ATSE Report Launch


Asia has an emerging appetite for quality, safe food, but how can Australia capitalise?  Professor Snow Barlow of Melbourne University launched the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering report, Green Growth Food and Fibre at a Rural Press Club of Victoria breakfast. This crucial report recommends how Australia can optimise both its primary production and its global position.

Click here to see the report

Survey Thanks


The RPCV thanks all those who took the time to complete our Tell Us What You Think survey. We received almost 70 responses and appreciate the detailed feedback.

The committee is now compiling the information and will establish the key themes for discussion at our next meeting.

Members will be notified within the next few months of our future plans based on your input.

Crawford Fund


17 February 2014


The Crawford Fund is again joining with the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists to launch a competition that aims to encourage working Australian journalists to investigate the important roles that agricultural research, training and rural development play in global food security.

Professor Kaye Basford, Board member of the Crawford Fund and President of the Academic Board of the University of Queensland made the announcement in Brisbane during the Fund’s seminar on Queensland involvement in and benefits from international agricultural research.

“Events like our seminar today provide good opportunities to raise awareness of food security issues and the importance of science, research and training that involves Australians and the Crawford Fund,” said Prof Basford, who chairs the Fund’s Queensland Committee.

“The journalism award provides an opportunity to acknowledge reporting to highlight the positive contribution that Australia’s farmers and our development, research and education sectors can make,” she said.

“We are delighted to team up again with the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists to deliver this award and recognise excellence in reporting on food security,” she said.

The winning journalist will be provided with a Crawford Fund ‘seeing is believing’ visit to a developing country to view and report on Australian and international research and training underway with a focus on food security.

Entries are open for print, broadcast and internet-based reports by working Australian journalists around food security within the 12 months prior to the closing date of Monday, 2 June. The winner will be announced at the Fund’s annual conference on 27 August.

Last year’s winner of the inaugural Crawford Fund Food Security Journalism Award was Ms Elizabeth Finkel, Chief Editor of Cosmos Science Magazine for a feature article which imagined global agriculture 50 years in the future.

Further details, including the application and judging process, are available at More information: Cathy Reade, Director, Public Affairs and Communication, 0413 575 934

The Crawford Fund's mission is to increase Australia's engagement in international agricultural research, development and education for the benefit of developing countries and Australia.

Information on how to enter click here

Vic Farmland Value Index launched


Rural Finance launched its Victorian Farmland Values Index at a Rural Press Club of Victoria event in Melbourne this morning.

The Victorian Farmland Values Index is the first conclusive study of farmland sale data in Victoria’s history.

It collates the results of around 45,000 farmland sales across Victoria since 1990 into a document that, for the first time, allows you to track how the rural property market has performed in the past 23 years.

Rural Finance CEO Rob Goudswaard was joined by panelists Agribusiness Valuations Australia Managing Director Sam Paton and Nuffield Scholar Damian Murphy to discuss rural land values in Victoria.

Read more about the Index here



Entries are now being accepted for the 2014 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award for journalists working in the rural sector. If you are 35 years old or younger, a financial member of your local rural press club, and would relish the opportunity to travel to Scotland in September 2014 and meet your peers from around the world at the annual International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress (IFAJ), then this international professional development award is for you.  

To apply:  Australian applicants must apply through the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ), using this entry form. A candidate to represent our country in the final international selection process will be chosen by the ACAJ. Final award recipients will be selected by the IFAJ. Australian entries close on February 10, 2014, to allow time for the ACAJ to select the national candidate. The closing date mentioned on the IFAJ website is for national organisations only.

Entries should be submitted by email to the Secretary, Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists - Kim Payne at

If the samples of your work exceed 10 MB in file size please contact Kim to discuss the best method for submitting them.

For more information: Contact ACAJ Immediate Past President Liz Harfull on 0409 674 941, or email

Details about the award and the IFAJ are available from the IFAJ website – 

Download the entry form

Australian rural journalists on top of the world


Victorians are amongst a group of Australian rural journalists and photographers who are on top of the world after dominating awards for journalistic excellence at an international conference in Argentina earlier this month

Australian journalists took a clean sweep of all the broadcast awards at this year’s International Federation of Agricultural Journalist’s Star Prizes.

On top of that a Victorian photographer also took out the top prize in the photography category beating entries from all over the world.

Geelong Advertiser photographer Peter Ristevski won the judges accolades and the top photography prize for his striking image which was the unanimous choice from more than 70 entries from around the world.

The photo of a horse trapped in mud with its distressed young owner cradling its head had a happy ending when the exhausted animal was safely rescued. Peter’s image was judged the best in the People category before taking the major prize.

Victorians Lucy Barbour and Larissa Romensky from the ABC took out the broadcast on-line category for a multi-media human interest report on the impact of wild dog predation.

