Before IFAJ 2012 in Sweden Explore Finland

Riitta Mustonen

Visit Finland for a pre-congress tour this year.

The Finnish Association of Agricultural Journalists is hosting a pre-congress tour in Finland, for two days and two nights, ending in Stockholm early Wednesday, August 15.

The tour will begin in Helsinki on Monday, August 13 in the forest. Experience beautiful Finnish nature and learn what Finns do in the woods. That evening refresh yourself in the smoke sauna and a beautiful lake before joining a delicious dinner at the Farmers' Union's estate. The tour will stay in the countryside and enjoy breakfast at a Finnish country house.

On the second day participants will choose to visit either a dairy, oat or hog farm , and that evening discover where the Moomins live. That evening the group will board the Viking Line and see the tremendous archipelago on our way from Turku to Stockholm.

The pre-congress fee will cover all the expenses from Helsinki to Stockholm, including food, accommodations, bus trip and ferry.

Pre-congress participants traveling to Helsinki will need to take a ferry overnight from Stockholm to Helsinki or fly out that morning. There are also many flights from central European airports.

Full tour information visit

Register for IFAJ Congress in Sweden

Registration for the 2012 IFAJ Congress, set for August 15-19 and themed "Solutions for a green future" is now open. The conference will take place at Lake Mälaren, 35 km west of Stockholm Central station. Participants will be able to choose one of eight excursions for the tour days.

Post Congress will take place on Gotland, the biggest island of Sweden, situated in the Baltic Sea.

For more information visit:

Mistral PR Sponsors World Potato Congress Photo Competition

Mistral PR encourages photographers across the globe to submit entries for the World Potato Congress photo competition.

“We’re calling on photographers who know their King Edward from their Lady Balfour to find their best potato images,” says Mistral PR senior agriculture sector manager Heather Briggs.  “Exploring the world of the potato should provide inspiration for eye-catching, thought-provoking (and even humorous!) reflections of life in the potato industry from around the globe.

The best competition photos will be showcased on the World Potato Congress website and at the Congress itself.

Competition categories include:
Growing and On the Farm
Science, Mechanisation and Machinery
People and Potatoes
Markets and Customers
Challenges and/or Successes
The Future

Entries accepted through Monday April 30, 2012. The World Potato Congress 2012, is organized by the Potato Council, and is in Scotland at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre May 27-30.

For more information on how to enter the competition go to 

IFAJ News March 2012

Potential growth opportunities for IFAJ

By Mike Wilson
IFAJ President

IFAJ has made contacts with several agricultural journalists who live in countries that qualify for full membership in IFAJ. This potential growth is coming from three regions – Eastern Europe, Asia and South America – where IFAJ expects to grow significantly in future years.

First, India has established a guild and has formally applied for IFAJ membership. It is home to the Green Revolution and has a dynamic agricultural sector. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry and fisheries, accounted for 16.6% of GDP in 2009, about 50% of the total workforce. By 2040, India will overtake China as the world’s most populous nation. Agricultural journalists there will play an important role in how the country’s agriculture develops.

A few weeks ago we got the news that Turkish agricultural journalists had established a new association. Last year I began chatting with Unal Ornek, a Turkish journalist, on Facebook. We talked about what it would take to have Turkey join IFAJ and he told me they were about to establish a new guild. This is great news. Agriculture is still a very important sector of the Turkish economy. In 2010 it represented 10% of GDP and 24.7% of employment.

You can meet some of their members at a Facebook group page they have established: Tarım Yazarları ve Gazetecileri, Agriculture Authors and Journalists.

More recently I was lucky to be on a tour to Brazil with a group of farmers, where we met with agricultural journalists working at the Show Rural Coopavel, in Paraná state. Through this contact I discovered that there is no national agricultural journalist group in Brazil, but there is one in Paraná. I got the contact information for the president of the group, Samuel Zanello Milléo Filho and he told me the group is called “Agribusiness Association of Journalists (AJAP) of Brazil”.

Brazil is an intriguing agricultural country to say the least. This is a country that could not feed itself 40 years ago; today, it is a top exporter in at least six commodities, including soybeans, orange juice, meat, and sugar. It has a tremendous agricultural sector that has literally millions more hectares that may eventually be put into production outside the rainforest area.

India, Turkey and Brazil are all developing countries with free press, one of the conditions for IFAJ membership. IFAJ will continue to reach out to countries that do not have free press, under the new strategic plan that the executive committee approved in January. This plan must be further ratified by IFAJ delegates at our upcoming Congress, in Sweden Aug. 15-19, 2012.

