IFAJ 2019 Congress Update

By Kurt Lawton, Congress Co-chair

The buzz continues to build for “Global Connections in America’s Heartland,” as early registration attracted 150 IFAJ members so far (from 28 countries) for the upcoming Congress in Minnesota, July 26-31. We expect even more international guests to sign up, since June has just begun.

A few updates worth noting on the Congress website (IFAJ2019.org): the Wisconsin post-tour has been cancelled (however, seats remain available for the Northeast Iowa pre-tour and the remaining two post-tours — California and Minnesota/South Dakota/Iowa. Two Friday morning timeslots are adjusted: the Presidium meeting will occur from 8-10 AM, followed by the Executive Committee meeting from 10AM-3PM. Read all the Congress sessions and tour details here on this document: https://ifaj2019.org/pdfs/2019/IFAJ-2019-Program.pdf

If you’re still undecided about coming, we’re hearing good buzz from some IFAJ members already registered. They are impressed by the amazing diversity and choice of tours, the opportunity to hear US experts dissect key farm issues, the chance to improve professional skills, and the opportunity to network with Ag Media Summit attendees (the premier US event for agricultural journalists and communicators).

Some highlights over the five days of Congress:

– Sessions on issue topics like freedom of the press, food security innovation, impact of Trump on the news media, farmer data and sustainability, and farmer emotional health.

– Tour opportunities include urban agriculture, soil health/water quality, university research, various livestock farms, precision farming technology, seed research, and craft beer breweries.

– Attend sessions on writing, photography, videography, drone photography, magazine layout, podcasting, infographics, storytelling, sales tips, PR efforts, and working with influencers.

– Fun abounds, too. The IFAJ Congress kicks off with a Mississippi River boat cruise Friday night. Saturday evening finds our group on a lakeside farm for a Midwest barbeque and IFAJ awards evening. Sunday night, we join with up with Ag Media Summit attendees for their famous Welcome Party with a great live band (and a secret theme to be announced soon). Monday night we’ve scheduled nothing, to allow attendees to explore the excellent food, craft breweries and nightlife scene in Minneapolis and St. Paul. And we wind up Tuesday night with the traditional IFAJ Closing Dinner, followed by a closing party with another great live music evening.

– Opportunity to network with 500 AAEA members (U.S. IFAJ Guild) and Livestock Publications Council members. Attend our InfoExpo trade show to interview US/global company executives.

– Pre-Tour: Longtime IFAJ Congress attendee and Iowa farmer Harlen Persinger leads a unique northeast Iowa tour for 12-15 people. You will stay with farm families while visiting his farm and many unique locations. 

– Post-Tours: There are two excellent tours that showcase U.S. agriculture in upper Midwest and the West Coast. 

If you have any travel or journalist visa questions, please contact Paul Queck (pqueck@aol.com) to help sort out your needs. Regarding dress, the meetings will be business casual (no coats, ties or dresses needed), but bring your suits/ties and dresses for the traditional Closing Dinner. For farm tours, close-toed shoes/boots are the norm and jeans are fine.

Check out our Facebook page @IFAJ2019Congress to view details of tour stops, farm issues, photography workshop, and more. There’s still time to register: https://ifaj2019.org/registration.php 

If you have other questions, connect with Congress co-chairs Carey Brown (cbrown@kycattle.org) or Kurt Lawton (kurt.lawton@gmail.com).

We are excited to welcome you to Minnesota for “Global Connections in America’s Heartland.”

Cheers, 

Carey Brown & Kurt Lawton

IFAJ 2019 co-chairs