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First IFAJ-YARA award winners announced

Bernard Stormyr (l), Communications manager corporate communications of Yara International presented the cheque for the winner of the Yara Award to Marlene Hursh from Canada

The first winner of the new IFAJ-YARA Award for Reporting on Sustainable World Agriculture is Alan Scholz of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Scholz’s story “Food Scarcity – A Myth?” appeared in the Spring 2011 Edition of Sustainable Futures magazine published by the Agricultural Institute of Canada.

Judges said Scholz “dared to ask if there really is a problem with sustainability, and like good journalism often does, it offered a contrary direction to popular thought.” In that way, they said, it opened the door for further debate and discussion. But despite its clear perspective, the story was well balanced, offering no single, simple feel-good solution. “The writer described this complex, emotional topic fairly, in an easy-to-understand, realistic way that can basically be summed up by saying a multi-faceted approach is needed to address the complicated food problem,” they said.

            Distinguished recognition was given to Deanna Lush of Australia for her story in Stock & Land newspaper, entitled ”Crop quality key to feeding the world.” The judges said Lush “focused on better food quality, and not just quantity, an important aspect of producing enough food for more than nine billion people in 2050.” They noted the story focuses on nutrient deficiency – sometimes called hidden hunger – and praised Lush for describing farmers’ and scientists’ role in reducing nutrient deficiency. Several relevant cases are used, giving the reader a thorough understanding of the problem.

            Laura Rance of Canada also received distinguished recognition for her story in the Winnipeg Free Press newspaper, ”Put on pot of soup, help fight food crisis.” Judges called her story “very well-balanced, discussing pros and cons.” They said Rance “combines different aspects of the world food situation in a very convincing way. Conclusions from FAO and from researchers are taken into account and presented, so that it can be used ín our daily life. She succeeds in presenting a complicated problem and a simple set of solutions.”

The awards were announced at the 2011 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress awards banquet in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

            The competition drew 23 entries from eight countries. The theme was how to feed a growing world population.

            Judges for the inaugural competition were Henning Otte Hansen of Denmark, Cathy Reade of Australia’s Crawford Fund and a team of Fred Kirschenmann, Jeri Neal and Laura Miller of the University of Iowa’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.

            The competition coordinator was IFAJ secretary general Owen Roberts of Canada. Guidance, support and liaison activities for the inaugural award were provided by IFAJ member Jorgen Lund Christiansen of Denmark.

            Further information about the IFAJ-YARA award is availble on the IFAJ website at, or by contacting Roberts at owen(at) .

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