25 January 2013
Wedmore YFC member and dairy farmer James Hole made his television
debut last week on Channel 4 in the documentary series First Time Farmers.
The five-part series, which aims to look at all aspects of farming through the eyes of the younger generation, revealed all about James' life in rural Somerset.
James, who is 26 years old, got involved in the show after the production company visited a Somerset Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs meeting to discuss the concept for the programme and picked him out from the crowd.
“I talked to the production company about what we do as they were a bit green about what farming is about,” explained James who is a naturally outspoken and funny character and was the only person at the meeting that was chosen for the show. “I’m not the world’s best teacher. If I can do it, I think everyone else can as well. Trying to explain to a Londoner how we do it, why we do it and what we do could be frustrating sometimes.”
As a ninth generation farmer on his family farm in Blackford, James works with his dad, uncle and younger brother on their 600 acres, looking after 200 milking cows and rearing heifers.
“Filming wasn’t the easiest thing,” said James who married Alice, a vet and an associate member of Wedmore YFC, during the show’s filming last summer. “It was sometimes difficult to get the perspective of where the producers were coming from. The hardest bit is when they ask you to do something again because they weren’t filming. It was priceless the first time, but you could sell it cheap the second time round.”
As a proud member of Wedmore YFC since he was 14 years old, James invited the film crew down to the County Rally. Unfortunately it didn’t make it into the final edit but James hopes he has represented the Federation well.
“I hold the torch high for Young Farmers,” said James. “Normal education didn’t work very well for me but Young Farmers has helped me to get my NVQ in calf rearing and hedgelaying, the equivalent of an A’Level, and also given me public speaking skills. I know people who have become more confident people through being in Young Farmers.”
And while James has had to campaign recently over milk price cuts he is quick to recognise he is in a stronger position than new entrants to the industry.
“I think there is a future in farming – but it’s a very difficult future if you’re not from a farming background. I am fortunate as we have a strong base of a business that we’re able to work off but even we can’t withstand having huge pay cuts.”
Programmes like First Time Farmer have opened up the conversation about agriculture and the opportunities for young people wishing to break into the industry. Very timely, with the Government currently undertaking a Future of Farming Review – a drive to get more young people working in the agricultural industry.
During the show, Twitter was active with comments from members and other young people interested in farming.
Hannah Gordon from Staffordshire tweeted during last week’s show: “Best thing on telly by far! It makes a change to see a positive representation of farming in the media. Young farmers do it best!”
James isn’t sure if he could adapt to life as a TV star but he has already been interviewed by a national newspaper.
First Time Farmer is on at 8pm on Channel 4, or catch up online.
24 January 2013
The course, which is free to all Young Farmers’ Clubs members, will concentrate on how to produce lamb for today’s market and offers practical farming and business skills.
More than 20 YFC members attended the last event in November in Gloucester, and learnt how to fine tune their beef handling, selection and judging skills.
Stuart Jakeman, YFC’s South East Area Chairman, has previously attended a Lamb Meat for the Market event;
"The training was a great balance between theory and practical work which gave us the opportunity to hone our skills. All the skills covered are transferable to work on the farm and also stock judging within YFC itself. It was a really useful and informative day and it will be very useful for grading sheep for the market on my home farm."
To book a place on the Lamb Meat for the Market training course on January 31st in Chesterfield, download a programme and booking form here.
If you can’t attend a course, but want to learn more about judging stock, why not check out these brilliant videos, produced by EBLEX.
22 January 2013
Katherine Sealy and Chris Manley, who represent NFYFC on the European Council for Young Farmers (CEJA) are attending the conference in Skovde thanks to sponsorship from farmer-owned Mole Valley Farmers.
The conference, entitled CAP towards 2020, is looking at how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) really benefits farmers, producers and consumers and how it can support a sustainable farming future for Europe.
Estimates suggest food production will need to double by 2050 to feed a growing population, while taking into account climate, biodiversity and soil and water quality. Young Farmers will be discussing how important issues such as climate change and innovation can be incorporated into CAP to help tackle this challenge.
NFYFC Agriculture Chairman, Chris Bateman, said;
“Our involvement with CEJA has allowed YFC members not only a further voice for their thoughts and concerns for their future, but also exposure to European politics. It is quite a privilege for our representatives to become more well-versed in the ways of Europe, both farming practices and the necessary lobbying procedures that go with CAP reform. It is essential that we have a good understanding and input into our future and can act as advocates for our YFC farming members.”
