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P.O. Box 250 Ormstown, Que. J0S 1K0

Professional Development Fund


CFWF established a fund in 2014 with a mission to support professional development for agricultural
journalists and communicators for CFWF members. This the legacy of a lot of hard work by volunteers
and generous contributions by sponsors who, over the years, have enabled CFWF to generate a surplus
from fund-raising activities that can now be used to support professional development activities.

For the purposes of the fund, professional development is an activity that enhances the knowledge of the profession and/or contributes to the development of a person’s professional attributes, abilities and skills. Professional development can be accomplished by participating in activities related to agricultural journalism or communications including research, educational programs, conferences, workshops, exchanges, etc.

Here’s how past recipients have used the CFWF PD Fund:

  • Taking a financial accounting course to enhance skills to better understanding agriculture as a business

  • A study on the communications preferences of British Columbia’s dairy farmers

  • Presentation at a conference on plant biotechnology science writing and public communication

  • Participation in the annual congress of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists to develop and report on international perspectives

  • Learning about research methods in agricultural science

  • An exchange tour with Russian dairy reporters visiting Ontario

  • How to better communicate using visual graphics

The Application

Guidelines for submissions: Be clear. Be succinct. Be specific.

Applicants must be CFWF members and will be asked for the following information:

  • Professional background

  • History of CFWF membership & involvement

  • Description of the event/activity that requires funding

  • The details of the professional development component, anticipated outcomes

  • Who will benefit from this event/activity, and how?

  • How will the learning from the event/activity be shared, and when?

  • A reference letter (employer, institution, collaborator, sponsor, mentor, etc.) providing support for the application

  • Amount requested along with general financial outline

Points of consideration in awarding a grant will be:

  • The length of time involved with the federation or a regional association;

  • The type of involvement in the federation, a regional association or other volunteer activity related to the profession (excluding simple participation in a national or regional conference, and marketing and communications activities);

  • Applications that aim for a broad application so other members may benefit from the professional development experience;

  • Applications that will generate outcomes valuable to both the applicant and the profession;

  • Applications that develop new knowledge and information for the discipline;

  • Applications that apply concepts or technology in innovative ways;

  • Applications that demonstrate teamwork, particularly across disciplinary lines;

  • Applications that contain an international component;

  • Applications that are linked to an existing professional development plan.

Applications should be submitted online


  • A total of $5,000 will be available for disbursement in 2021 among all successful applicants;

  • A typical grant could be up to $2,000 per applicant;

  • Applicants are encouraged to seek additional or complementary funding from other sources.


  • Applications will be reviewed and assessed by a panel of three (3) judges appointed by the fund’s Board of Trustees. The panel is chaired by one (1) member from the Board of Trustees who will be supported by one judge each from the east and the west;

    • The judges will assess applications using a pre-set scoring system developed by the Board of Trustees and supplemented by discussion amongst the judges.

  • 2021 Deadline will be available soon:

    • Recipients will be asked to report/present their findings/results at the annual national conference or at regional association meetings/events in the coming year.

    • Recipients will normally have to wait two years before applying again to the PDF but the panel of judges will have discretion in this matter with justification;

    • Team applications must have a designated lead person.

Past Winners

27 Nov: 2016—Karli Reimer

“Communicating with Visual Graphics” $1,000 The Manitoba Farm Writers and Broadcasters Association (MFWBA), which formed in 1956, is the regional…

27 Nov: 2016—Suzanne Atkinson

“Exchange Tour with Russian Dairy News” $2,000 Suzanne has been a regular contributor to Ontario Farmer Publications for 22 years,…

27 Nov: 2016—Karen Dallimore

“Learning Research Methods in Agricultural Science” $1,148 As owner of Words For Hire, Karen has been a fulltime freelance writer…

27 Nov: 2016—Gord Gilmour

“Enhancing skills for better understanding agriculture as a business” $2,000 Gord is an associate editor with Country Guide magazine, and…

27 Nov: 2015—Lorne McClinton

“Implications of the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement on the Canadian dairy industry” $2,000 Lorne has been working as a…

27 Nov: 2015—Shannon VanRaes

“Developing an International Perspective for Improving Agricultural Communications” $2,000 Shannon VanRaes writes for the Manitoba Co-operator covering issues ranging from…

27 Nov: 2015—David Schmidt

“IFAJ 2015 New Zealand” $2,000 David Schmidt, BCFWA member, is currently associate editor of Country Life in BC and a…

27 Nov: 2015—Owen Roberts

“Plant Biotechnology Science Writing and Public Communication” $1,362 Owen Roberts, ECFWA member and vice-president of IFAJ, has been a journalist…

27 Nov: 2015— Trevor Hargreaves

“Communications preferences of British Columbia’s dairy farmers” $2,000 Trevor Hargreaves, BCFWA member, works for the BC Dairy  Association as the…

27 Nov: 2018—Lilian Schaer

“Global Food Innovation Summit” $1,500 Lilian has been a member of Eastern Canada Farm Writers’ Association since the early 2000s,…

27 Nov: 2018—Angela Lovell

“AranLife Project” $2,000 Angela has been a professional freelance writer for more than 25 years, writing primarily for Canadian and…

27 Nov: 2018—Suzanne Atkinson

“Motor Rally with Russian Dairy Farmers” $1,500 Suzanne has been a regular contributor to Ontario Farmer Publications for 24 years,…