It is just over a year since I was elected IFAJ president, and what a strange year it has been. We haven’t been able to meet in person a single time, but the activities through Zoom and other digital media have been frequent.
And while we have undergone lockdown and personal isolation, the core values of IFAJ have turned out to be more and more essential. How useful isn’t a global network when you are struck by a worldwide pandemic, both to get support from friends and colleagues and to gather information? And how necessary aren’t professional, reliable agricultural journalists and communicators, when the entire agbusiness is affected?
I’ve been in the agjournalism for more than 30 years, and for every year I get more and more convinced about how important our mission as agricultural journalists and communicators are. Though fewer people are directly engaged in agriculture and forestry today, these businesses are getting greater importance for the whole society. In the recently published report from the UN agency IPCC, agriculture and forestry are listed as some of the biggest threats to the climate. But if you read the report thoroughly, you will also discover that they are described as some of the most important solutions.
In these aspects agricultural journalists really can fulfill a mission: both to describe the whole and complex picture to consumers, and to inform farmers about how they can get more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprints.
I sometimes feel sad when I read articles about this in mainstream media, when agbusiness is entirely presented as a problem. It seems as they have forgotten where they get their food from. And in some parts of the world, farmers are even harassed and attacked by activists for producing food. Also in these situations agjornos can play an important role as a bridge between consumers and farmers.
So even though we can’t meet in person, we need to support and remind each other of our important work. And for that purpose, IFAJ is the perfect platform.
So stay in contact and keep up the good networking. I’m looking forward to meeting some of you at our e-Congress and the following social hour. And as many of you, I am certainly looking forward to meet in Denmark next year. We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed, wash our hands and get vaccinated.