The 2021 IFAJ Star Prize awards celebrated the world’s best agricultural journalism in a Zoom ceremony on August 23, 2021.
“Congratulations to the winners and congratulations to everyone who participated in the contest program this year,” said Addy Rossi, IFAJ secretary-general. “Next year, I look forward to hearing the applause from a room full of friends and colleagues when we finally meet in Denmark.”
Here are details on the winners, with links to their award-winning work. Full summary of Winners can be found HERE.
Mahamadi Sebogo of Burkina Faso was honored with the 2021 Star Prize for Print for his “Market Gardening in Bagré and Loumbila: The Cries of Distress from Producers,” which ran in Sidwaya Quotidien (English Translation here). Judges applauded Sebogo’s “credible quotes from producers. Shows well the challenges of local markets and its producers, Corona damage of ag markets and governments regulations.”
Sue Neales of Australia received the runner-up award for print for “Charles in Charge” in AgJournal, which judges noted was a “well written piece with an especially good lead. Good use of farmer-sources weaved well together throughout.”
Paula Williams of in Ireland won the Star Prize for Video for “Cashel Mart,” which she produced for Ear to the Ground. Judges said of the story, “This is a very important story. Tough minded rural people involved in agriculture are supposed to be able to fight through anything, but at what cost? This story explored that cost and the resilience of this particular family. The fact the community rallied around them is not surprising. Excellent video, sound and editing.”
Loise Wachira of Kenya was named runner up for “Brown Live Gold: Black Soldier Fly Agripreneur” on AgriRush. “A very engaging piece in what seems an edition of a well produced magazine programme for rural producers in Kenya,” said the judges. “Judging by the ‘insect lady,’ they have excellent contributors capable of explaining things clearly and get right to the practical heart of issues. An excellent example of extension work.”
Nancy Nicholson of the United Kingdom won the Star Prize for Audio for “Black Grouse and Blackface Sheep” on BBC. Judges noted, “This was a most enjoyable audio entry. Great talent with engaging and interactive interviewing techniques used to bring out the best. A fascinating window into farming in this remote part of Scotland. A lot of effort had gone into getting there and the word pictures created by the journalist pushed this piece into top spot.”
The Audio runner-up prize was awarded to Stephanie Gordon of Canada for “Takeaways from the Canola Discovery Forum 2019,” which ran on Top Crop Manager. Judges applauded her “very professional, specialist podcast. This journalist had obviously researched and paid attention at the event, thinking hard about the choice of interviewees and the questions most likely to spark the required response.”
Denmark’s Laura Kold won the 2021 Star Prize for Digital Media for her “Christian Saves Pigs’ Lives” (English Translation here) on the LandbrugsAvisen.dk website. Judges noted, “This is the winning entry because of its use of a broad range of digital techniques. The inserted video, the range of strong photographs with descriptive captions, and the subject matter all helped piece get over the line. The talent was engaging and likeable.”
Runner-up in the digital category was presented to Harry Clarke of Australia for “Coal Seam Gas Water Spills into Farmland as Condamine River Tributary Charleys Creek Bubbles” on countrycaller.com.au. Judges noted Clarke’s initiative as well as his quality work, saying, “Well done for starting an on-line “newspaper” and having the initiative to go out and get this story. Solid writing with a good use of video and photographs. The company statement was a good addition, adding balance to a story which impacted a number of agricultural properties. A strong contender for top prize.”
Martha Mintz of the United States received the 2021 Star Prize for Photography for “Palouse Hillside Harvest,” a dramatic view of wheat harvest in the Palouse Hills of the northwestern U.S. that ran as part of a written/photo essay on allaboardharvest.com.
Judges were lavish in their praise: “This photo uses color, lines and motion to tell a dramatic story of rushing to beat the rain. Strong lighting and converging lines pull the eye into this image. A tighter crop from the top would focus more attention on the strongest, most colorful visual element: the rider. Great use of perspective, depth of field and leading lines to bring focus to the subject – which is nice and sharp. Side lighting is also very nice.”
Mintz’s photo was also recognized as the top photo in the Production category. Rob Mattson, also of the U.S., was honored as runner-up in the Production category for “Driving Cattle.”
“Blue Oyster Mushroom” by Lorne McClinton of Canada was named winner of the Nature & Landscape category in the Star Prize for Photography contest. Judges noted that the image was “very unique and different from so much of what we have seen before. Sharp and clean lines, lovely unique and muted colors. Really, really interesting to look at it.”
Brad Fleet of Australia was recognized as runner-up in the Nature & Landscape category for “Kangaroo Island Fire.”
John Christensen of Denmark won the People category with “Don’t Kill My Farm,” a dramatic image that judges congratulated on its “really great composition to communicate that visually. Nice clear focus on subject and perfect blur in the forefront to bring the eyes right to the main subject.”
“Portrait” earned Rob Mattson of the U.S. another runner-up award this year in the People category.
Enter the 2022 Contest!
The entry period for the 2022 IFAJ Star Prize contest will be open from December 10, 2021 through March 10, 2022. Watch ifaj.org for details and entry rules.