31 January 2013
European young farmers were united in their pleas to politicians to consider the younger generation in future CAP reform at a recent CEJA (European Council for Young Farmers) Conference in Skövde, Sweden.
Chris Manley and Katherine Sealey, NFYFC CEJA representatives, debated amendments, future farming and found out how to milk cows 200km from the Arctic Circle.
The conference, organised by the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF), centred on the CAP and how the future program should look. It attracted young farmers from member states as well as 150 Swedish young farmers.
Addressing delegates, CEJA President Joris Baecke, who will be attending the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Forum at the NFYFC AGM in Blackpool in early May, emphasised the importance of young farmers demanding answers from their national Ministers on the question of support for young farmers within the new CAP, highlighting the fact that “politicians should be ambitious enough to deliver concrete actions now.”
With just six percent of Europe’s farmers under 35, the problem of opportunities for younger people was a main focus of the conference:
“It soon became obvious that the industry barriers to entry, such as lack of land and the difficulty of raising capital for new investments are common throughout Europe,” said Chris.
The conference was preceded by a CEJA Working Group to finalise the CEJA voting recommendations to MEPs for the Committee of Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI) final compromise amendments vote in the European Parliament.
All of these recommendations have now been voted through by MEPs, something which Chris hopes will benefit young farmers:
“This sends a strong political signal from European Parliament on the urgent need to address the concerning lack of generational renewal in the EU agricultural sector. It also highlights the importance of CEJA’s Future Food Farmers campaign in helping to raise awareness of the need to support young farmers to secure the future of European Agriculture.”
As well as debating the big issues, Chris and Katherine also listened to some inspiring stories from young farmers who were successfully farming independently or in conjunction with an older farmer, including a female Dairy farmer, working 200km from the Arctic Circle with a dynamic approach towards business.
“I was very proud to be representing NFYFC and realised how important it was for young farmers to give a unified message to all European Union institutions to shape future policy and ensure a place for young farmers and new entrants.
Thank you to the support given by Mole Valley Farmers to enable NFYFC to participate in CEJA. It is fantastic to be working with a forward thinking agricultural company that is investing in the long term future of farming,” said Chris.
To find out more about CEJA click here.
31 January 2013
Free training is being offered to members to help them secure a job in the horticulture and agriculture industry, thanks to a new pilot programme run by HOPS Labour Solutions – the NFYFC’s commercial arm.
The pre-employment training programme, which will be run by HOPS as a City & Guilds Approved Training Centre, is aimed at giving UK workers an introduction into the industry, with a guaranteed job offer at the end of the process.
Two hundred jobs have been created for UK workers, and everyone who completes the course will be guaranteed a job offer with the potential of earning from £200 to £550 per week.
This opportunity is suitable for anyone looking for a job change or those eager for a first step into a career in the agriculture and horticulture industry.
All of the roles offer performance related pay – meaning workers can earn anything from £150 a week to £550+ for really exceptional individuals.
The positions are temporary but due to the industry’s demand for good workers there is plenty of regular work available throughout the year for those willing to move where the job takes them.
HOPS have several people on their books who have been in continuous employment for the last three years by moving from one temporary contract to another.
HOPS places around 11,000 people in positions at its 200 client farms across the UK each year. Jobs range from harvesters and tractor drivers to supervisors and managerial roles.
The new training and employment scheme has been pulled together with the support of the Minister for Employment’s working party, LANTRA, NFU, Jobcentre Plus, The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, City & Guilds, agricultural colleges, and HOPS’ client farms that have set aside 200 jobs for the pilot programme.
Laura Savage, Operations Manager for HOPS, said:
“It’s taken some time to bring all of the pieces of the puzzle together but we can now finally offer this exceptional training, job and career opportunity to UK workers.”
HOPS is a Home Office-appointed operator of the seasonal agricultural workers scheme that helps UK and international students, young people and committed workers of all ages, to find employment in the agricultural and horticultural sectors.
Where do I apply?
30 January 2013
AgriChatUK, the twitter forum for UK farming and rural discussions, has invited YFC to lead a discussion on rural road safety and young drivers.
All you need to do is log on to twitter and
join in the conversation using the hashtag #AgrichatUK. Find out more
about Agrichat by checking out their twitter page - @AgrichatUK.
Read more about the NFYFC Drive It Home campaign.
30 January 2013
The free event, organised by NFYFC’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, will give Young Farmers an insight into the workings of Parliament, with a visit to the National Farmers Union Government and Parliamentary Affairs Office.
Members will be taken on a tour of the Houses of Parliament, before meeting with Sir Jim Paice MP, who has recently given his support to the NFYFC Drive It Home campaign.
Helen Reeves, from Harleston YFC, has previously been on the trip:
“The Parliament and NFU trip was a brilliant way to see first-hand how young farmers can help influence key decisions that affect our industry. We were lucky enough to meet Norfolk MP, George Freeman, and he really listened to what young people in rural areas felt were important.”
The afternoon sees a trip to Smith Square, home of the NFU’s London Team and the lobbying arm of the organisation. YFC members will get a unique chance to discuss any burning issues with the people who really have a sway in British agriculture and rural policy.
“I found it fascinating that the NFU London office is just a stones-throw away from the main Defra offices and Westminster, so they are really in the thick of the political action. Young Farmers have the right to shout from the highest rooftops about the issues that are affecting them so why not do it where politicians and policy leaders will take notice!”
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.
T: 02476 857 200
F: 02476 857 229
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