Preparing for IFAJ Congress 2015

By Sue Miller, New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators

The Congress planning team is busy focusing on details for the 2015 event in Hamilton, New Zealand. The planning team includes, Hugh Stringleman, Graeme Peters, Leigh Catley, Ali Spencer, Trevor Walton, Mick Calder, Susan Murray, Ross Miller and Sue Miller.

Over the next month the planning team will be working out a tour schedule for appropriate farms and research facilities. A farm tour group is already organized to work out the logistics. Regarding pre-Congress and post- Congress tours, there will be three different tours, one pre- and two post.  One will cover the Bay of Plenty, Taupo, Hawkes Bay. One of the post tours will visit Wellington, Wairarapa, Palmerston North, Horowhenua and then go back to Wellington, and will include meetings with government departments, industry bodies and more. The other tour will be Nelson/Marlborough, which will travel down to Christchurch, and further south. Two farm tour operators will be working with us on the logistics of these.
In addition to planning the tours, the planning team is also busy coordinating the logistics of the tour.  The team is hopeful that registration will open in March. Hotels and dinners are also being coordinated. At present, three levels of hotels are tentatively booked. Dinners are also penciled in at Hobbiton (with a tour), a barbecue at SFF at Te Aroha, and the final night dinner at Villagrad. The opening night will be at Novotel, with a kapa haka display after dinner.
The Congress will be arranged with a variety of activities on Wednesday and the opening dinner that evening. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, there will be half days of speeches and presentations and half days of farm and site visits. Each day will focus on a different theme including, “Our Life Our Story,” “Meeting Market Needs,” and “Securing the Future.” Speakers and subjects are being very carefully selected to fit into these themes.
Farm and site visits will be broken into five groups including, dairy, red meat, horticulture and viticulture, science and innovation and a miscellaneous group.
As congress organizer, I will attend the IFAJ meeting in Berlin in January. There we will meet at the New Zealand embassy for a cocktail party for the IFAJ world exec on the evening of January 17. Here we will showcase the best of New Zealand’s foods and wines during the event.
To keep in touch with the Congress you can find updates on the main Congress website, www.congress2015.co.nz. This is one of the main methods of communicating with both national and international journalists. There is also a Congress 2015 newsletter, which will be sent to everyone who attended the Aberdeen Congress. You can also Congress progress on Facebook.

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