View from an ENAJ first-timer…

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Olivia Cooper, deputy chairman of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists

Having never attended an ENAJ AGM I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Very high profile journalists, leading their countries in an elite and closed council? Well, I was right on the first point, but certainly not on the second.

Olivia Cooper, deputy chairman of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists, recounts her experience at the recent ENAJ AGM in Herning, Denmark.

The council members couldn’t have been a more welcoming and open group – ultimately everyone of them is giving up their time to do something they are passionate about: promoting our profession and building links between our nations to benefit every member guild. And they are open to ideas and as much help as anyone wants to give.

Before I joined the BGAJ council I was relatively unaware of the benefits that being part of the ENAJ and the IFAJ brings. Until you have a chance to spend time with agricultural communicators from all over the world it’s very hard to understand how life-changing it can be. But for anyone who is interested in our industry, learning about agriculture and the media in other countries is fascinating and eye-opening.

The AGM brought together journalists from as disparate countries as Romania, Croatia,Germany and the Netherlands, and our mixture of earnest and light-hearted discussions continued well beyond the meeting into the late (or early!) hours at the bar.

Kindly sponsored by Agromek, we were able to spend a full day at the show in Herning, Denmark, including a guided tour around the latest technology. Picture multiple halls packed with every kind of farm machinery imaginable, alongside livestock facilities, livestock showing, and an innovation area profiling the latest research coming out of Denmark.

Farmers like nothing more than looking over the hedge and picking up ideas from their neighbours – and I strongly believe that part of our role as ag communicators within the ENAJ and IFAJ is to narrow the geographical gap and bring their global neighbours closer.

There is extremely interesting research coming out of nations around the world – I came back with plenty of ideas and editorial from Agromek alone. And by profiling best practice and new thinking from around the world, we as journalists can help our own farmers – and those from other, less developed countries – to progress and improve their own businesses.

Ag journalists from around the EU and further afield have very common interests –it’s easy to talk over a beer or two about fostering closer links with the mainstream media or the problems of consumer perceptions. Spending time together reinforces the knowledge that we really do live in a global village – and that’s what the ENAJ is all about. With low budget tours coming up in Bulgaria, Scotland, Finland and Italy – among others – there has never been a better time to get involved.