National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

17 December 2012

Representatives from the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) met with MPs and the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food, David Heath, to discuss the future of rural development.

The meeting, hosted by George Eustice MP in Westminster, looked at the content of the next Rural Development Programme which is funded through the Common Agricultural Policy. Under discussion were the types of measures that needed to be included in the next Rural Development Programme and how to improve existing measures.

The Rural Development Programme is a key tool for the government to achieve its aims of increasing food production whilst enhancing our environment.

Outgoing NFYFC Agriculture Chairman, Helen Reeve said: “We welcomed the opportunity to hold a joint meeting with CPRE and give a grass roots perspective on our ambitions and experience with rural development.  We were pleased to begin this dialogue during a time of negotiation and represent our members’ views. ”

Vice-Chairman of NFYFC’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Russell Carrington, said;

“For me this meeting stressed the importance of relaying young farmer’s opinions on key decisions for the future - if we don't it will be to our detriment.  Many policy makers rarely get to hear from grass roots farmers trying to make a go of it in an uncertain world so we have a duty to communicate with each other better so that situations are understood and appropriate action can be taken.

I hope that some of what was discussed today will benefit my age group and younger in their ambitions to run farming businesses and to help build vibrant rural communities."

Ian Woodhurst, CPRE Senior Farming Campaigner added;

“As we set out in our farming vision CPRE believes it’s vital that the next generation of farmers are provided with the support they need to tackle the environmental challenges of the future. The next Rural Development Programme must have enough funding and the right measures to help young farmers manage our farmed landscapes, create thriving businesses and develop innovative farming practices so the countryside can be both beautiful and vibrant.”

Learn more about the Rural Development Programme for England.


13 December 2012

Three successful Discovery applicants will be going on a special trip to Canada in 2013 to celebrate 100 years of 4-H, Canada’s longest running youth organisation.

The lucky members were among 32 people who were selected for a Discovery trip in 2013 after interviews at NFU Mutual’s headquarters in Stratford on Saturday.

Donna Tavernor is an associate member of Eccleshall YFC in Staffordshire FYFC and was chosen as a team leader for the Canada adventure with Caroline Trude from Devon FYFC and Rebecca Watkins from Herefordshire FYFC. The trip has been sponsored by Bayer and Canada 4-H and also involves 120 other young farmers from across the world who will visit the country.

Donna, who works for the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) as Regional Adviser Midlands, has been a successful Discovery applicant on three other occasions, including trips to Kenya, Austria and Budapest, and recommends the experience to others.

“Discovery is brilliant and changes your life. It has given me the confidence to do things I wouldn’t have otherwise done – such as becoming County Chairman. It opened my eyes to new horizons. Once you have been on your first Discovery trip, you’ll get the bug. I have never been to Canada but I’m really looking forward to it.”

The Discovery programme, which is supported by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, C Alma Baker Trust, Australian Bicentennial Trust & YFA (Young Farmers’ Ambassadors) offers a range of worldwide locations for members to visit for minimal expense. Trips include a mixture of homestays, team travel and work exchanges.

One of the trips to New Zealand is sponsored by the C Alma Baker Trust and gives four members a free opportunity to work over in the country for three months. Annabelle Heath, who is 20 years old, was one of the successful applicants and will travel to the North Island to work on Limestone Downs farm in July.

Annabelle, Shropshire FYFC, said the process of applying was made very simple with the support of her Club and County – the County Chairman even drove her to Stratford for the interview.

“I chose New Zealand because it offered the best opportunity and it was free! I enjoy working and this trip seemed more involved and you get to learn a lot more about working on the farm,” said Annabelle who works at Sheila Crow’s Point-to-Point Racing in Shrewsbury and lives on her family’s farm in Newport. “I am now reading up about the country and my location and I have got to learn how to milk before I go! I am visiting my grandparents’ farm every weekend to learn how to do it!”

It was a trip closer to home for Kerry Procter from Grayrigg YFC in Cumbria after her application was accepted for the European Rally to Southern Ireland. Kerry will travel with four others as their team leader in August 2013 and will meet up with other European delegates once over there.

Kerry aims to plan her adventure with the other four YFC members at Annual Convention 2013.

“We have to wear traditional dress so we’ll need to come up with an idea for that,” said Kerry. “There’s an international buffet too and we have to take food with us that represents our country. I will be taking some Kendal mint cake as I live in Kendal.”

Tom Worthington from Upton-on-Severn, Worcestershire, opted for a trip to Germany after a friend recommended his Discovery experience to the country.

Tom has previously been host to an overseas young farmer from Tasmania when he was Chairman of Uttoxeter Club and decided he would like to try the experience for himself.