The awards didn’t stop there for Victorian Rural Press Club members with Melbourne-based freelance Journalist Nathan Dyer placing third in the Star Prize Award for Print Journalism for a feature on the Ord River region published in RM Williams Outback Magazine.

Finalists nominated by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ) won six of nine awards plus a second and third placing at the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists 2013 World Congress.

ACAJ President Tim Powell said it was an extraordinary and outstanding result for Australia.

“It is the best result Australia has ever achieved in the prestigious Star Prize Awards,” Mr Powell said

“The Star Prizes are the most significant awards in the agricultural journalism and to have our journalists named the best in their field in the world is an amazing achievement.

“What this shows is that Australian rural journalists are matching it with the best in the world.”

The award ceremony was a highlight of the final day of the Congress in Rosario, in the Argentine agricultural heartland.

Journalists from the ABC made a clean sweep of the three broadcast award categories – television, radio and on line -- while Australians won two of the three photography categories and the overall best photo award.

Tait Schmaal from the Adelaide Advertiser submitted the winning entry in the Production category, an airborne sheep leaping to freedom.

Ballarat Courier named Rural Press Club of Victoria Media Outlet of the Year


The Ballarat Courier has claimed the coveted Rural Press Club of Victoria Media Outlet of the Year title, beating off finalists The Warrnambool Standard, The Border Morning Mail and The Hamilton Spectator.

The Courier, long the provider of news and information to the Ballarat region, had taken its coverage to new levels with its on-line and digital presence, said judging panel co-chairman Gareth Boreham.

“Through its multi-media platforms, the paper has broken significant national stories such as the NBN roll-out asbestos scare, as well as providing comprehensive reporting on health issues and the summer bushfires that wreaked so much havoc,” Mr Boreham said.  

“The paper is leading the way with new technologies. Reporters and photographers file using Iphones and Ipads and are constantly learning new skills to update content as it happens.”

The Geelong Advertiser’s Danny Lannen was awarded Journalist of the Year for his folio of news and feature stories involving deeply personal accounts on issues ranging from refugee policy and forced adoptions to the impact of suicide on a prominent member of the Geelong community.

“All were handled with appropriate sensitivity and empathy, free of sensationalism, making Danny the standout,” said Mr Boreham.

The Hamilton Spectator’s Dean Koopman, having only returned to photography six months ago after a decade-long absence, was named RPCV Photographer of the Year.

“Dean’s images tell their stories powerfully – the epitome of good news photography,” said photography judge and former News Ltd picture editor, Vince Calati.

Ray Frawley Young Journalist of the Year, The Weekly Times’ Alex Sampson, edged out her competition for a tenacity that “could not be taught” said her editor and RPCV president Ed Gannon.

The other winners were Kim Quinlin, The Ballarat Courier (Best Feature Story); Tammy Mills, The Border Morning Mail (Best Regional News Story); Emma Field, The Weekly Times (Best Rural News Story); Tim Lee, Ron Ekkel, James Fisher and Corina Scott, Landline (Best Agriculture Story); Mark Bogue, The Weekly Times (Best Production), Dean Koopman, The Hamilton Spectator (Best News Photograph) and Rob Gunstone, The Warrnambool Standard (Best General Interest Photograph).     

The RPCV Journalism and Photography awards recognise and celebrate excellence in agricultural and rural journalism and photography, in both the print and electronic media.

This year’s competition attracted a record 365 entries, proving excellence in journalism is alive and well in the bush despite ongoing challenges in the media environment, said Mr Gannon.

Keynote speaker, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, congratulated attendees at Friday’s night’s event in Melbourne for their dedication to their communities.

“The greatest thing we could do for people who are new to the state, new to country Victoria, is give them a 12 month-subscription to their local paper. Nothing helps someone new to a community understand better how that community works,” said Dr Napthine.



Great turn out for Mallee rally

Nearly 150 people converged on the Wesley Performing Arts Centre at Horsham  last Monday night to hear from eight  of the 12 candidates contesting the federal seat of Mallee in Saturday's election. 

There was also a Greens senate candidate representing the Greens. 

Public interest through the large electorate washigh, with a new member to be elected following the retirement of long-time incumbent John Forrest. While last election there were only four candidates the three corner contest had boosted the number four fold for this poll.

Only three members of parliament have represented Mallee since the seat’s inception in the late 1940s. The event, organised by the Wimmera Press Club, included plenty of lively discussion about  issues including infrastructure, agriculture, health, foreign ownership and education. Candidates also talked about who they were preferencing, their views on a GST on food and whether they'd be prepared to cross the floor. There was strong support for improved rail infrastructure including both standard gauge and passenger rail services.