Update: 2019 IFAJ Congress in Minnesota
By Kurt Lawton, IFAJ/AMS 2019 Congress Co-Chair
The IFAJ/AMS 2019 Global Congress steering committee met Thursday, September 20, at the event’s DoubleTree Hilton hotel in Bloomington, Minnesota to continue planning this not-to-miss event.
Working with my co-chair Carey Brown and dozens of American Agricultural Editors’ Association and Livestock Publications Council members, we’re excited as the U.S. will once again host the prestigious IFAJ Congress in conjunction with our annual Ag Media Summit.
As IFAJ members, this is a unique opportunity to not only interact with your IFAJ peers, but also with U.S. journalists and ag communicators in one location. Our Ag Media Summit usually attracts 600 or more attendees.
“Global Connections in America’s Heartland” is our theme for next summer’s Congress. The dates to mark on your calendar: IFAJ meeting starts on Friday, July 26, 2019; AMS will start on Sunday, July 28 and we adjourn on Wednesday July 31 for post-tours. Our organizing committees have focused on keeping the usual IFAJ Congress meeting intact, as well as offering overlapping opportunities with Ag Media Summit programs.
Some of you will remember the summer of 2009 when the U.S. last rolled out the red carpet for IFAJ members in Fort Worth, Texas. No offense to our friends in Texas, but this Minnesota Congress will be the best ever! Here’s an update of what’s in store for attendees in Minnesota:
- An excellent program for both IFAJ and AMS members that will feature an expanded variety of both newsmaker topics and professional development sessions. Program chair Kenna Rathai and her committee are working on news topics like press freedom, biotech issues, food safety, trade and farmer challenges. Professional improvement sessions being developed will offer timely topics on writing, photography, design and video, along with session tracks for public relations and sales professionals.
- Local tours co-chairs Greg Lamp and Karen McMahon have built an excellent diversity of tours for our IFAJ guests. They will choose from tours that include dairy, swine, beef, row-crops, fruits, vegetables, precision tech, university research, seed research, grain transportation, breweries, wineries and Minneapolis/St.Paul city tours.
- To showcase our Midwest hospitality, we will have members of our U.S. Guild (AAEA) assigned to attending IFAJ members (by country) in a buddy system to help you with questions and information before, during and after the Congress. For those attendees who will need VISAs for your visit, please contact myself (Kurt.Lawton@farmprogress.com) or Carey Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance. Here is a good website for information https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html.
- Regarding IFAJ Post-Tours, we’ll offer three options: 1) Visit California to experience the state’s crop and livestock diversity—from almonds, strawberries and wine to beef, dairy, and locations that highlight water and energy issues; 2) Visit Wisconsin for an amazing dairy, cheese, crops, wine and beer extravaganza; and 3) Experience South Dakota/Iowa/Minnesota’s large precision tech, grain, beef, dairy and swine farms. Also visit university research farms and equipment/precision tech manufacturing. All tours begin July 31st and will include some fun stops as well—from wineries and breweries to casinos and supper clubs—to give our guests a real taste of America’s Heartland.
Watch for more details on our website www.ifaj2019.org and ongoing updates on our Facebook page: AMS IFAJ 2019. The goal is to have complete details on the website before the end of the year, with registration opening in February 2019. Get ready to come join the fun.