National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

20 August 2013

 

An NFYFC member will represent the UK and Ireland as part of Rural Youth Europe (RYE) following recent elections in Ireland.

Russell Carrington has taken over the position from Gwennan Davies from Wales and joins five other European Board members who represent other regions in Europe. See the full line up here.

Russell, whose position lasts for two years, said: “Gwennan has done a great job and is a hard act to follow but I look forward to contributing to this great organisation and representing the five nations to the best of my ability.”

RYE is a member-led, European Non-Government Organisation that works to promote and activate young people in the countryside.  Russell was elected at the General Assembly in Gurteen, Ireland this month and was accompanied by Milly Wastie and other members who took part in the RYE Rally.

Russell plans to visit all of the five nations over the next 12 months and will meet with other European group representatives. He said:

“I would like to raise the profile of Rural Youth Europe within England and our neighbouring countries and highlight the opportunities it offers for us to learn from each other.  I have been lucky enough to travel on several RYE trips and gain a great deal so am keen to now give something back so that others can also benefit.”

NFYFC is hosting this year’s RYE Autumn Seminar in Malvern, Worcestershire, which you can read more about here.

For more information about RYE – email  Russell Carrington or click here to visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.


15 August 2013

An opportunity to learn more about agro-ecological farming and to meet the Prince of Wales proved to be a real eye-opener for YFC member Russell Carrington.

Russell, who is Vice Chair of the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, attended the Prince of Wales Food and Farming Summer School as an NFYFC representative. Held at the Organic Research centre in Berkshire, the three-day event included workshops and visits to three different farms, and ended at Highgrove for a group discussion with The Prince of Wales.

The Summer School was aimed at exploring the role of organic and agro-ecological farming as a means of being smarter about how to use nature to our advantage. A diverse mix of people attended the course – including farmers, food policy makers, government officials, university lecturers, scientists and representatives from NGOs.

The three farm visits included a tour of Chief Executive of the Soil Association Helen Browning’s 500 hectare farm. Her farm produce supplies the local pub that she also owns.

Russell (pictured right with the Price of Wales) was impressed with the operation and said: “There were several enterprises on Helen’s farm and the block rearing of free-range pork and her successful rearing of dairy calves using nurse cows was fascinating.”

The two other farms included one that was experimenting with different tillage systems for establishing their arable crops and the Duchy Home Farm in Gloucestershire to view its dairy herd, specialist arable cropping for flour production and agro-forestry trials which are integrating fruit and vegetable production.

Russell said: “All three visits were eye-opening and showed just what can be achieved by taking a fresh look at food production in the context of sustainability in its true sense. The opportunities for networking were also great and many people wanted to hear about the perspective of young farmers.”

Russell’s experience was topped off by a visit to Highgrove to meet the Prince of Wales to discuss what they had learnt during the week and to hear about everyone’s projects and initiatives.

“The Prince clearly has a deep knowledge of agriculture and we were able to discuss solutions to overcome the challenges of the future in great detail,” said Russell. “He is right behind a sustainable future for British agriculture and horticulture, hence his commitment to run this three-day course to bring together the latest thinking and distribute ideas to the participants and beyond,” said Russell.

The opportunity to send a member to this event was greatly appreciated by the Federation and it welcomes more opportunities so more members can benefit from these experiences.

If you would like to be considered for similar opportunities please contact ARAC Officer Jo Wyles.


13 August 2013


According to a recent NFYFC survey, 88% of respondents like the new YFC Buzz and two thirds read every issue of Ten26.

The communications survey was launched earlier this year to gather the views of members on the ways NFYFC talks to its members. Hundreds completed the online survey and rated the Federation’s current publications and online channels.

The survey also revealed the kind of content members would like to read in the YFC Buzz and Ten26. News about NFYFC events and projects came out top for both publications: 84% for YFC Buzz and 67% for the magazine.

There was a positive response to the new design of Ten26: 78% liked it, and 77% share the magazine with parents or siblings. Two thirds of respondents said they spend around 15 minutes reading the magazine every issue.

Email was named as the best way for NFYFC to keep members informed (88%) of NFYFC events and activities with social media coming in second (54%).

