editor and publisher Steve Swann has returned to his favourite hobby - skydiving. The semi-retired Australian first jumped out of a plane 40 years ago. Steve started his career in journalism at Rupert Murdoch's original home newspaper, The News, in Adelaide. A former Rural Press editor, he also spent time in the United States in the early 90s creating a group of publications for the company, which later took over Farm Progress. Semi-retired, he continues as editor of the Australian/NZ edition of The Furrow and is producing a new magazine for rural merchandising company, Elders. Read more about Steve's skydiving adventures, and visit Youtube and share the experience.

Classic rural photography

A new documentary has brought to life the remarkable stories behind a group of photographers who travelled across the United States in the 1930s and early 1940s, taking iconic images of farmers and rural communities. 'Documenting the face of America: Roy Stryker and the FSA/OWI Photographers' focuses on what is considered one of the most influential rural photography efforts in the history of the country, reports a recent edition of the ACDC News.

No picture without people

'Zooming zestfully' is an exploration of one photojournalist's approach to working in rural India. Freelance photographer Zishaan Latif takes no pictures without people, he explains in this 12-minute documentary on youtube, made by two journalism students.

Food news portal

Journalists interested in food, wine and food production related news can access daily feeds of press releases and images through the online Food4Media news portal for media and industry professionals. The service also enables media outlets to put out calls for help sourcing story leads and experts in particular food areas. More than 6000 journalists are registered with the service which operates across six regions, including the UK, USA, Middle East, Asia, NZ and Australia.

New partnership takes more African news to the world

The African Press Organization (APO) has announced a strategic partnership with PR Newswire, which will enable it to distribute stories to more media outlets around the world. The leading African-related news distributor, APO already has a database of 25,000 journalists. PR Newswire is a global leader in media distribution, working in more than 40 languages.