National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

29 August 2010

It is with more than a touch of sadness that I write this report, as it will be my last as president of the NFYFC. As most of you will already know I am standing down at next year’s AGM in Blackpool.

At the NFYFC council meeting in October 2005, the members decided to elect a president who would go out and about meeting the members at grassroots level in their own location, and this is something I have tried my very best to achieve. To date, I have managed to attend YFC events in 48 out of the 50 county federations; which has meant I have been on the most incredible journey of my life, witnessing first hand the amazing talent that exists in YFC at all levels.

The standard of work produced by our very young members never ceases to amaze me. I have to acknowledge the support of the members’ parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and other relatives – without their dedication to YFC the organisation would not be able to function.

I must say a very special thank you to the Welsh federation and their members for the welcome I have always received in Wales. The dedication to and enthusiasm for YFC, together with the patriotism they have for their country, is amazing and has to be witnessed at first hand to be appreciated.

Thanks must also be given to all the families that have provided me with such wonderful hospitality while attending these many YFC functions; and an added bonus has been travelling through the most beautiful countryside of England and Wales.

It has been a pleasure to welcome on board our new CEO Diane Calvert who will help shape the strategic direction of the organisation for the future. Together with the much strengthened staff team at a restructured Stoneleigh, this should now enable the members, their clubs and county staff to receive a much improved service from NFYFC.

I must also acknowledge the help and support I have received from my wife Helen and the rest of my family. Without them, I would not have been able to dedicate so much time to being your president.

Finally, I wish to thank each and every one of you, the grassroots members, for giving me the greatest honour I will ever receive – being NFYFC president – and for the fun and friendship I have enjoyed over the past five years, for without you there would be no YFC.

Visit the Resources for Clubs page to download a copy of this report and a print-quality photograph of Lionel Hill MBE.

12 August 2010

NFYFC agriculture & rural affairs committee chairwoman Milly Wastie reports on her visit to Sweden as head of the English team at the European rally held there this month...

"Just back from the European rally in Sweden where I headed up the English team.

"This year’s European rally was hosted by Swedish 4H at the agricultural college in Halmstad, Halland district. Twenty-two teams from across Europe took part in workshops and excursions to local businesses and farms exploring the rally theme of rural entrepreneurship.

"During the week-long rally, each team was asked to dress up in their national dress and bring local produce to display for other to sample on the international buffet evening. Team members also had the opportunity to go on a homestay for a night with a Swedish family, while team leaders attended the general assembly of Rural Youth Europe.

"The experience of being involved in such a unique opportunity will be remembered by Team England for a lifetime. We recommend that you apply for the 2011 rally, which will be hosted in Slovenia," she said.

Pictured: Lydia Cox (Somerset) Claire Worden (Cornwall) Bob Dronfield (Derbyshire) Milly Wastie (Northamptonshire) Harriet Wilson (Staffordshire)

09 August 2010

Help Defra find ways to simplify farming regulations and help the Government to cut costs by sending your ideas to the Defra Taskforce on Farming Regulation.

The agricultural industry has been asked to give its feedback on this consultation, which is being led by former NFU director general Richard Macdonald.

Better Regulation was one of the subjects discussed at the 2009 NFYFC agriculture & rural affairs forum in Blackpool with representatives from Defra and the Environment Agency and outcomes were shared with industry and policy makers.

If you would like to respond to this request, please duplicate your feedback to the taskforce to NFYFC as well by emailing Sarah Palmer, so that we can capture your concerns in future consultation responses.

Find out more by visiting the Defra website.

06 August 2010

Carl Mills, Farm Animal Business Head of Marketing for Novartis Animal Health UK, Dy Webb, Communications Manager for The National Sheep Association, Alex Mackellar, NFYFC ope
Staffordshire YFC’s Alex Mackellar will be heading to New Zealand in October to study sheep farming methods after winning NFYFC’s Novartis travel scholarship.
Competition for the £1,500 travel bursary launched at this year’s convention in Torquay was fierce, and judges from Novartis, the National Sheep Association and NFYFC were forced to shortlist four entries rather than three.
“I was shocked to win but absolutely over the moon,” says Alex, who works on the family’s sheep and arable farm.
“This is the first scholarship I’ve tried for and it is a fantastic opportunity of a lifetime. We have 600 sheep and I can really gain something from this three-week trip, not just go somewhere different but learn something new that I am going to use in my work.”
Alex will be travelling to different station farms to learn about parasite control and resistance trials and will be writing a report and blogging for the Novartis website as part of the scholarship.
NFYFC CEO Diane Calvert says: “The competition for the scholarship was close fought, all the entrants were of very high calibre and really keen to broaden their experience and knowledge so a huge well done to all of them.
“Alex was outstanding, a worthy winner who demonstrated a real passion for sheep farming and a determination to learn as much as possible from New Zealand. We hope she has a fantastic trip.”
“This scholarship encourages new and much-needed young blood into the sheep industry, while at the same time providing an opportunity for all UK sheep producers to learn more about how they can better control parasites on farm,” added Novartis Animal Health’s James Crawford.
“We felt that Alex has the understanding, drive and determination to pull together all the relevant information during her three-week trip, as well as the passion and communication skills to be able to share it with UK producers and others working in the industry, both during her trip and when she returns,” said scholarship award judge, the National Sheep Association’s Dy Webb.  

05 August 2010

NFYFC agriculture & rural affairs chairwoman Katherine Sealy is urging YFC members to learn more about the House of Lords consultation on Innovation in EU Agriculture, and join the Farmers Weekly discussion about careers in agriculture for women.

The inquiry has been launched by the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Farming and invites contributions from across the agricultural, food production, retail, environmental and research sectors.

The aim is to identify how innovation in EU agriculture can be best supported, particularly at a time when factors such as population increase and climate change have greatly impacted the scale of the challenges facing agriculture in the UK, Europe and globally.

The committee will be considering how far agriculture is innovating today; what the obstacles to innovation are; what challenges are likely to drive innovation in the future; the key players and structures needed to support innovation in EU agriculture; how the Common Agricultural Policy and EU Research Programme can help to resolve the issues identified.

Says Katherine: “This is a great opportunity to learn more. You can watch the committee’s chairman, Lord Carter of Coles, explaining the consultation in this video and learn more via the committee’s webpage.”

“There is also an interesting discussion about career options for women in agriculture on the Farmers Weekly online forums this week,” adds Katherine.


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