ECFWA - The Nib - May 2019
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The Nib - May 2019

In this edition

Prez says
Photo contest winners
ECFWA bursary
ECFWA to host 2020 CFWF conference
Member profile: Melanie Epp
Upcoming events
IFAJ Congress 2023 - call for volunteers
Welcome to our new members


Prez says 
Rachel Telford, ECFWA President

I am honoured to have been elected president of ECFWA at our recent AGM and I am excited to work with our newly elected Executive Council. I want to thank all our retiring Executive Council members for their service to our association; especially our former president Meaghan Ryersee for her strong leadership and enthusiasm for the agriculture industry.

I hope we can maintain and expand our membership base by offering you relevant and engaging professional development and networking opportunities in the year ahead. If, at any point, you have suggestions or comments on what we are doing, please feel free to reach out to me or any other member of the Executive Council to share your thoughts.

At our May AGM, a change in the ECFWA constitution was approved which removes the communications coordinator as an officer of the Executive Council. There was an important and thought-provoking debate about this motion ahead of the vote. And I want to assure our members that this change does not mean we feel communicating with our members is unimportant. In fact, it means just the opposite. We want to do a better job of letting our members know about what we are doing as an association and communicate with you on a more regular basis. Spreading out the communications work will hopefully help us achieve this goal. 

Enjoy the summer!

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The 'social' event of the year! 

Submitted by Maegan MacKimmie

More than 30 farm writers came together in Stratford for the ECFWA AGM on May 14, 2019. The theme was a ‘Social Event,’ incorporating social media use and opportunities to network with old and new faces.  
The morning business portion of the AGM included an ECFWA general report, approval of the 2018 financials, a constitutional amendment to the position of communications coordinator and a welcome to the new executive council. ECFWA members heard from IFAJ president Owen Roberts and 2018 CFWF bursary recipient Matt McIntosh before wrapping up with the 2019 ECFWA photo contest presentations.
AGM attendees then heard from Sgt. Laura Lee Brown who discussed social media use by the OPP and answered questions on how the OPP handles farm road safety and animal activists.
After lunch, everyone boarded a bus for a tour of Shepherd Creek Farms with Sandi Brock. Sandi discussed her vlog, social media and took members on a tour of her sheep farm. The next stop was Stonetown Cheese for a tour of the facility. The tour covered the process of making and aging cheese and ended with a walk through the dairy barns. A highlight of this stop was the opportunity to taste a wide-range of cheeses made from milk produced on the farm.

Thank you to our ECFWA sponsors, executive council, and volunteers for making the 2019 ECFWA AGM a success.

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Congratulations to the 2019 ECFWA Photo Contest winners!

View all the winning entries on the ECFWA website

Thank you to our sponsors:

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ECFWA bursary - CFWF 2019

A bursary of up to $1,000 is available to an ECFWA member to attend the 2019 CFWF conference in British Columbia in September.

Apply by Friday, June 14. 

More information and application guidelines are available on the ECFWA website.

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ECFWA to host 2020 CFWF ConferenceCFWF 2020 logo

ECFWA is scheduled to host the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation (CFWF) annual conference in 2020.

Planning for this event is well underway with a committee co-chaired by Rachel Telford and Kelsey Johnson. The conference will be held in Windsor, Thursday, September 24, 2020 – Sunday, September 27, 2020 at Caesars Windsor Hotel and Convention Centre. Mark your calendars and plan to attend!

The planning committee has themed the conference ‘Risky Business’ and the conference will explore the risks inherent in the agriculture industry – from the issues faced by farmers in southwestern Ontario, to new business opportunities, to international politics and trade wars. The conference will feature a Thursday pre-tour to Michigan farms as well as a full day of touring southwestern Ontario agriculture on the Friday and a full day of professional development Saturday. 

If you have an interest in helping with our conference planning, or an interest in sponsorship opportunities for the conference, please email

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Member profile: Melanie Epp

Ag journalist writes her own happy ending
Melanie Epp covers stories on food and farming all over the world.
Written by Courtney Denard for Ontario Farmer and the Ag Women's Network

Melanie Epp has had a deep passion for writing since she was a child. She started by crafting stories at a young age and even created her own magazine with her sister in the late 1980s.

When it came time to pick a career, though, Melanie didn't consider writing as an option, not right away, anyway.

After spending a few years travelling the world, and a few more years after that working in restaurants and bars, Melanie enrolled at the University of Guelph at 27 years old. She studied English Literature and History.

Melanie's passion for the written word was still there but soon a new subject matter -food -started to intrigue her.

"I was one of those people who was terrified of where my food came from," Melanie said. "I wanted to know where my food came from before it was ever a movement."

So Melanie created a blog. It was called '100 Mile Mel' and it explored local food, healthy living and sustainable practices.  Read the full profile on the AWN website

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Upcoming events


July 26-31: IFAJ Congress, Minneapolis Minnesota
September 26-28: CFWF Conference, New Westminster BC

Did you miss the ECFWA webinar featuring James McCarten, editor of the CanadianPress Stylebook?
You can view it online. As a benefit of ECFWA membership, this video is password protected - please email for the password.

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IFAJ 2023 - Call for volunteers

Have you heard? The IFAJ Congress is returning to Canada in 2023! While the event will be hosted in Calgary, the organizing committee is hoping to recruit a few volunteers from across the CFWF membership. Find out more about this amazing opportunity!

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Welcome new members 

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to our newest members:

Jacob Lucs, Jersey Canada
James Watson, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
Cameron Newbigging, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
Catherine King, Fertilizer Canada
Holly Pinelli, Syngenta Canada
Brandi Cowen, Syngenta Canada
Tom Lewis, Ontario Sheep Farmers
Donald Good, AgriNews
Andrew Howard, Howard Communications, Inc.
Cathy Lennon, Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers
Jennifer Paige, Fruit and Vegetable magazine
Jennifer Betzner, Farmtario
Lynsay Beavers, Canadian Dairy Network
Maggie McCormick, University of Guelph
Rob Reid

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Congratulations to Kelsey Johnson who has started a new position as an economics reporter with Reuters.

Congratulations to Maegan MacKimmie who has accepted a new position as Corporate Communications Manager at Turkey Farmers of Canada, effective June 12. 

What's new with you? 
Share your "niblets" with your fellow ag writers -- send your update to to be included in the next edition of The Nib!

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The Nib is a distribution for members, by members of the Eastern Canada Farm Writers' Association.

Newsletter comments, additions, or suggestions are welcome. 
Contact: Mary Feldskov,

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