“I think Discovery is a brilliant programme,” said Tom. “I remember when I first joined Young Farmers and I didn’t think I would be able to go on Discovery. Now I want to promote the opportunity to other members. I will be staying on a dairy farm in Germany and it will be interesting to see the different farming methods. It will be a good break away but I’m not sure what my father is going to say – it’s in the middle of hay making!”

There are still places available for an Adventure Week in England from 15 to 19 July 2013 for members aged between 16 and 18 years old, and also two places for the leaders. To apply and for more information see the Discovery pages of the website

Click here to see all the winners

04 December 2012

Former National Chairman, Presidents, members and friends all gathered in Birmingham at the weekend to celebrate 80 years of The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs.

The black tie event included a special auction with prizes donated by supporters of NFYFC and along with a raffle raised a massive £5,000 on the night.

One of the most sought after ‘lots’ was to win the first dance with NFYFC President Matt Baker. Jan Dickinson who is mum to Fred, Jack and Milly - all members of St Albans YFC -  was declared the winner after bidding £310. The pair danced to the song (I’ve had) The Time of my Life from the film Dirty Dancing. Jan said:

“I’m still grinning about the experience; I can’t believe I did it. Matt is lovely and a fantastic President and role model for young farmers. He’s also a great dancer and has some very good moves - I used to love watching him on Strictly Come Dancing. I loved his backflip but my children are already fed up of hearing about it!”

Other auction lots included a bottle of whisky signed by Prime Minister David Cameron, a weekend for four at the Hilton Hotel Warwick, including dinner and a day at Warwick Races; a tour of the JCB factory; VIP tickets to SIMA 2013 in Paris and a tour of the Massey Ferguson Beauvais factory; and a VIP visit to the Jackson factory in Minnesota, USA, home of the Challenger tracked tractor.

Around 300 past and present members – including Mark Spencer MP, partners and supporters gathered for the party, and popular cover band The Present entertained the crowd.

The occasion was very much a showcase of young farming talent, with Joy Cornock from Pembrokeshire County Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) playing the harp as guests arrived and florist Lizzie Coar from Lancashire Federation of YFCs supplying the floral decorations.  Look out for a story about Lizzie’s floristry business in the next issue or Ten26!

The Federation was officially first formed in 1932, with a head office in London before moving to Stoneleigh in Warwickshire in 1968. Among its former presidents of the last 80 years, have been Princess Anne, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.  Read more about the Federation’s history.

Matt Baker, who has been the organisation’s President since 2011, attended with his wife Nicola, and raised a toast to the Federation’s future.  He said:

“I am always amazed and inspired by the achievements of everyone involved at NFYFC and I feel so honoured to be its President – particularly during this special year.

“It’s impressive to reflect on the last 80 years but in some ways the present crop is even more exciting. NFYFC is doing a fantastic job of preparing young farmers to lead the industry into the next 80 years.”

Milly Wastie, NFYFC’s 81st National Chairman, said:

“Young Farmers is not just about the competitions, the opportunities to travel and the social events – it’s also about the platform it gives young people to speak out about the issues that affect young farmers and those living in rural communities.

“I will forever be indebted to Young Farmers for the confidence it has given me and the opportunities it has created in my work and personal life.”

Check out Matt's backflip in the first dance!

Auction prizes

  • Bottle of whisky signed by Rt Hon David Cameron, MP Prime Minister, donated by Mark Spencer MP
  • Two club badges for racing at Cheltenham on 15 December, donated by Cheltenham Racecourse
  • Tour of JCB factory (including lunch), donated by JCB
  • Two/three night break at holiday cottage (Pearl Lake Lesiure Park – Herefordshire), donated by Glenn Jones
  • First dance at Gala Dinner with Matt Baker, donated by Matt Baker
  • A VIP visit (incl flights, accommodation and transfer) for one person to the Jackson factory, home of the legendary Challenger tracked tractor (Minnesota, USA), donated by Challenger
  • Hot air balloon ride over the Yorkshire Wolds for two people, donated by Duncan Lambert
  • Two annual badges for Exeter Racecourse, donated by Exeter Racecourse
  • Welbeck Abbey Brewery Experience, donated by Ms Claire Monk, Welbeck Abbey Brewery
  • Weekend for four at the Hilton Hotel (Warwick), including dinner and day at Warwick Races, donated by Hilton Warwick and Warwick Racecourse
  • Two exclusive VIP tickets (including flights, accommodation and transfer) to SIMA 20-12 (Paris) followed by a tour of the Massey Ferguson Beauvais factory, donated by Massey Ferguson
  • Admission for four to Salisbury Racecourse’s principle Bilbury Enclosure, donated by Salisbury Racecourse
  • Three bottles of wine, donated by Poul Christensen CBE


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