Olds (Rural Roots Canada) – Approximately 200 agriculture journalists and communicators from around the world will be converging on Calgary and Olds at the end of June for the annual International Federation of Agricultural Journalists World Congress.

The annual congress, which runs from June 27 to July 3, will have professional development sessions and tours all week, showing off agriculture and food in Alberta.

For over a year, volunteers from across the country have been working to put together the event.

Co-Chair Trevor Bacque says it has been a labour of love.

“We have a very committed core group of volunteers that stretch from British Columbia all the way out to Atlantic Canada and everywhere in between,” Bacque said.

He believes the saying it takes a village is really apt in this case.

“We’re very proud of the program that we put together for all of our international delegates and we can’t wait to show off Alberta agriculture.”

Co-chair Annemarie Pedersen, who has been to a number of congresses in different parts of the world, says the best part of the congress is the people.

“It’s like going home for a little bit,” Pedersen said.

“You get to see these people once in a while at a conference, and they’re such great people who are so passionate about agriculture like we are here.”

She adds hearing that they have a lot of the same problems and challenges really builds connections and results in some life long friendships.

“That’s my favorite part is the people that you get to meet and get to know and become friends with when you’re sitting on a bus with them all day or at the hospitality suite in the evening.”

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Co-chair Jessika Guse says this is absolutely phenomenal.

“We have about 31 countries that are going to be represented,” Guse said.

“It just goes to prove the hard work that our volunteers have done to spread the good word of the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists World Congress here not only in Calgary, but also in Olds.”

There are ag journalists and communicators from Japan, South Africa, Switzerland, Germany, Nepal, Netherlands, Argentina, Liberia, Brazil, Sweden, Bangladesh, India, Sierra Leone, Mexico registered to attend.

The IFAJ is made up of guilds in about 60 countries that span the globe.