National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

18 January 2018

Two full days of networking and learning have helped two YFC members think about the future industry changes needed to survive.

Tom Wells from Brigg YFC in Lincolnshire and Emma Kelcher from Soham YFC in Cambridgeshire were awarded NFYFC scholarships, sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Farmers, for the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) in January this year, where the theme was about embracing change.

The pair were among 50 scholars at the OFC and as well as the full conference programme, they were given a media training session with mock interviews from Radio 4's Anna Hill, group exercises, analysing food retail in Oxford city centre and a welcome reception from the McDonald's agricultural team.

The conference also concluded with a Scholars' Workshop where they worked in small groups to talk one-to-one with industry leaders including: Minette Batters; the BBC botanist, James Wong; Farmers Weekly editor Karl Schneider; Mark Suthern, Barclays' National Head of Agriculture, together with senior representatives from LEAF and Farm Africa.

Tom, who works on a mixed farm, said: “I found the whole experience very enjoyable and I met lots of new people which has given me much greater professional connections and allowed me to ask tailored questions of these experts of industry.”

Conference discussions on the digital revolution and lectures on the environment and food helped both scholars think about the future.

Tom said: “I learnt that there are a lot of consumer and lifestyle changes taking place across the globe and it can be easy in a rural setting to get stuck in a bubble and not see what the consumer of tomorrow, or even today, will be eating. We need to be aware of these changes.”

Emma, who is a Technical Manager at Elveden Farms, applied to be an OFC scholar so she could improve her understanding of future agricultural challenges. She said: “I was truly inspired by the whole conference, and also learnt so much. I would like to pass on my thanks to all the Worshipful Company of Farmers and NFYFC for allowing me to take part.”


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