The farm where we ate lunch on the final day of the IFAJ Congress is owned by Fritz and Maria Santschi-Schiefer in Sigriswil. I interviewed Maria and her daughter Martina who talked about their family farm operation and the challenges they face.
One of the best things about an IFAJ Congress is meeting agricultural journalists from other countries. There were representatives from at least 30 countries here!
This morning Senate Ag Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss, with the help of his very capable communications director, Keith Williams, held a technologically advanced press conference with farm reporters. Using a chat room for reporters to sign on and ask questions and a live internet audio feed, Senator Chambliss addressed a number of questions related to congressional activities in light of the hurricane disaster.
For this week’s ZimmCast I interviewed Claudia Wirz, Neue Zuericher Zeitung, a journalist who covers ag stories for her publication. Claudia spoke at the IFAJ Congress yesterday about “The Media and Agriculture.” She was on the program right after Marcus Rediger and makes a comment in the interview about the consumer campaign that his organization conducts. Claudia was able to offer the group a very different perspective and one I think we needed to hear.
I mentioned singing in a previous post and that’s what we did at supper. The first song was a German song – Mir Senne heis lustig.
Before dinner opening day we heard from Elisabeth Zolch-Balmer, Minister of the Department of Economic Affairs and a member of the government of the Canton of Berne. Elisabeth talked about how the government is working to save and restore small Swiss farms through the use of payments. She said they’ve had a real decline in the number of these small farms but that it has stabilized. The farms are actually important to more than just the agricultural industry. They’re very important to tourism as well.
Besides the alpine horns we were treated to authentic Swiss yodeling. I didn’t get the name of our yodeler but you can of course listen to her.
I’ve seen these horns before but usually on display. Here at the dinner site we were able to see/hear them in action. These two played them very well.
Next on our program opening night was Ursula Haller, vice mayor of Thun. She described what happened during the recent flooding here and how they’re dealing with it. I interviewed Ursula after she spoke.
The folks at the Brownfield Network have been working overtime to bring great radio to the web. I guess that makes it webradio? Anyway, you can see/hear some of their latest new stuff from the Nebraska State Fair. Use this link: Brownfield Farm Forums: Nebraska State Fair Their coverage was sponsored by the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Corn Board.