Ten young leaders in agricultural journalism took a look at how agribusiness can implement new technologies and increase on-farm efficiencies to feed an ever increasing global population as well as their role in communicating these advances at this year’s International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) boot camp, sponsored by Alltech.

Amy Roady: Alltech and the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists present the Young Leader in Agricultural Journalism Award to Amy Roady, Illinois Soybean Association (USA). From left to right are Owen Roberts, vice president of IFAJ; Roady; and Ann Hess, North America Field PR manager for Alltech.

Debra Murphy: Alltech and the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists present the Young Leader in Agricultural Journalism Award to Debra Murphy, RealAgriculture.com (Canada). From left to right are Owen Roberts, vice president of IFAJ; Murphy; and Ann Hess, North America Field PR manager for Alltech.

Held prior to the IFAJ congress in Scotland and jointly with the IFAJ/Agriterra Master Class, the intensive journalistic boot camp-style workshop focused on the theme of innovation with recipients of the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders Award discussing agribusiness issues from around the world and further developing their skills through social media applications, a news conference with the United Kingdom minister of agriculture and guest farm, news and industry panels.

Fergal McAdam, sales manager for Alltech Ireland, presented “An Alltech Perspective on Innovation and Sustainability” where he led a discussion on how consolidation, efficiency and innovation are key factors in feeding nine billion people by 2050. McAdam also shared the results of Alltech’s latest initiative, the EPS program, launched with more than 14,000 cows on 58 farms in 19 countries in Europe last year. The program uses a number of tools to measure each farm’s efficiency levels, and then gives customized nutrition and management recommendations for that farm to increase profitability and improve sustainability.

“Alltech is now in a position to be able to demonstrate, in advance of implementation, the probable outcome in economic value and reduced carbon emissions that can be achieved by adapting its recommendations,” said McAdam.

Winners of this year’s IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders Award from North America are Amy Roady, USA, and Debra Murphy, Canada.

Roady is a communications director for the Illinois Soybean Association.  In this role, she leads the association's communication and outreach efforts to educate, inform and influence board members, farmers, industry stakeholders and consumers.  She serves as publisher for Illinois Field & Bean and also maintains strong relationships with media and agriculture groups to promote the soybean checkoff program.  

Murphy is a field editor for RealAgriculture, where she contributes  content ranging from technical to artistic. After graduating from the University of Alberta with a bachelor of science in agriculture in 2010, Murphy participated in a six-month volunteer exchange to Nova Scotia and Indonesia.  Returning to Canada, she spent two years co-managing the family farm before taking her current position with RealAgriculture.

Other 2014 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders are Linda Grimstedt, Land Lantbruk (Sweden); Rebecca Jennings, Coretext Pty. Ltd. (Australia); Aisling Hussey, Irish Country Living (Ireland); Roman Goldberger, LANDWIRT  (Austria); Alison Mann, The Scottish Farmer (United Kingdom); Anneli Groenewald, Farmers Weekly (South Africa); Michiel Van Meervenne, VILT, the Flemish Information Centre for Agriculture (Belgium) and Katrin Fischer, dlv Deutscher Landwirtschaftsverlag GmbH (Germany).

Candidates were nominated by their respective agricultural journalism guilds. The selection process consisted of a written submission, judges’ impression of the candidates’ leadership potential, their proven leadership abilities and a narrative explaining their interest in the young leaders’ program. Almost 100 young journalists have strengthened their skills and expanded their global network through this program, now in its tenth year.

"IFAJ is grateful for Alltech's commitment to leadership, education and global communications in our federation," says Owen Roberts of Canada, IFAJ vice-president. "IFAJ and Alltech both believe young leaders are vital for the longevity of the agricultural journalism profession, and indeed, for agriculture itself. Support from Alltech is making a difference."