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Country Guide writers earn national kudos

Pages from one of Canada’s longest-lived farm journals got an added touch of gold and bronze last weekend from Canada’s national organization for ag journalists.

Staff and contributors with Country Guide earned two gold and three bronze awards for their work at the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) awards banquet Saturday in Niagara Falls, Ont. The awards banquet was held in conjunction with the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) congress hosted this year by the CFWF in both Guelph and Niagara Falls.

Guide contributor Anne Lazurko earned the gold Jack Cram award for monthly press reporting for her November 2010 article, Big deal, on farmers’ assessments of the federal/provincial AgriStability program.

Guide associate editors Gord Gilmour and Maggie Van Camp each earned bronze in the same category: Gilmour for his November 2010 piece, Farmageddon, on the impending intergenerational transfer of farm assets in the next 15 years, and Van Camp for her December 2010 feature piece, The boom in succession, on the importance of communication in a farm family succession plan.

Guide contributor Bill Strautman, meanwhile, earned the gold Peter Lewington award for technical feature writing for his March 2011 article, Five paths to a fair rent, on the ways in which landowners and farmers can best establish fair land rental rates.

Also, Guide contributor Steven Biggs earned the bronze Dick Beamish award for best press feature for his October 2010 article On camera, exploring how a group of farmers in the Golden Horseshoe have worked to improve their farms’ visibility and court consumers directly through the media.

Pot of soup

Staff of Winnipeg farm publishing house Farm Business Communications, owners of the Guide and this website, also earned four other CFWF awards Saturday.

Country Guide’s Gilmour earned a silver O.R. Evans award for best press editorial from the March 2011 edition of Wheat Oats and Barley magazine, titled It’s never different, a cautionary piece on unbridled optimism in the wake of the recent commodity boom.

Manitoba Co-operator editor Laura Rance earned a bronze in the same category for her Aug. 19, 2010 editorial, Doing the right thing, on the province’s duty of care to hog farmers in the wake of new regulations limiting manure application on farmland.

Rance, in her role as a regular columnist in the Winnipeg Free Press, also earned a bronze Frank Jacobs award for press column writing for her Oct. 16, 2010 column, Put on a pot of soup, help fight food crisis, on the issues of global food distribution, hunger and wasted food.

Over in cyberspace, Farm Business Communications earned a silver Henry Heald award for best World Wide Web site, with Dave Bedard, Kevin Doole and Grainews editor Lyndsey Smith sharing the award for Grainews.ca.

The CFWF on Saturday presented a total of 43 awards in 14 categories, in which submitted work from members and non-members alike was reviewed by 26 judges from across Canada and the U.S.

The national federation represents almost 400 English-speaking ag journalists, broadcasters and communicators across Canada through six regional associations in Atlantic Canada, Eastern Canada, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

The Manitoba Farm Writers and Broadcasters Association is scheduled to host the 2012 CFWF conference next fall.

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