Young farmers inspire young journalist competition winners

ENAJ/DG AGRI Young Journalist Prize 2014

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Young farmers inspire young journalist competition winners

Proof that there’s a future for young people in farming was, appropriately, the subject of all the winning articles in this year’s Young Agricultural Journalist competition.

Austria’s Eva Zitz won first prize with ‘Agriculture is sexy’, her account of Pedro Bernandes, a young fruit grower from western Portugal who took over and restructured his father’s farm. Judges awarded it 178 points from a maximum of 200, citing its relevance, style and high comprehensibility.

Hot on her heels, with 176 points, was Slovenia’s Klara Nahtigal. Klara wrote about another young farmer who, not content with a farm comprising Haflinger horses, cattle and poultry, decided to branch out further and diversify into adventure vacation, riding lessons and children’s activities.

Holland’s Durkje Hietkamp took third place for her article about Nieske Neimeijer. She’s a 30-year-old farmer who, after taking on her husband’s parents’ farm, decided to go down the difficult road of conversion to organic production to make the unit viable.

The contest, run by the European Network of Agricultural Journalists and supported by DG AGRI, saw entries from more than half of ENAJ’s member countries. Judges included the ENAJ vice president, Katharina Seuser; Roger Waite; Slovenia’s Tatjana Cop, a member of the ENAJ management committee; and John McClintock, DG AGRI communication expert from Internal and external communication.

The winners were honoured during the CAP Communication Networking Event on January, 28, which was attended by 120 journalists and communication experts from all over Europe. Jef Verhaeren, president of ENAJ, Daniel Rosarius, EU Commission spokesman for trade and agriculture, and Roger Waite, former DG AGRI spokesman, handed over the certificates.

Roger Waite says: “There are many good stories to tell about agriculture, and it’s nice if we can encourage more young journalists to take an interest in this very broad and diverse sector.”

“Support and activities for young journalists has always been one of our major objectives within ENAJ,” says Katharina Seuser. “The Young Journalist competition is, together with our young journalist study trips, one of the best ways of achieving that objective and giving our new entrants to the profession the support and mentoring they need to succeed. DG AGRI’s support in translating the submitted articles is greatly appreciated, as we would be unable to run such a competition without it.”

Delegates at the ENAJ AGM in Brussels voted overwhelmingly to repeat the Young Journalist competition in 2015, for a fourth year. “I’d encourage all our members to highlight the existence of the competition to their young journalists and have them thinking in advance what articles they might be able to submit in 2015”, Jef Verhaeren says, “Let’s try to increase the number of entries next year so that more of our countries’ young journalists are having the chance to have their work judged on the European stage.”


January 29, 2015

Read the winning articles:

Eva Zitz

Klara Nahtigal

Durkje Hietkamp

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