National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 June 2022

YFC AGRI Chair Charlotte Garbutt, from Lincolnshire FYFC, was one of the lucky YFC members who was chosen to be part of a UK Young Agricultural Leaders Fellowship to the USA this year to learn more about agriculture in the country. Charlotte shares her experience of the three-week study tour, which was organised by The University of Georgia’s Office of Global Engagement.

How were you chosen for this experience?

UK fellows were selected from nominations of members between the ages of 18 and 26 by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) or the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU).

I met the criteria of experience or interest in agricultural leadership and policy as my degree, current work with Syngenta and pedigree livestock business fitted the bill. I’m so grateful that my employer supported this international experience and cross-cultural exchange of a lifetime to acquire more skills for my professional and YFC career.

What were the highlights of your trip?

From the moment we all arrived at Hartsfield International Airport, orienteering at the University of Georgia’s Centre for Continuing Education to our Washington debrief, I had the most amazing and informative time, visiting farms, colleges, feed mills and research centres as well as enjoying the famous southern state hospitality and generosity.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better….it did! Boarding a plane to Washington the day after a cultural excursion in Atlanta, a change of pace from farming to politics and perhaps a chance to put the leadership training and rural cultural activity delivered by the JW Fanning Institute for Leadership Development into practice.

What farming differences did you discover?

The most significant part of the trip was the difference in the scale of farming enterprises but also dispelling any of my misconceptions – seeing and experiencing is the only way to really understand another country’s farming culture.

Arriving in Washington DC, the political experience was as extensive and interesting as the farm and cultural ones. This agenda included visits to the American Farm Bureau, the British Embassy and with the Office of the United States Trade Representative to learn about approaches to agricultural trade negotiations. (I think this will stand me in good stead for future haggling over livestock additions….!)

What benefits have you taken from the trip?

To say that my fellowship has enhanced both my personal and professional development is a huge understatement. These types of opportunities are rare, but we all know that being a member of a YFC means that many opportunities are there for the taking.

Take up every travel or exchange opportunity that may come your way. A fresh perspective is always useful to stimulate ideas and plans for your future, as well as the obvious experience of seeing and meeting those who share your passion for food and farming.


29 June 2022

Young farmers in Cumbria will play a key role in helping to keep farming and rural communities safe through a new training initiative.

The training package is being developed to support young farmers in identifying practical actions that local farmers in their club’s area can take to prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime.

The initiative was developed by Joe Murray, Chair of the Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association (NWA) in conjunction with Cumbria FYFC County Chair, Robbie Tuer, and has been progressed with the support of the Police Crime Prevention Academy (the Academy).

The organisations are now working with NFYFC to develop the training into one of the Curve modules so that it can be accessed by YFC members across England and Wales.

Robbie Tuer, Cumbria FYFC County Chair, said: “As chairman of the Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (Cumbria YFC), an organisation of some 1800 young farmers, the Farm Crime Prevention Initiative struck a chord with me immediately. Although not all our members live or work on farms, most have strong links with their local rural communities and care passionately about supporting and protecting them.

“We are delighted to be involved with this much needed Initiative and hope to play an integral part in its development over the coming years. Our young farmers are the present and the future of Cumbria and will play an active and vital role in the development of farming and agriculture in the years to come.

“Through the support and guidance offered by this Initiative our farming and rural communities and the people who live and work within them will have the opportunity to develop and thrive in a safe and secure environment”.

The training in crime prevention will include being able to carry out forensic property marking that can help prevent owners of expensive machinery from becoming victims of crime.

Amanda Mulholland, from the Police Crime Prevention Academy, said:

“The Academy will be working with the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) to develop a training session in line with existing NFYFC modules and asking local young farmers to be involved in piloting the training over the winter and spring on 2022/23. The aim is to pass the training onto the NFYFC so that it can become one of a suite of modules that young farmers in Cumbria and across the UK can access and put to good use in their local communities.”

The initiative is being supported by national partners including NFU Mutual, Crimestoppers, local partners including Cumbria Police. NFU Mutual are also funding the initiative.


24 June 2022

Six YFC members from England and Wales are taking on Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland at Stockjudging in a battle of the 5 nations at the Royal Highland Show this June.

It’s the first time a 5 nations stockjudging contest has been held but it’s hoped it will become an annual event if this one proves successful.

