Martina Graf’s global leadership role

19.03.2024 Former student and staff member Martina Graf outlines how her time at BFH-HAFL laid the groundwork for an exciting new challenge.

Martina Graf was recently appointed Global Manager of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) – a platform for professional development and networking with approximately 5000 members in 60 countries.

After completing her BSc and MSc in International Agriculture and then working at BFH-HAFL, Martina moved to Canada. Her academic pursuits and career path have prepared her to continue tackling the agricultural industry’s many complexities, and she’s excited to draw on her experiences and contacts in this new role.

“During my BSc, I learnt to work in a goal-oriented manner and developed my strategic and conceptual thinking,” Martina said. “Both my BSc and MSc allowed me to delve deeper into the fascinating world of food production, not only in Switzerland but also internationally.

Martina Graf
BFH-HAFL graduate Martina Graf now runs a guest farm in British Columbia, Canada. At the beginning of 2024 she was appointed the Global Manager of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists.

“The MSc gave me the space and expert input to specialise further in areas of particular interest to me. I also got to know different stakeholders in agriculture, which opened up many new perspectives. Agriculture, with its many facets and its main task of food production (but with so many more responsibilities), is still one of the most exciting fields of work for me.

“Working on irrigation with coffee farmers in Nicaragua (BSc), in watershed management with Mayan farmers in Guatemala (MSc), and other field work, such as a community development project with farmers in the Diemtigtal valley, were valuable experiences.”

About IFAJ

The International Federation of Agricultural Journalists represents journalists, editors, photographers, designers, and communicators involved in national agricultural associations.

“These professionals focus on sharing new technologies and information relevant to the agricultural industry,” Martina said. “From Africa to America, from Europe to Asia, the IFAJ members’ mission is to tell the world about agriculture. Their audiences are farmers, consumers, and everyone in between.

“Every year, the IFAJ World Congress brings communicators together in a different country, and the Star Prize programme generates global attention for outstanding agricultural journalism. Plus, for nearly 15 years, the IFAJ/Alltech Young Leaders programme and IFAJ/Corteva Master Class have created life-changing opportunities for promising journalists and helped strengthen agricultural journalism guilds around the world.”

Canada and beyond

In 2017, Martina moved to the Kispiox Valley, BC, Canada, with her husband and three children. As part of her many professional pursuits, she also runs a guest farm.

“We moved here for a variety of reasons,” she said. “For the possibility to buy farmland and property in the beautiful wilderness – with a high wildlife density and low population density – and for the low entry barriers to produce for the local market and the warm-hearted people. Most importantly – we love adventures.”

And her new role will certainly provide more adventures and challenges. She will be back in Switzerland this summer to attend the 2024 IFAJ World Congress in Interlaken from 14-18 August.

“This year, in addition to the administrative and organisational work for IFAJ,” she said, “I plan to focus on increasing the involvement of young people, because as a former manager of YPARD Europe I know that young professionals are crucial for the industry.

“Another goal is to help improve structures and to support fundraising activities. I am excited to help shape and grow IFAJ in its future progress while working with people from all over the world and from all walks of life.”

Find out more

For more information, read the official IFAJ announcement about Martina’s appointment, follow her family’s farm on Instagram and explore her freelance journalism website.

Subject area: International agriculture and rural development
Category: International