To learn more about NFYFC’s involvement with CEJA, visit www.nfyfc.org.uk/ceja.
22 January 2013
Schools may be closed and some Club nights cancelled, but in much of the country farmers are battling on through inches of snow and on icy roads.
Members have been actively tweeting about the white stuff and posting photos.
James Wilks, Chairman of Pleasley YFC tweeted: “Shut all the doors on the cowshed but the snow is blowing in under ridge vents – cows look like they've been dusted in icing sugar.”
James went on to create a tractor out of snow, which has received over 40 likes on Facebook and has been re-tweeted more than 17 times.
Salisbury YFC also crafted a tractor in the snow and advertised their club at the same time. Verity and Lydia Chance-king and Mary Elizabeth Walden created the snow art and held a Salisbury banner up for the photo.
It wasn’t just about building creations in the snow though. Salisbury also demonstrated what Young Farmers are all about by digging in to help their local community. Members got out their shovels to clear the road near the Swan Inn in Stoford.
The NFYFC Twitter feed has been helping local clubs share messages about event cancellations as well as sharing winter driving tips.
18 January 2013
Clubs are being encouraged to lobby their local councils on how funding should be spent on road safety improvements after the NFYFC met with the Road Safety Minister to discuss the new Drive it Home campaign.
NFYFC Chairman Milly Wastie, Youth Officer Jodie Green and Mark Spencer MP met with Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond MP to discuss the issues affecting young people who live and work in rural communities. They highlighted the need for rural roads to be part of the training and testing for a driver’s licence.
NFYFC also suggested a scheme where young drivers could gain further driving certificates following on from their initial test. As a result of the meeting, NFYFC have been offered opportunity to input into future Government consultation on road safety.
Statistics show that rural young drivers are 37% more likely to have an injury collision on a rural road than those who live in an urban area.
Milly Wastie, National Chairman of NFYFC, said: “Statistics show those who live in a rural area are more likely to be involved in a road collision than our urban counterparts so our campaign is aimed at educating our members – and other young drivers – about the dangers on rural roads.
“The driving test needs to reflect the area in which you live and work and young drivers need to be proficient in handling the different challenges of rural driving.
“We were delighted to meet with the Road Safety Minister to discuss the road safety concerns that affect young people who live and work in rural communities. We welcome his support towards our campaign and hope the Government are able to address some of the issues we raised.”
The Minister urged clubs to lobby their local councils on how funding for road safety improvements should be spent.
Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said: “Improving the safety and ability of young drivers is a key priority for the Government so I am pleased to support the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs new campaign.
“We are looking at several ways to make the roads safer for young drivers, including making the driving test more realistic and considering how to improve training for drivers after they pass their test. We are also working with young people, the insurance industry, and other key partners to identify what more can be done to ensure that newly qualified drivers are properly prepared and drive safely.
“I wish NFYFC every success with their campaign”
14 January 2013
YFC members can now book on the fantastic Drive Doctors practical driving experience, as part of the Drive It Home campaign.
The first of four courses takes place on 23rd February and 200 places are kindly part-funded by NFU Mutual – meaning YFC members pay just £45 for a half day session!
This exclusive 50% discount will be available to six members from each county, but there will be a reserve list if there are still spaces available.
During sessions, members will get to drive their own car on a wet-grip activity learning how to control a vehicle if it slips on ice, snow or mud, as well as perfecting their off-road driving. All of the driving instructors for these fun, interactive sessions are young racing drivers who are experts in car control and safety.
Moreton in Marsh YFC Chairman, Billy Edwards tested out the activities at the Drive It Home launch:
"I think the wet grip course is really going to help a lot of people, it’s good to know what to do when a skid happens and it's a fun way of learning as well."
Drive Doctors was founded by two race driving instructors who are using their motorsport skills and applying them to real life scenarios on the road, with the aim of keeping people safe. Courses take place at the Pro Drive centre in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.
Check out more pictures of YFC members testing out the wet-grip activity on our Facebook page.
T: 02476 857 200
F: 02476 857 229
Designed by Kevyn Williams