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Agricultural Journalism: IFAJ–Alltech Announces Recipients Of International Leadership Award

Alltech and the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) have announced Kallee Buchanan of Australia and Craig Lester of Canada as the recipients of the 2021 IFAJ–Alltech International Award for Leadership in Agricultural Journalism. The award recognizes excellence and leadership by young agricultural journalists and was presented during the Alltech ONE Ideas Conference.

“IFAJ shares our commitment to supporting journalists who give a voice to the farmers  and producers, the innovators and change-makers, the scientists and scholars all  working toward a Planet of Plenty,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech.  “On behalf of Alltech, I congratulate Kallee Buchanan and Craig Lester as the well  deserving recipients of the 2021 IFAJ–Alltech International Award for Leadership in  Agricultural Journalism.”

This recognition honors Alltech’s late founder, Dr. Pearse Lyons, who was a passionate storyteller with a great respect for agricultural journalists. The award complements the Young Leader program that Alltech co-founded with IFAJ in 2005 in support of the mentorship and education of leaders who connect agriculture to a global audience. It’s also an endeavor that aligns with Alltech’s vision of Working Together for a Planet of PlentyTM, in which a world of abundance is made possible through the adoption of new technologies, better farm management practices and human ingenuity within agriculture.

“As producers throughout the food supply chain are implementing more sustainable solutions, we are in the midst of a new era in agriculture led by science, data-driven decision-making and a passionate dedication to farming with the future in mind,” said Dr. Mark Lyons. “Agricultural journalists have the ability to share these stories, and through our continued partnership with the IFAJ, we are proud to support these future leaders, who are passionate about connecting our industry to a global audience.”

Kallee Buchanan started her career at a regional newspaper in 2008 before joining the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2009, where she has worked as a radio and digital journalist, presenter and producer, covering rural and regional issues. In 2010, she won a Queensland Media Award (Clarion) for Best Radio News Report, and in 2017 she won the radio and digital categories at the Queensland Rural Media Awards and was named the overall journalism winner.

She went on to win both the Australian and the International Star Prize for Digital Media, and she won the Queensland radio category again in 2018. In 2019, she was highly commended in the Emergency Media and Public Affairs Awards for her coverage of the 2018 Central Queensland bushfires.

Buchanan joined the committee of the Rural Press Club of Queensland in 2016 and became its representative on the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists (ACAJ) in 2018, eventually becoming the secretary of the ACAJ in 2019 and its president in 2020. She is passionate about elevating the issues and industries of regional and rural people and supporting agricultural media communicators in that work. She is committed to developing and retaining new voices that reflect the true diversity of communities outside of the major city centers, as well as the contributions they make to a productive world.

Craig Lester loves connecting people, ideas and resources, and he believes that there is no better place to do that than in agriculture. As president of the Alberta Farm Writers’ Association, part of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation, Lester serves in two key professional roles that are dedicated to sharing information and educating the community with local and industry information. He is a managing editor of 660 NEWS, an all-news radio station in Calgary, Alberta, and is the co-owner of Rural Roots  Canada, an agriculture media production and distribution company. In his free time, he works on the family farm in Rolling Hills, Alberta.

Lester is also very active as a volunteer in the community, contributing his time to the Calgary Stampede, Alberta Young Speakers for Agriculture and Ronald McDonald House. He is also on the planning committee for the 2023 IFAJ World Congress, which will be held in Alberta.

With a passion for successful succession and empowering the next generation, Lester established an agricultural scholarship and travel bursary at his alma mater, Brooks Composite High School, to support a student pursuing either agricultural-related post-secondary education or an international in-person learning experience. He is an award winning broadcast journalist and received a diploma in broadcast news from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

“In challenging times like these, reliable journalism and information is vital for farmers,” said IFAJ president Lena Johansson of Sweden. “Alltech’s commitment to professional development for agricultural journalists to promote eminent leaders within our organization is much-appreciated and contributes to enhancing the quality of agricultural journalism — which, in the long run, benefits the entire agricultural sector.”

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