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The next deadline for The Nib is October 9

Submission of Information to be Included:  Please send any information you wish to have included in an edition of the Nib to secretarytreasurer@ecfwa.ca. Eligible information includes: Niblets (updates on personal accomplishments of members - ie. new job, marriage, child, etc.), summary of ECFWA affiliated event, job postings, upcoming ECFWA affiliated event, other relevant upcoming professional development opportunities, etc.

The most recent edition of the Nib is printed in its entirety below. 
Past editions are available by clicking on the links.

ECFWA - The Nib - September 2019
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The Nib - September 2019

In this edition

Prez says
2019 IFAJ Congress recap
ECFWA bursary winner
Upcoming events
Meet your board of directors
Welcome to new members


Prez says 
Rachel Telford, ECFWA President

One of the most valuable aspects of belonging to ECFWA (and by extension CFWF and IFAJ) is the sense of camaraderie it generates amongst our membership and even more broadly at the national and international level. I was reminded of this several times this summer as I was fortunate enough to be involved in an Ontario farm tour with European journalists and attend the IFAJ Congress in Minneapolis.
The farm tour included representatives from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, and Netherlands. When the opportunities arose, I often engaged in conversation with them about what it is like to be an agricultural journalist in their respective countries. Several of them were active members of their regional and national farm writers’ guilds, and perhaps not surprisingly they face the same challenges we often do with retaining members and determining how to provide value for membership.
IFAJ is a place where international friendships and connections are made. Canada has a strong presence at the international level; Owen Roberts, ECFWA member, is the president of IFAJ, the IFAJ Global Office is run out of Quebec by Hugh Maynard, and CFWF is known for its support of and participation in IFAJ programs. It was also great to see a large contingent of Canadians at the Congress.
I encourage all of our ECFWA members to take part in the networking and professional development opportunities your Executive Council is planning during the fall and winter. Given the large geographic area our association covers (across both Ontario and Quebec), we hope to utilize a combination of virtual and real-life meetings in diverse locations to foster that sense of camaraderie amongst our regional members. The next social event will be during Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock, I hope to see you there.

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Global connections

2019 IFAJ Congress

submitted by Rachel Telford

The combination of farm tours, educational sessions, and a bit of adventure made my first experience at an International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) Congress a memorable one.

crop tour at IFAJ conferenceThe congress, themed Global Connections in America’s Heartland, was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in conjunction with the Ag Media Summit (a yearly joint meeting of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, Livestock Publications Council, and the Connectiv AgriMedia Committee). 

The IFAJ Delegate Meeting was an opportunity to hear about some of the recent activities of our international organization. IFAJ is just finalizing the details on creating the IFAJ Foundation which will allow us to accept charitable donations to fund projects and programs. A long-term vison for IFAJ has been developed that will ensure the priorities and needs of members are met, and focus on connecting members across guilds. IFAJ officially welcomed four new member countries – Mexico, Philippines, Romania, and Pakistan.

Several tours were offered during the Congress, and I opted to go on the ones that focused on corn, soybeans, precision agriculture, and sustainability – perhaps not surprising given my day job at Grain Farmers of Ontario. It was particularly interesting for me because I had just days before visited some of our Ontario farmers who were showcasing their own use of precision agriculture to achieve their own sustainability goals. What stood out for me is that in Ontario we have a broader adoption of a three-crop rotation, whereas in Minnesota they are either utilizing a two-crop rotation or growing several years of one crop. What we did have in common was the use of cover crops to increase soil health, the use of technology to reduce the amount of crop inputs that get applied in a field, and utilizing the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship (right source at the right rate, right time, and right place). Minnesota also recently enacted a buffer mandate which is designed to protect waterways from field runoff. It was interesting to see how some farmers are embracing the concept while others are concerned about the amount of land that is taking out of production.

