National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

11 June 2013


Young farmers from the West and East Midlands learnt life-saving driving skills at the weekend when professional racing drivers joined them behind the wheel on the skid pan and rural roads.

The event at the Prodrive Centre in Kenilworth, was part of Drive it Home campaign and gave members a chance to take their own vehicles out on the track to experience difficult driving conditions.

The course was funded by NFU Mutual and members got to private tuition from professional drivers who advised them on what to do to escape or correct difficulties, including:

•    Learning how to react to/control major skids
•    Experiencing wet/icy condition simulations
•    Receiving expert advice on rural driving
•    Learning about key motor maintenance

Young Farmers from counties across the midlands, including: Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire Leicestershire and Northampton took part.

Tom Evans, 17, from Leamington Hastings YFC only passed his test a month ago but said the skid pan experience was a real surprise.

“The driver explained to me how to control the car and that was really good because if I’d done that on a real road I wouldn’t really know what to do to control the car. I did an 180 degree turn and it’s quite a shock when you first do it as I didn’t know how to react. And that was in a controlled situation with an instructor – not out on my own at night.”

Ben Smalley (left), 24, from Wythall YFC has been driving since he was 17 years old but said going out on the rural roads with a professional racing driver had taught him a few things.

“I did wonder if I’d learn anything but I got good tips on road placement. I learnt how I should be sticking to the outside of bends when going in one direction and the inside for the other. It was pretty useful to stop myself thinking about being in a racing line all the time!

“I had a lot of respect for the racing drivers, you can have a good laugh with them and they were really good instructors. I think I’ll drive home differently.”

For Aimee Mahony, from Market Bosworth YFC, it was a chance to learn how to tackle a skid situation – something she had experienced for real three years earlier.

“I was a bit nervous before I went on the skid pan because it replicated an accident I’d had on ice. In the accident, I slammed my foot on the brake and span off the road. On the course the instructor told me to put my foot on the accelerator and I thought he was crazy! But doing it with someone next to me made me feel safer – and it worked!”

Aimee (right) has to travel on a lot of rural roads for her job as an auditor of free range poultry farms and recommends coming on the course.

“Even if you only learn one or two little things they’re valuable for you to take and put into practice.”
Farmers Weekly came down to cover the event and ITV Central News also filmed members taking part in the activities.

To see more photos from the event, click here.

The next event is in the South West at Dunkeswell Airfield in Honiton. To book a place, contact or call 02476 857227.

07 June 2013

Television presenter and farmer Jimmy Doherty is backing the Drive it Home campaign and has invited YFC members to his Suffolk farm on Sunday 16 June to take part in the YFC Brake 2young2die course. 

The course, which is free thanks to funding from NFU Mutual and the Rural Youth Trust, is one of seven special Brake YFC courses that are running throughout the UK at different locations. The first one was at Adam’s Cotswold Farm Park in April. 

Jimmy, who is most famous for his Channel 4 show Jimmy’s Farm, kindly offered space on his farm for the course and members will even get to enjoy lunch from the Field Kitchen. 

Jimmy said: "As someone who lives, works and drives in the countryside, I am very supportive of NFYFC's Drive it Home campaign to educate young people on the dangers of rural roads. I would urge young farmers to get involved, learn how to keep safe and teach others to do the same."

The course runs from 11am until 4pm and will equip members with all they need to know to run their own 2young2die training courses back in their clubs. NFYFC wants to create a team of Drive it Home champions throughout the Federation’s 46 counties in England and Wales and 25 are set to become champions in Suffolk. 

The course is particularly relevant in the county after a recent Road Safety Analysis study, produced in support of The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ Drive it Home campaign, highlighted that in Suffolk there is an average of 301 young drivers from rural areas who are involved in injury collisions each year. The figures show one in 97 young rural drivers in Suffolk are involved in injury collisions each year. 

Young rural drivers across England and Wales are nearly twice (44%) as likely to be involved in a collision compared to young urban drivers.

For more information about the Brake courses and to find your nearest one, click here.

For more information and to book your place, contact Christina Evans or call 02476 857227. Only a few spaces are left on the course so book quickly to avoid disappointment.

06 June 2013

NFYFC has teamed up with the British Grassland Society (BGS) to bring YFC members a new competition and training in grassland management – Grass Farming for the Future.

The Defra supported competition aims to teach young farmers how to make the most of a cheap and nutritious livestock feed and also involves a free day’s training and lunch at the dairy farm of shropshire farmer Tim Downes on 19th September.

Following the training, teams of two competitors will be given a brief to turn around the fortunes of a struggling dairy farm, completing a 2,000 word report outlining their recommendations.Winners will receive a trophy and a scholarship to a grasslands conference thanks to the BGS.

BGS technical project manager Louise Davison, who has been working with NFYFC to devise the competition said:

“This competition sets out to open young people’s eyes and minds to the potential of grass - particularly when bought-in feed prices are so high. We also want to improve the knowledge of the next generation, and show them that grassland farming can be a profitable and sustainable method of livestock production.”

Russell Carrington, Vice-Chairman of NFYFC’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee added:

"It is really great to be working with BGS and Natural England to develop this competition which will be so valuable for young farmers to up-skill in an increasingly important area of production."

To register for a space on the free training day email

Find out more about the British Grasslands Society and Natural England.

05 June 2013



Three YFC members joined young people from across Europe last week to take part in the Rural Youth Europe and Youth Express Network Seminar in Strasbourg, France.

Toby France, from Warwickshire FYFC, Gareth Laking from Lincolnshire FYFC and Nicola Chegwidden from Cornwall FYFC all took part in the seminar, which looked at how to close the gap between rural and urban young people.

The trip was part of NFYFC’s Discovery programme which offers unique travel opportunities for YFC members, including seminars, homestays and working holidays.

Toby says the trip was a great way to meet new people:

“There was a real mix of people . There were 40 of us from 20 countries including Wales, Scotland and Ireland, Finland and Sweden, Poland and Romania, Croatia, Belarus and Azerbaijan!”

The travellers met with representatives from the Council of Europe to discuss how they support youth and social inclusion projects. They also visited local community organisations, from a hostel for homeless people to a project which supports children and teenagers in the poorest inner-city areas.

Toby is also NFYFC’s Personal Development Chairman and believes the seminar will help him in his new role:

“We talked about our attitudes to coaching the young people we work with, which for us meant thinking about how Club, County and National officers support our members in YFC.”

Gareth Laking NFYFC's Communications, Events and Marketing Steering Group Chairman who was selected as a trainer for the seminar added:

"It was a great opportunity to be part of the team and something which I am hugely thankful to Rural Youth Europe for. I learnt so much working with several different organisations who are either members of Rural Youth Europe or the Youth Express Network. I feel that this experience will help to ensure the success of the Autumn Seminar which NFYFC are hosting later in the year at Malvern."

If you are a YFC member and interested in applying for the NFYFC Discovery programme, all of the details for the 2014 trips including how to apply will be available from September.


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