Competitors will be judging different breeds including Holstein and Ayrshire for the dairy, and Simmental, Shorthorn and Charolais for the beef. While the sheep breeds will include Suffolk, Border Leicester, South Country Cheviots and Beltex.

Jess Stewart, from Durham City YFC, only started stockjudging last year during lockdown and after early success in the competition, she is now representing England in the sheep stockjudging.

“I started stockjudging when NFYFC held the competition online, so I haven’t got a lot of experience at it. But I competed in live and carcase at the national final at the English Winter Fair and ended up winning in the Lamb stockjudging,” said Jess who manages a herd of Belted Galloway beef with her sister. “I’ve just got some sheep this year, so stockjudging must be paying off! I’m really proud to be representing England – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Joining Jess will be Amy Bowness from Greysouthen YFC in Cumbria who will be judging the Dairy. After successfully competing in the national Stockman of the Year, Amy is looking forward to taking part in the 5 nations competition.

“I definitely like Dairy the best – I feel I know that well. I am from a dairy farm and we have a few sheep as well. I’ve been a YFC member for 13 years and I have done dairy stockjudging right from the off when I joined as a junior,” said Amy who works as a Radiographer when she’s not helping on the family farm. “I’m very proud to be taking part in the 5 nations competition. It’s not something I expected to do but it will definitely be something different!”

George Lee, from Newton St Cyres YFC in Devon, is hoping to end his final year in YFC on a high by judging the beef cattle for the England team. No stranger to success at a national stockjudging competition, George is looking forward to putting his skills to the test against four other nations.

“I have always taken part in stockjudging competitions as I like looking after cattle at home. Although I work on a dairy farm, I prefer judging beef as I find it easier.”

Jess Banks, from Sarn YFC in Montgomeryshire, will also be judging beef but for the Welsh team, despite her day job being a herdsperson for a dairy farm.

“Beef is my favourite of all the stockjudging. I came third in Senior Stockman of the Year in Wales. I have had a few troubles over the last few years so my stockjudging never got to where I wanted it to be. This year everything came together, so I am really chuffed to be heading up to the highlands to represent Wales,” said Jess who has ensured she spends time focusing on activities, such as Stockjudging, that she enjoys to improve her wellbeing.

Jess will be joined by Nia Thomas from St. Ishmaels YFC in Carmarthenshire, who will judge the dairy and Thomas Swancott from Teme Valley YFC in Radnor who will judge the sheep for Wales.

The Royal Highland Show takes place from 23-26 June at Ingliston in Edinburgh.


23 June 2022

Innovation and technology are a major focus of a new podcast series recorded as part of a joint venture between KUHN Farm Machinery and NFYFC.

Representatives from KUHN recorded the series with Meet the Farmer podcaster Ben Eagle and discuss topics such as innovation and changes in technology in the arable and livestock sectors. The final episode in this mini-series looks at career opportunities, and Ben chats to YFC members who have developed their careers with KUHN.

This is the second podcast series NFYFC has produced with KUHN – with the first series focused on regenerative farming and quality forage, as well as a discussion around careers.

The first episode in this latest series highlights changes in farming practices and innovation in technology in the arable sector. Representatives from KUHN, Non-inversion and Spraying Sales Specialist Rupert Greest and Area Sales Manager John Hulland, discuss the latest kit that KUHN is producing to help arable farmers and how they are connecting with customers through apps and even TikTok.

Speaking in the first episode, John Hulland explained what he thought arable farmers wanted. He said: “Technology has been embraced by customers and they are looking to make themselves more efficient, looking at their inputs and outputs. They are looking at more GPS and being more mindful of their fertiliser application and their spraying costs. They are making sure they are putting the right product, in the right place, at the right time.”

It is hoped that the podcast can be used by YFCs for club programming and prompt discussion between members about the issues they raise. NFYFC’s AGRI Chair Charlotte Garbutt said: “We’re pleased to be releasing another podcast series with the team at KUHN. These informative sessions offer invaluable insight to young farmers who are developing their careers.

“The episodes delve into the different technology available for farmers working in the arable or livestock sectors, as well as providing information on career opportunities.” The first podcast in this latest series can be listened to below and YFCs are encouraged to share with their members.

                     


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