Dates announced for Guild’s 2018 journalism training award

Applications are now open for this year’s training course for potential agricultural and horticultural journalists, administered by the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists and sponsored by John Deere Limited.

The dates of the 2018 John Deere Training Award are Sunday to Tuesday July 1 to 3, plus three days’ work experience to be arranged for successful applicants.

Now in its 26th year, the course is designed to support one of the principal aims of the BGAJ, that of promoting schemes for the provision of suitable entrants into agricultural and horticultural journalism. It is primarily aimed at graduating students keen to find full-time work in the agricultural and horticultural media, and at journalists or public relations staff who have less than 12 months’ practical work experience.

There are 10 full places available on this annual five and a half-day course, which is in two parts. The first two and a half days, at John Deere’s headquarters in Langar, Nottingham and a local hotel, involve lectures by experienced journalism training consultant David Mascord, with practical exercises that cover the main media sectors. A separate three-day placement sees each of the selected full course members given practical work experience at one of a range of specialist magazines, newspapers or PR consultancies across Britain.

At the end of the course, each person has to write a news story for judging by an expert panel. The winner receives a £250 cheque and the handsome John Deere trophy, with an informal presentation taking place later in the year, usually at the Guild’s Harvest Lunch in London in October.

Those interested in attending the course, who must be studying and resident in Great Britain, have until Friday April 27, 2018 to return a completed application form, which is available to download below (pdf version/writable Word version) or direct from course organiser Steve Mitchell of ASM Public Relations, tel: 01926 818762, mobile: 07717 213182 or e-mail:

The training course at Langar and course accommodation in Nottingham are free of charge, although successful applicants are expected to cover their own out of pocket expenses. Preference will normally be given to students graduating and looking for work this summer.

Many of today’s journalists and PR executives working in the land-based industries received an early boost to their careers from winning a place on previous BGAJ/John Deere Training Award courses - they include Emma Penny, group head of content at Briefing Media Agriculture, publishers of Farmers Guardian and Arable Farming; Andrew Faulkner, until recently joint editor of profi international and now a freelance contributor; and Sally Charrett, deputy/features editor on Amateur Gardening.

For a full list of award ‘graduates’ since the first course in 1991, please contact Steve Mitchell of ASM Public Relations, or look in the Awards section of the Guild website at