Independent State MP - Suzanna Sheed speaks at Shepparton lunch


Independent MP Suzanna Sheed addressed a Rural Press Club lunch at Parklake Function Centre in Shepparton.  Addressing a strong crowd of over 90, she delivered a frank account of what it is like to be an Independent in politics.


IFAJ webinar: Reporting in a digital world



2.30PM GMT


Cassie Hough and Peter Gunders
ABC Rural, Australia – Winners of 2014 IFAJ-Rabobank Digital Media Award

Madelon Kaspers
Global PR Manager, Rabobank, The Netherlands


In this free, one-hour webinar, learn about :

-       Approaching multi-media stories

-       Juggling interviews, photos and video shoots

-       Selecting angles for print, photo galleries and video

-         Digital media PR and informational campaigns


To register, click here. (Copy and paste this link if the hyperlink does not work:

ACAJ Star Awards now open


Star Prizes open to Victorian reporters 

The Australian Star Prize awards for Rural Writing, Broadcasting and Photography open on Wednesday, 4 March, and close on Wednesday, 25 March 2015.

Victorian journalists and photographers have the opportunity to showcase their talents to the world and gain international recognition for their work following the national launch of the Australian Star Prize awards on Wednesday.

Launched at a Rural Media South Australia (RMSA) event in Adelaide, South Australia, the awards support prize-winning writers and broadcasters with overseas travel to experience a World Congress with a focus on international agricultural journalism.

This year’s winners of the Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting, sponsored by global agribusiness bank, Rabobank, and the Star Prize for Rural Writing are set to attend the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) World Congress in Hamilton, New Zealand, from 14 to 18 October 2015.

Speaking at the national launch, Rabobank’s James Robertson said the $6000-travel prizes, including flights, accommodation and congress registration, help induct Australia’s rural reporters into the international media community, and provide them with new global insights, perspective and connections.

Categories for the Rabobank Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting include television, radio and online broadcasting. Entries in the online broadcasting category require a mix of at least three of the following content areas: video, audio, text and images.

Run by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ), in partnership with the Rural Press Club of Victoria (RPCV) and other state media clubs, the awards also see the winner of the Australian Star Prize for Rural Photography receive a $1000 cash prize. Categories for the Star Prize for Rural Photography include people, production and nature/landscape.

RPCV president Stephen Cooke said the runner-up in the 2014 Australian Star Prize for Rural Writing, Melbourne-based Sue Neales, testified to the calibre of rural reporting entries in this state.

Neales’s article published inThe Weekend Australian newspaper, titled “Going, going, gone: death of the saleyard” highlighted the importance of livestock saleyards in Australia’s rural areas when the RSPCA proposed a ban.

Adding to this Victorian accolade, Melbourne-based freelance journalist, Nathan Dyer, won the 2013 Australian Star Prize for Rural Writing with a feature article published in R.M.Williams Outback magazine. This piece titled “Scheme of Dreams” examined the Kimberley’s Ord River Irrigation Scheme.

Work entered in the awards must cover a rural or regional subject, and must have been published in 2014.

For Victorian reporters, award entries open on Wednesday, 4 March and entries close on Wednesday, 25 March 2015.

The RPCV, and other state clubs, announce state winners for the Rural Writing, Broadcasting and Photography categories, before they are entered in the national Star Prize competition.

National winners are selected to compete at an international level in the IFAJ Star Prize awards. The IFAJ announces the world Star Prize winners at its congress in New Zealand in October, 2015.

Enter the awards here

More information: 

IFAJ Alltech Young Leader in Agricultural Journalism


Young Leader awards open global doors

South Australia-based writer and Rural Press Club of Victoria committee member, Rebecca Jennings, packed her bags for Scotland last September after being recognised internationally as a ‘Young Leader’ in agricultural journalism.

Rebecca, a specialist writer for Australian R&D journalism and communications company Coretext, was named the Australian winner of the 2014 International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ)-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism award.

After being selected as the national winner by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ), Rebecca went on to be selected as one of 10 international winners.

These global Young Leaders were invited to attend a professional development program as part of the IFAJ annual congress in Aberdeen, Scotland, in September. This ‘Boot Camp’ were joined by the IFAJ ‘Master Class’ of journalists from Africa, South and Central America.

The Congress served up everything from Highland cattle to whisky – with plenty of Scottish charm – but Rebecca said the people she met were the highlight.

“The opportunity to meet agricultural journalists from countries as diverse as South Africa, Nicaragua, Nepal, Sweden, Belgium and Canada as part of the joint Boot Camp and Master Class was an amazing experience,” Rebecca said.

“As a regionally-based writer, it can be difficult at times to build professional networks but the IFAJ Congress opened the gate to a fascinating group of colleagues from around the world.”

“Although we face similar issues, such as telling the ‘paddock to plate’ story, many of these journalists also face challenges such as government persecution, which is a foreign concept for a country such as Australia that enjoys freedom of the press.”

Read more about Rebecca’s Scottish experience here.