While none of these three countries have yet to be approved for IFAJ membership, I am confident they will – if not this year then perhaps in the next few years. Our organization has much to gain by building relationships with journalists from these regions of the world.

IFAJ Presidents’ Council Approved

Owen Roberts
IFAJ Secretary General

The IFAJ Presidents’ council was approved in January at the IFAJ meeting in Berlin. This advisory group will support the federation and offer broad institutional perspective.

The highest level of service to IFAJ is that of the office of president. The organization elects this individual to the office every two years, and looks to the president for unparalleled leadership, vision and administration. In many organizations, past presidents have a formal advisory and participatory role. Currently, IFAJ does not have such a function.

The IFAJ Presidents’ Council will advise the presidium, executive and general membership on issues requiring learned opinions and perspectives. The creation of this advisory body is timely, as the organization prepares for significant changes and becomes a more global organization.

The Council will consist of IFAJ past presidents who remain active in their guilds. The immediate past president of IFAJ will chair the group and file an annual report on behalf of the council, describing its activities, recommendations and suggestions. The council’s role is advisory only and does not replace the tasks of any standing committees.

IFAJ Elections

All four seats of the IFAJ Presidium are up for election in Sweden at this year’s Congress. Positions include, president, vice president, treasurer and secretary general. Nominations are due May 16 and must be made by member guilds.

The election rules are in the "About" section of the IFAJ website.

IFAJ Contests Announced

Members in guilds around the world are preparing their entries for the five IFAJ professional development contests. To learn more about these awards and how to enter, visit

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
Member countries are invited to submit an entry into the IFAJ Star Prize for Print, which recognizes the best agricultural writing of the year. Only one entry can be submitted per country. Each guild must do a pre-selection from articles submitted by its members. This is open to articles published between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. To meet the IFAJ deadline of May 1, national deadlines will be earlier to allow time for entries to be judged, and national winner entries dispatched to IFAJ.

The Star Prize for Print is sponsored by Deere and Company.

IFAJ Star Prize for Broadcasting

Once again, member countries can submit only one entry for each of the following four categories: television– for the best piece produced primarily for broadcast on television;  radio –for the best piece produced primarily for broadcast on radio; online radio (podcasts) – for the best audio piece produced primarily for broadcast via the internet; and online video – for the best audio visual piece produced primarily for broadcast via the internet.

This is open to articles broadcast/uploaded between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. To meet the IFAJ deadline of 1 May, national deadlines will be earlier allowing time for entries to be judged, and  dispatched to IFAJ.

IFAJ Star Prize for Photography
Any member of a national association or guild that is a member of IFAJ may enter one published photograph in each of three categories. Photographs must be of agricultural subject matter, and must fit into one of three categories: people, production or nature/landscape.

Photographs must be published as editorial material in a printed publication or on the Internet between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.

Enter this directly to IFAJ.  For more information, instructions and additional details, visit

National agricultural journalist associations and guilds that are members of IFAJ may each enter up to three photos each (one photo per category). A national association may enter a photo taken by someone who is not a member of their association.

The IFAJ Star Prize for Photography  is sponsored by Delaval.

Yara Award for Sustainable Agriculture Writing
Established last year, the theme for 2012 is Food or Fuel . . . or both. Entries must be printed/ broadcast in the twelve months between June 2, 2011 and June 30, 2012- or be scheduled to be published or aired no later than December 31, 2012.

Journalists should enter this award directly to IFAJ. For more details, visit

The Sustainable Theme Award is sponsored by Yara.

About IFAJ News

We want to share your Guild’s news in the IFAJ News. Send news or article ideas to editor Karlie Elliott Bowman at k.elliott.bowman(at) Never let language be a hurdle for sending ideas or news items. Feel free to respond in your native language and we will work together to share your news items.

Also, be sure to share IFAJ News with your colleagues. Encourage them to visit to subscribe. IFAJ News is a publication of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. IFAJ gives agricultural journalists and communicators a platform for professional development and international networking. To learn more about IFAJ visit our website at If you have questions about IFAJ, please do not hesitate to contact our executive secretary Connie Siemes, at P.O. Box 205, 6920 AE Duiven, The Netherlands, Ph 0031 573 451975, e-mail: secretary(at) You can also follow IFAJ on Twitter @IFAJ, and you can find us on Facebook.