Other key takeaways for me came from the day of professional development sessions I attended from the Ag Media Summit. While it was impossible to get to all the learning sessions I had an interest in, I was happy with the ones I managed to sit in on. Two of them were writing seminars conducted by Anne Wylie, a writing coach and trainer, that were good refreshers on how to tell a compelling story. I find it’s easy to get complacent when a lot of articles we write deal with the technical or business aspects of agriculture and being reminded on how to connect readers with a personal story or anecdote was important. Wylie reminded journalists to write by hanging around – take the time to observe what is happening to provide colourful details in your story.

But where was the bit of adventure I mentioned? Well, on our way to the Friday evening river boat reception, our bus nearly went through a road closure and ended up giving a lovely tour of a residential neighbourhood; on Saturday, our tour bus broke down between stops and we ended up drinking wine out of travel mugs in a soybean field and attempting to hitchhike our way back; I took my first ever Uber ride; and I explored the Mall of America for a few hours.

I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to attend IFAJ and meet fellow farm writers from around the world. Next year’s IFAJ Congress is being held in Denmark June 24 – 28.

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ECFWA bursary winner announced

Mary Feldskov will be heading to BC in September

As ECFWA's secretary-treasurer, Mary Feldskov has the unique opportunity to get to know the members of ECFWA through regular virtual communication and in-person at ECFWA events. This September, she'll be casting her net(working) a little wider as an attendee at the CFWF annual conference held in New Westminster, BC.

Mary, a full-time mom-of-four who works part-time for Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association and as a freelance writer, appreciates the financial support offered by the ECFWA bursary, which will allow her to participate in CFWF's premier networking and professional development event. "I'm especially looking forward to learning more about agriculture on Canada's west coast, and promoting the 2020 CFWF conference to be held in Ontario," she says.

Watch for Mary's updates from B.C. on Twitter and Facebook and a recap of the event in the next edition of The Nib!

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put this on your calendar image
Upcoming events

September 11: ECFWA Social at Canada's Outdoor Farm Show. 5:30 p.m., Charles Dickens Pub, 505 Dundas St. S., Woodstock. Bring a friend or potential new member! RSVP appreciated. Pay-your-own way supper.

September 18:  CFWF webinar: Social Media Storytelling.  

September 26-28: CFWF Conference, New Westminster B.C.

Save the date! September 24-27, 2020: CFWF Conference hosted by ECFWA in Windsor, ON.

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Meet your ECFWA board of directors

Jess Campbell is an accomplished storyteller. Sometimes, those stories are her own. Mostly, she helps others tell their own stories in the best way possible, and has been
doing so for a number of years.

When she’s not working with clients, Jess is many things, including but not limited to:
wife to Andrew, mum to a gentle girl and a feisty boy, partner in Fresh Air Media and Bellson Farms, aspiring author, outstanding baker (just ask her father-in-law), ukulele enthusiast, inflexible yogi, inspired mental health advocate, covetous reader of all the books, semi-devoted runner, fully devoted Toronto Raptors fan, and unabashed Harry Potter/J.K. Rowling fanatic.

photo of Matt McintoshFor Matt McIntosh, context is critical. He’s been writing about science and agriculture since 2011, having worked extensively with a variety of institutions, commodity groups, outreach organizations, and journalistic publications. A University of Guelph graduate, Matt now writes from his family’s grain farm in Ontario’s deep south. Publications to which he contributes include Farmtario, Farm Credit Canada (AgriSuccess & Express), Grain News, and others further abroad.

Hobbies outnumber Matt’s spare hours. Hunting and playing music, however, generally garner a sizeable share.

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Welcome to our new members!

Pam Passerino
Cathy Hamill-Hill
Mylene Latour
Costa Tsitrides
Louise Bradford
Jessica Sills

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Congratulations to ECFWA member Maggie Van Camp who, together with business partner Crystal Mackay, recently launched their new business, Loft32.

What's new with you? 
Share your "niblets" with your fellow ag writers -- send your update to secretarytreasurer@ecfwa.ca to be included in the next edition of The Nib!

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The Nib is a distribution for members, by members of the Eastern Canada Farm Writers' Association.

Newsletter comments, additions, or suggestions are welcome. 
Contact: Mary Feldskov, secretarytreasurer@ecfwa.ca

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