Jane Robinson
Inducted in 2021

Jane began her career in agricultural communications at Fieldstone Marketing & Public Relations in Alberta. After returning home to Ontario, she was employed with Ginty Jocius and Associates, Kahntact Marketing and worked as a Senior Writer and Public Relations Specialist at AdFarm for nearly 20 years. Today she is employed as a full-time agricultural freelance writer, based in Guelph, ON. 

Jane is one of the longest-serving volunteers of ECFWA, providing two decades of her time and talent to the organization. She held several executive positions between 1991 when she joined ECFWA up until her retirement from the board in 2011. 

Jane left a legacy that included the longest-running newsletter editor. She also served as a director for several years after retiring her editor post with The Nib. 

Her attention to detail and enthusiasm for farm writers could also be seen in her leadership roles in organizing ECFWA events and CFWF conferences including Niagara, Windsor and Belleville.  

In the early 1990s, Jane took on the task of CFWF Awards Program Coordinator, dedicating countless hours to the annual event. Through the years, she revamped the program to include new categories and other successful updates. She retired that post in 2004. 

Jane also took on a huge role as sponsorship chair for the 2011 IFAJ congress. She raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the event. In fact, she was so successful that leftover funds were directed into a legacy fund for CFWF. 

According to Owen Roberts, CFWF Lifetime Achievement recipient, “it’s safe to say Jane’s steady hand helped stabilize the federation at a time when it was a little tipsy.” 

There’s a good chance Jane Robinson has been involved in or supported just about every farm communications group, event or project in Ontario. Jane’s approach is always from a supportive, behind the scenes role and she’s never one to look for credit for her contributions. 

She has been a leader on regional, national and international farm writer committees, raised thousands of dollars for conferences and has volunteered countless hours to organizing professional development activities for fellow members.  

Jane has always been quick to offer a helping hand or share advice, professional contacts and experience to support fellow members or farm writer chapters. She has also been a mentor to several young professionals, offering a listening ear or advice when asked. 

Jane has been the communications support behind the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame for nearly 10 years, and often volunteers her time to coordinate Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame nominations. 

Jane’s passion for farming and food extends well beyond the agricultural community, using her same quiet, no-need-for-recognition approach. She has volunteered as a Big Sister, fundraises for leukemia research and helps leukemia support groups. She is also one of the biggest supporters of all things local – long before the phrase became popular. Jane loves to support local farmers, farmers’ markets and independent retailers, and as members of the farm community, we can all appreciate her passion and support.


Owen Roberts
Inducted in 2021

Owen is a past president of both ECFWA and CFWF (1993-1995). He was the first Canadian to be elected to the IFAJ presidium (2010). He first served as secretary general and then as vice president, before becoming IFAJ president in 2016, serving in this capacity until 2020. 

Owen was the research communications director at the University of Guelph. He taught agricultural communications, served as editor of the University’s Research magazine, and created the Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge (SPARK) program to increase awareness of the University’s research activities and offer hands-on experience to students. Many of his former students are active in journalism, communications, and marketing in Ontario and elsewhere. 

Owen created the CFWF Professional Development Fund with the legacy funds of the IFAJ 2011 congress.  

He increased membership in IFAJ, expanding membership to new countries, and led the creation and development of the IFAJ Young Leader and Master Class programs. 

Owen is a regular contributor to several agricultural print and online publications. 

As a journalist and a columnist, Owen has reached into mainstream media to discuss agri-food issues and bridge the gap between urban and rural. He has been published in the Toronto Star, Guelph Today, and the Woolwich Observer. 

Owen is also active on social media and maintains an urban-friendly blog.  

Owen recently retired from his position at the University of Guelph but is now an instructor and faculty member at the University of Illinois, in the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications program. 

Owen has been a member of ECFWA since the 1980s. He maintains an active an engaged membership – continuing to participate in ECFWA events and volunteering on the CFWF2021 conference planning committee.



Jim Romahn 

Freelance Journalist
I have been reporting about agriculture for various newspapers and magazines since I was a journalism student at the University of Western Ontario in 1963. That first assignment came from Doug Waterston, editor of the Farmers' Advocate. 

I was employed by the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, then offered the job as the first science writer hired by the federal agriculture department. I eventually headed the news section there and wrote about 300 speeches for the agriculture minister, the late Eugene Whelan. The Record lured me back to Kitchener in 1974 as farm editor and columnist for 20 years when severe down-sizing hit. I launched a free-lancing business, then was hired by Ontario Farmer and have written for them and a number of other farm publications ever since. 

I have been honoured with more than 100 reporting awards, including two Governor-General awards for Public Service in Journalism. 

My wife, Barbara, and I are active volunteers, including a couple of trips per year to serve with disaster-response teams, usually in the Southern United States.

Henry F. Heald 

Editor's note: Henry passed away in the fall of 2016. 

Journalist, husband, father, grandfather, global citizen, follower of Jesus.

I don't know how to prioritize those qualities - they are all important to me. I grew up in a literary family. My maternal grandmother wrote short stories and poems. My sister was a writer and was taking correspondence courses in short-story writing from a US college when MS cut her life short at age 45. One brother was a high school English teacher and had various commentaries about his job and about his Air Force experience in the war published in several journals as well as one of Peter Gzowski's books. My mother kept up a wide correspondence all her life (people wrote letters in those days) and they were all works of literary merit.

One picks up a lot of knowledge as the years go by. So at 86 one would expect that I should be a lot wiser and better informed than I was at 21 - except that I have forgotten most of it. There is, however, one conviction that came to me early in life and has stayed with me ever since. We can never buld a sane, safe, sustainable global society as long as greed and blame are the key motivators in our lives.

I became a journalist because I am convinced that the media has a key role to play - perhaps the most essential role - in changing society. It was a happy accident that I became an agriculture journalist. And I've enjoyed every day of the nearly 50 years since The Canadian Press bureau chief pointed at me and said: "Heald, you're agriculture." But it did not change my basic conviction about the world-changing role of the media. And now that I no longer have the energy to function as a farm writer, I still have the passion to fight for the media to be the setter of values to bring about a new order in society. The churches are too divided to do it. The politicians are too preoccupied with their careers to do it. The multinational industrial complex doesn't seem interested and we have seen the colossal failure of the world's financial system to stabilize society. The media is our only hope.

How good a farm writer you are depends on what you know about agriculture. How good a journalist you are depends on what you know about life. Writing interesting and informative articles about the agriculture industry may be our role, but giving people the tools to make informed decisions about life should be the vocation of every journalist.

I finally got around to marrying my high school sweetheart after ten years of globe trotting for an international charitable organization. She bore us two daughters who I unbiasedly describe as the two most intelligent women I know. One of them has her MA in journalism from University of Western Ontario and is now a published novelist. The other is an archivist now employed by York University to keep their records in shape. Between them they have produced three grandsons and a granddaugher. I hope there will be at least one journalist emerge from that crew.