ACAJ opts out of hosting IFAJ 2021

headshot of peter lewis

ACAJ President Peter Lewis

The Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists’ executive committee has reluctantly decided to withdraw our plans to stage the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ global Congress in September 2021.

We believe that it would have extraordinarily difficult to achieve the necessary financial support from both the government and corporate sectors in time for IFAJ2021 – given the uncertainty and financial fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Clearly there will be more pressing priorities for our potential sponsors/partners and indeed potential delegates over the next couple of years.

Our tough call follows Denmark’s decision to cancel IFAJ2020 which was scheduled to begin in late June.

The Danes however, are exploring the possibility of shifting their event to 2021 and if that happens, they have our total support.

You’ll appreciate this is a sad and disappointing outcome for the ACAJ & for those of us who bid for the right to stage the event, and who have worked over the past couple of years to develop an itinerary that would showcase the best Australian agriculture is capable of.

I want to acknowledge the tremendous support and encouragement the ACAJ has received from state and territory rural press clubs, their members and especially our valued corporate partners such as Rabobank and Quadrant Tours.

The present circumstances will obviously severely impact their businesses and our clubs’ capacity to operate normally.

We trust they’ll bounce back just as soon as this crisis is resolved.

I also want to place on the record my deep appreciation for the advocacy & commitment of our IFAJ Delegate, Leigh Radford, who lobbied tirelessly for Australia to stage IFAJ2021, and pay tribute to our Canadian friends who had agreed to delay hosting the event as a favour to the ACAJ.

However given the estimated cost of staging this Congress  and the travel and complex logistics it would entail, the Committee felt we could not expose the ACAJ to the risk of substantial losses associated with any event that could not count on the unqualified support at home and abroad from sponsors and delegates.

We believe that as disappointing as it is, this is the only responsible option for us to take in view of the continuing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

We also have no plans to bid for the rights to stage an IFAJ Congress in the foreseeable future.

Pete Lewis
ACAJ President
March 24 , 2020