National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

Merrick Burrell Trophy 

Awarded to the County Federation with the largest percentage increase in membership over the past three years ending the 31 August 2018.

Winners: Berkshire FYFC. Trophy to be collected by: Club Chairman for Shefford YFC Henry Graham.

An increase in membership of more than 41% has boosted one of the smallest counties in the Federation. Berkshire has 143 members based in its four clubs and has been working hard to achieve growth over the last three years.

Henry Graham, Club Chairman for Shefford YFC, said the County had been reaching out to younger members.

“We know that YFC in general is appealing to more younger members and so we have publicised the clubs in the local parishes and schools in very rural areas, which seems to have paid off.

While they’re only a small county – Berkshire expects a lot from its members.

“Active member participation is key for us as we’re so small and we do a lot of competitions.  We don’t have a huge number of members but those that are involved are very proactive.

One of Berkshire’s key promotional events is its Rally, which is held in May. As well as competitions and events, the County ensures it has a promotional stand on site. Their stand includes a map of the county showing where the local YFCs are based and they have found this has been a successful way to attract new members. “Every year we get more people saying they saw us at the show and that they want to come to a meeting,” said Henry. “Anyone interested in joining can come to up to three meetings to see if they like it and then we try and sign them up.”

Their methods are proving successful, with examples such as 18 year old Lindsay Hubert who joined after her school friends encouraged her to get involved last year. Despite not coming from a farming background, Lynsey has just won the Area title for sheep stockjudging.

“Hopefully we will do the same this year and keep encouraging new people. New members are important but it’s also about trying to retain them as well. If there are more members and people taking part in events, it’s more fun for everyone, which is an upward spiral,” said Henry.

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