National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

22 November 2017

More education on food and farming is needed in schools say Young Farmers who have been meeting with Defra to share their views on a future farming policy.

Greater understanding of the industry would benefit farmers and those in associated industries according to the discussions YFC members have held recently across the country. The discussion groups are part of a Defra supported initiative to give young farmers from eight regions the opportunity to help shape a future British Agricultural Policy.

During the English Winter Fair (18-19 November), many competitors at NFYFC’s national stockjudging finals, took a break from competing to join the discussion group with Defra held at the Staffordshire County Showground.

As well as the discussions around education, members also talked about shaping future agri-environment schemes, boosting farm productivity, risk management and resilience, support, skills, training and labour and promoting a British brand.

Harriet Wilson, NFYFC’s AGRI Chair, was at the meeting in Staffordshire. She said:

“It was a fantastic opportunity for Young Farmers to get their voices heard by Defra. It’s important that a future farming policy takes on board the opinions and ideas from the next generation of farmers and these discussion groups are giving us the platform to do this.

“I would encourage YFC members to make the most of the opportunity to attend one of the groups in a location near to them. Education came up as a key topic in our discussion group and also in the Devon group, so it’s something the whole industry needs to work on as well as Government."

NFYFC is working with LEAF and FACE to help bring farming, food and environmental topics to young people in their school classroom. Vice Chairman Lynsey Martin is also hoping to encourage more YFCs to work with their local schools when she stands for election as Chairman of NFYFC in 2018.  A new Curve training module is also being planned that will help encourage YFCs to get involved.

Topics that have been raised in other discussion groups have included improvements to administration and inspection; more collaboration (from Defra) with current assurance schemes; a request for incentives to improve soil quality, investment for improving on-farm drainage systems, low interest loans for capital investment/new entrants, better/more succession and matching service advice, and incentives for future share farming.  

Defra have told NFYFC that the information has been useful and insightful for shaping a future policy.

Feedback from YFC members has shown unanimous support for further regional discussion groups with YFC members and a keen interest in future policy development.

Find out more information about the Discussion Groups and read the NFYFC’s AGRI policy position paper. 

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