MFWBA welcomes new board members and president
Let me introduce myself, my name is Ashley Robinson for those of you who don’t know me and I am your new MFWBA president.
I am a journalist and currently work at Bloomberg as their Canadian agriculture reporter on a term position. Before that I worked as a markets reporter for Glacier FarmMedia. However, I started my career in Saskatchewan (and as a member of the Saskatchewan Farm Writers Association) working at the Regina Leader-Post as a general reporter focusing on business and agriculture.
I look forward to being MFWBA president and am always open to talking with any of you about events or things you would like MFWBA to do. Or if you just want to talk to me about anything, I am here and open to chatting. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.
MFWBA member wins IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism Award
By Julie Neal
Ashley Robinson has been selected to attend the upcoming IFAJ Dutch Roots Congress through the Young Leaders program. She grew up on a mixed cattle and grain farm just outside of Tilston in southwestern Manitoba. “Growing up in a small town, I couldn’t wait to get out and experience the world,” she said. She could never have guessed that only a few years after leaving that town, she would develop a passion for rural Canada, it’s farms, and, of course, it’s people.
The IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award recognizes the leadership potential of young members from countries belonging to IFAJ, and supports their participation at an IFAJ congress which includes a two-day boot camp prior to the event. This year’s Boot Camp and Congress takes place from July 7-14th at Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands.
“When I was a kid I really loved reading. I loved history as well. I wanted to be a novelist for awhile, but I realized at an early age that it’s hard to make a paycheck that way,” she said laughing. When she realized that being a journalist could combine all the aspects of writing and recording history that she loved, she knew exactly what her career would be. She was about 8 at the time, and hasn’t looked back for a second.
“In high school, I started working at my local community newspaper, and I loved it,” she said. “It definitely gave me a head start in the industry.” On her first day of orientation in journalism school, they mentioned an internship with the Western Producer. By that time she had been living in Regina for two years and found herself missing certain aspects of her small hometown. She had not realized what a big part of her life agriculture was, or how much she knew about it, until she wasn’t around it anymore. “I grew up reading the Western Producer,” she explained “To my dad, a prairie farmer, it was his bible! He read it every week,” she continued. “From that moment on, I wanted to be an agricultural journalist.” She set her sights on the internship, which got her foot in the door of the world.
After university, she got a job at the Regina Leader Post. Although she was working for a daily newspaper, she convinced them to let her cover the Canada Farm Progress Show. Upon arrival she felt a bit left out, not being an official agricultural journalist. Luckily, the Western Producer ag reporters that she had worked with as an intern invited her to the Saskatchewan farm writers supper, which she gladly attended. They were extremely welcoming, and after attending a few suppers with them, she decided to become a member.
Through networking with these ag journalists, she found out about a job opportunity in ag media. Although she enjoyed working in daily news, she really wanted to become an ag journalist. It was also CFWF members who encouraged her to apply for the IFAJ Young Leaders program.
“I want to travel. One of the reasons that I wanted to get into agriculture journalism was the global aspect,” she said. She found out in March that she had been accepted to go to the IFAJ Congress. “It still feels surreal!” she exclaimed excitedly. She’s can’t wait to get to spend time in rural areas and experience Dutch agriculture. “It seems like they’ve made some amazing advancements!” she said. She’s been researching the country’s ag sector, looking forward to learning more about it firsthand during the Congress.
(originally published in CFWF’s The Farm Journalist)