Most of you might not be aware that in this craft of agricultural journalism, a subset of the larger media industry, we have professional associations.
One of the highlights of being a member of these groups is the annual competitions that allow us to see what the current standards in our business look like.
As an editor I enjoy them for a variety of reasons, of course to compare how your talented journalists at the Western Producer are faring relative to others in the industry and it also highlights the great work being done across the board.
Last weekend in Winnipeg, the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation held its annual conference and announced the winners of the media competitions.
I am proud to say that the staff and contributors that serve you your regular dose of farm information and news, whether in print or online at producer.com, managed to pick up a dozen awards this year.
In Weekly Press Reporting, they managed to sweep the category. Ed White, from our Winnipeg bureau, won gold for his story called Farmers learn to get along with grain companies, which is about how the balance of power between grain companies and producers is not as clearly cut as people might imagine.
Barbara Duckworth, from our Calgary bureau, travelled to Europe to get her Brexit stories and took silver for her story about how the E.U.-Britain break-up will affect agriculture.
Barb Glen from our Lethbridge bureau earned a bronze award after travelling the smoky, sooty trails and sitting with ranchers and farmers as they told about their losses following the tragic fires that hit the Prairies. From our Saskatoon head office, Sean Pratt also earned bronze in the category for his story about recent improvements in grain company profitability.
In another category sweep for the Press Editorial awards, Kevin Hursh’s column on crop insurance and tight canola rotations won gold; Brian MacLeod’s perspective on food label failings grabbed silver; and Barb Glen took home bronze for her thoughts on how the livestock sector needs to police itself on animal abuse or governments will.
Our other staff winning awards included Saskatoon’s Robin Booker, a silver for his daily news story, “Short season compresses weed battle,” and Edmonton’s Jeremy Simes for his story, “We’re not going anywhere: Farmfair organizers,” and Barb Glen, again, for her photo of a farmer who lost his barn, fences, corral and feed in the fires that devastated southwestern Alberta. Freelancers Janet Kanters and Sharon Grose also made us proud.