The Guild of Agricultural Journalists of Ireland has released a video to celebrate the 60 years since it was founded back in 1961.

The video, which is sponsored by FBD, features well-known agricultural communicators from across the island who played key roles in the formation of the guild and its continued success.

Opening with Michael Miley, former southern section chair and All-Ireland president, the 20-minute video brings viewers on a journey across the rich landscape of Irish agricultural journalism and important role the guild has played within the industry.

Speaking at the unveiling of the video to members during the guild’s All-Ireland AGM, southern section chair Amy Forde explained the importance of what has been captured on video.

“To mark the 60th anniversary of the guild, we decided to commission a video looking back at the six decades of the guild’s existence. We have captured a range of views from members from the northern and southern sections and I think it is something that will stand to the guild in the future.

“I would like to thank FBD for their sponsorship and seeing the importance of creating such a video and for their ongoing support throughout the years,” she added.

Farmers’ voices

Reflecting on the state of agriculture in the 1990s, Mairead McGuinness, former southern section chair and current European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, highlights the importance of having farmers’ voices heard and the role agricultural media play.

Moving into present day media and the news cycle, former All-Ireland president Michael Miley acknowledges the dramatic change in how we receive and process information.

Commenting on this new era of news, northern section chair Rachel Martin said: “In an era where we hear terms like ‘fake news’ in common use, independent, original journalism has never been more important, and that carries across to agriculture - one of our most important industries.

“The industry has several significant challenges facing it in the decades ahead with pressure over subsidies and emissions, so it is crucial both farmers and the public are kept well informed through commentary and analysis from professional agricultural journalists,” she said.

Future of the guild

The video reflects on the foundation of the guild with interviews from founder Larry Sheedy and fellow former president of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists David Markey.

It also looks to the future of the guild with its strong female leadership and the important role it plays for up-and-coming journalists looking to network and understand the industry more with reflections from former southern section chair Ciara Leahy and former northern secretary Michele Filippi.

All-Ireland president Richard Halloran noted: “Guild members have been to the fore in both telling and shaping the story of how agriculture in Ireland has developed over the past 60 years. Our membership has never been more vibrant. All of this bodes tremendously well for the future.”