The experience has already paid off, with Rebecca recently asked to write an article on the Australian drought for the Irish Farmers Journals  as well as sharing contacts with a Scottish journalist reporting on bushfires in South Australian.

Rebecca entered the awards with a series of articles exploring how Australian grain growers are embracing electronic technology in their farm businesses. The articles were published in GroundCover magazine, which Coretext produces for the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

Rebecca was raised on a commercial beef property in Queensland, and currently lives on a cropping and sheep farm in the mid-north of SA with her husband Dave.

She is past secretary of the Rural Press Club of Queensland and now a non-executive committee member for the Rural Press Club of Victoria, and one of Victoria’s representative on the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists. page1image23848 page1image24008

Demonstrating her ongoing professional commitment to agricultural journalism and rural Australia, Rebecca’s previous roles include: Livestock editor for Queensland Country Life; Media manager at AgForce Queensland; and Communication Advisor with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). 



Entries are now being accepted for the 2015 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award for journalists and communicators working in the rural sector. 

If you are 35-years-old or younger and would relish the opportunity to travel to New Zealand in October 2015 and meet your peers from around the world at the annual International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) congress, then this professional development award is for you.

Full details about the award and the IFAJ are available at

Entry form for Australian candidates are

Further information is also available by contacting Australian award coordinator Liz Harfull on 0409 674 941 or

Entries must be sent by email to ACAJ secretary Clarisa Collis at by 5pm on February 16, 2015. 

Please note:  Australian applicants must apply through the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ), using the attached entry form. A candidate to represent our country in the final international selection process will be chosen by the ACAJ. Final award recipients will then be selected by the IFAJ. Australian entries close on February 16, 2015, to allow time for the ACAJ to select the national candidate. The closing date on the IFAJ website is for national organisations only.

D.C. Blood Oration & Foot-and-Mouth Disease Workshop presented by Professor Alan Olmstead


Managing Highly Infectious Diseases: Developing the Science and Policies to Arrest Contagions

Guest Speaker: Professor Alan Olmstead, Distinguished Research Professor University of California, Davis

On Thursday 5 February 2015, the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and the Gardiner Foundation, will co-host a half-day workshop titled ‘Foot-and-mouth disease: Outbreak response and decision making in an Australian context’ followed by the D.C. Blood Oration ‘Arresting Contagion - Easier Said Than Done’ to be delivered by Professor Alan Olmstead. Dr Olmstead’s recent book with Paul W. Rhode, Creating Abundance: Biological Innovation and American Agricultural Development, examines three centuries of technological advance in American agriculture. Professor Olmstead’s research has appeared in leading economics and history journals and he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

Thursday 5 February - For more details see flyer



RPCV Committee - new office bearers elected 

The Rural Press Club of Victoria's AGM was held on Wednesday 26th of November.

ACAJ new officer bearers - media release


News Release 22 October 2014 -ACAJ elects new leaders

An experienced rural communicator from Brisbane, Genevieve McAulay, is the new President of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.

This national professional body represents rural press clubs operating networks in all mainland states.

It maintains links with colleagues around the world through membership of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.

Genevieve is a Life Member and former President of the Queensland Rural Press Club where she made a significant contribution as the creator and driving force behind many of the club’s most successful and innovative programs.

She began her career as a journalist at the Dalby Herald before joining the staff of Rural Press, which is now Fairfax Agricultural Media, where she was an award-winning feature writer and editor for the specialist publication Australian Cotton and Grains Outlook, which is circulated in Queensland and New South Wales.

Genevieve is now employed as State Marketing Manager Qld/NT for Rabobank.

Following two terms as Vice President, she succeeds Tim Powell, managing director of Cox Inall Communications in the national leadership role.

Peter Lewis, a familiar face of agricultural journalism throughout Australia, is the new ACAJ Vice President.

Peter has had a long career with the national rural television program Landline, both in front of and behind the camera, and has more recently worked as a national rural reporter for ABC TV.

Clarisa Collis, an executive committee member with the Rural Press Club of Victoria, takes over the role of ACAJ secretary from her club colleague Kim Payne.

Clarisa is the assistant editor of Ground Cover magazine for Melbourne-based agricultural and science publisher, Coretext.

Gordon Collie, an independent communicator and freelance rural journalist from Brisbane, continues in his role as national treasurer and Leigh Radford from South Australia was re-elected as the Australian delegate to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ).

Members of the ACAJ at the annual meeting paid tribute to retiring executive member Liz Harfull who made a huge contribution in Australia and internationally during the past 14 years.

Liz steps down from the leadership team as the position of Immediate Past President rotates to Tim Powell.

She served three terms as ACAJ president and represented Australia to the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.

After a successful career in rural journalism and communications, Liz has won world acclaim as an author, with her latest titles: The Australian Blue Ribbon Cookbook and Women of the Land.

President Genevieve said Liz’s leadership efforts over many years on the ACAJ executive and internationally on Australia’s behalf were much appreciated.

“We are pleased Liz has agreed to lend her expertise as a member of the organising committee for the 2015 IFAJ World Congress Pre-Tour in Cairns next October.”

For more information, contact Gordon Collie on 0409 473 343.