The time-tested tradition of handing the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists flag to the next host country — in our case, from Belgium to Canada — was an emotional one for me. Early on, I developed¬† an appreciation of agriculture from a neighbouring farmer, George DeMeyer, a Belgian immigrant to Canada. I was hardly six years old when he taught me how to do chores and, later, how to drive a tractor. Those memories stuck with me and hit home when IFAJ 2011 co-chair Lilian Schaer (pictured below, at the IFAJ 2010 closing ceremonies earlier this week in Oostende, Belgium) and I accepted the IFAJ flag. For the 2011 Congress, we’ve chosen the theme Experience New World Agriculture, in part as a nod to immigrants who helped build Canada’s farm sector — farmers like George DeMeyer.

Congratulations to the organizers of IFAJ 2010 for a fantastic congress, and thanks for the photo to Joe Watson of Scotland, who will host IFAJ 2014.