The economic and social importance of agriculture in New Zealand is reflected in both the quantity and quality of rural journalism.
The best of that is recognised in the Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communciators’ annual awards.
Freelancer Hugh De Lacy has won the Rongo, the top award for agricultural journalists, for 2011.
He won the supreme award, the Rongo Award recognising excellence in agricultural journalism, for articles which appeared in MG Business focussing on far-reaching changes to the strong wool industry and on doing business with China. The runner-up was Dominion Post farming editor Jon Morgan.
. . . The key objectives of the awards are the encouragement and recognition of excellence in agricultural journalism.
The inaugural winner of the PGG Wrightson Sustainable Land Management Award, is Tim Cronshaw of The Press. This award was established to recognise high quality communication and effective analysis of local, national and global agribusiness and environmental factors that impact on the sustainability of farm businesses.
Lynda Gray of Country-Wide won the AgResearch Science Writers Award, established to enhance standards of science writing, especially about pastoral agriculture.
Elaine Fisher, of the Bay of Plenty Times, won the Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award, set up to recognise excellence in agricultural journalism focussing on New Zealand’s horticulture industry.
Rebecca Harper, of NZX Agri won the Rural Women of New Zealand Award, which recognises the important contribution women make (and have always made) in the rural community, either through their role in the farming sector or to the general rural environment.
Hugh Stringleman, of NZX Agri won the AGMARDT Agribusiness Award, which recognises high quality information about and effective analysis of national, global and other agribusiness.
Dominion Post photographer, Phil Reid, won the Federated Farmers Rural Photography Award, for a single photo that illustrates a rural event or activity – agricultural, horticultural, industry, human interest, on farm / off farm, or any activity reflecting life or work in rural New Zealand.
Andrew Stewart of NZX Agri won the Agricultural Journalism Encouragement Award. This is the Guild’s own award and is designed to encourage and recognise excellence among journalists with three or less years reporting on agricultural issues.