Agricultural communicators usually dress up for the Canadian Farm Writers Federation’s annual awards ceremony. This year, they could have attended in their sweatpants.
I’ve been lucky enough to take in a few of these events over the years, and they are always given the gala treatment, occurring between supper and dancing on the last night of the association’s annual conference.
COVID-19 changed all that, of course, and this year’s ceremony was held online in late September.
However, the change in venue did nothing to reduce the excitement and prestige that surrounds these awards.
Members of The Western Producer editorial staff always do well at the CFWF awards ceremony, and this year was no different.
Former editor Brian MacLeod won first place in the press editorial category for an editorial called “Failing to act in trespass cases is irresponsible.” His editorial was in response to the news that animal rights activists had invaded a Hutterite colony’s turkey barn in southern Alberta.
Reporter Robin Booker took third place in the same category for a column called “Conservatives need a shift on climate change.” In it, Booker argued that the federal Conservative party needs to adopt policies that encourage farmers to improve their greenhouse gas footprint.
Reporter William DeKay was awarded third place in the technical feature category for a full page package in which he explained how mechanical exoskeletons may one day reduce effort and injury risks for farmers. It featured both a story and photos.
DeKay also took second place in the landscape photography category for a stunning photo he shot of a farmer kneeling in a sand-blasted canola field.
Reporter Ed White took third place in the press column category for a Hedge Row column headlined “Decade began with the wheat board and ended in chaos.”
A couple of freelancers also won awards for work that was published in The Western Producer.
Mary MacArthur, who once worked for this paper as a reporter, won second place in the people photography category for a photo headlined “Saddle Up,” while Janet Kanters took third place in the nature/landscape photo category for “18-Horse Hitch.”
The previous year was fruitful for The Western Producer’s reporters and photographers, and it is satisfying when that success is recognized.