ACFWA makes history

(JUNE 2010, Charlottetown, PEI) — Well, it’s official. The Atlantic Canada Farm Writers’ Association is now a full member of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation and the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists. We made history for the national organization too — in its 55 (or so) year history, this was the first time a new group of farm writers requested membership within the larger group. Good for us!

During the CFWF annual meeting on Oct. 2 in Moose Jaw, Sask., I had the deep pleasure to bring forth the motion requesting the Atlantic Canada Farm Writers’ Association be accepted into the rest of the CFWF membership — and seeing almost every hand in the room shoot up in the air to second the motion was very exciting!

The annual meeting was only about an hour of the three day conference in Moose Jaw. Two days of tours and a day of professional development rounded out the meeting. As well, there was plenty of time for socializing and making contacts. I never fail to come home with about a dozen business cards of new farm writers colleagues met at the conference.

From a freelance writers’ point of view, you never know when the contact you made with the person you sat beside on the bus is going to pay off with a phone call for some freelance work.

From an ag communicator’s point of view, the opportunity to get to know farm writers from across the country — those who will help deliver your message — can’t be beat.

Of the 110 at the conference, about half were writers and half communicators. There were representatives from the Chicken Farmers of Canada, the Beef Information Centre, Monsanto, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Canadian Cattlemen’s Asssociation, Syngenta, Canadian Dairy Commission, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Farm Credit Canada, AdFarm…

The CFWF annual meetings rotate among the membership groups and previously were held two years in the west, followed by a year in Ontario.

Now that the Atlantic Canadian Farm Writers` Association is part of the mix, the rotation has changed.

We`re now in the line-up to host our colleagues from across the country in 2014. It`s a long way out, but it isn`t too early to start thinking about where to host the conference, what tours to include and the type of professional development options.

Also, we`ll need an organizing committee with folks experienced in organizing events like this.

~Allison Finnamore

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