While there was a lot of support for online communication and praise for Twitter and Facebook, many members still requested printed materials due to the lack of broadband in rural areas.

In response to members saying they would like to see news about Annual Convention as soon as possible after the event in Ten26 – NFYFC sent out a special issue in June.

Other improvements to communications suggested by members included:

•    More information about upcoming events, possibly highlighted in separate emails to YFC Buzz
•    Linking social media posts with County Facebook pages
•    Increasing the frequency of Ten26
•    More involvement from members in the communications

The survey was discussed in the Communications, Events and Marketing (CEM) Steering Group and the members are using the feedback to help guide their thoughts on future communications.

Gareth Laking, Chairman of CEM, Lincolnshire FYFC, said: “It was great to see so many members responding to the survey and it will really help us to shape future communications. It was good to see that we’re doing a lot of things right at the moment as well as getting ideas on how we can make communications even better. Many thanks to everyone who took part.”

To encourage members to complete the survey, a NFYFC Goody Bag was on offer to one lucky winner. Charlotte Cookson from Wales bagged the goodies and said: “I think it's really important for NFYFC to have good communication with members because that way we won't miss out on what's going on!”



07 August 2013


Thanks to sponsorship from Nestle and encouragement from IFMA president John Alliston, NFYFC Chairman Milly Wastie has been learning more about agriculture on a global scale after being invited to attend a five day conference in Poland.

The conference was held by the International Farm Management Association and hosted farmers, agricultural students, consultants and academics from over 40 countries. The attendees all had a common interest in learning more about and experiencing different farming techniques as well as how counties vary in their approach to agriculture.

During the week Milly and the rest of the attendees went on a number of field trips including visiting a peppermint farm, a salad grower and a sweetcorn canning factory.

The conference also included farmers and academics sharing their own research and personal experience of various elements of the agricultural industry in countries such as New Zealand, Poland and Argentina.

Milly said:

“Before I was asked to attend I had not heard of the IFMA conference, but now having been on this trip I really want to promote it more widely.  It was a fantastic week and I learnt a lot, particularly on the excellent field trips. It became clear that Poland is a rapidly growing country and agriculture seemed to be diverse and healthy with lots of enterprises wanting to expand.”



06 August 2013


#image#The crowds turned out in their hundreds this weekend for the hotly contested National finals of the NFYFC Tug of War competition.

Over 300 Young Farmers took part in the finals which were held at the Tenbury Countryside Show in Worcestershire – the perfect location for the eventual winners of the Ladies Tug of War competition, local girls Tenbury Wells YFC.

The ladies team, who beat last year’s champions Derbyshire FYFC to the title, have been practicing for around four hours a week as well as swimming, running and cycling. They also compete in the Welsh Tug of War league and will be representing Wales in the National Finals next weekend.

Team member Nicola Yarnold said:

“We are all so proud and happy that we have become National champions and that all the hard work and training has paid off! It is a great achievement to put Worcestershire Young Farmers and Tenbury Wells Young Farmers’ Club in particular on the map.”

In the men’s competition it was Staffordshire FYFC, runners up in last year’s competition, who clinched the title in a thrilling final against Lancashire FYFC.

This year was also the first time NFYFC have run a Tug of War competition for its younger members, with a mixed competition for members aged 12-17. This time Lancashire FYFC proved their strength, beating Leicestershire FYFC in the grand final.

The ladies, mens and mixed under 17 finals all took place in the show’s Grand Ring, drawing hundreds of spectators and supporters.

Download the full Tug of War competition results here.



05 August 2013


NFYFC has joined forces with The Farming Community Network (FCN) to help raise awareness of mental health issues and the support available to rural communities.

A new survey has been launched for YFC members to find out more about their attitudes to mental health as well as the issues that cause them to feel stressed and under pressure. The results of this survey will help FCN and NFYFC understand more about the type of support young people in rural communities need.

Around one in four people will be affected by mental health issues at some point in their lives, and farmers in particular are classed as being at a high risk of experiencing problems. Financial pressures, livestock disease and poor harvests are often highlighted as particular difficulties for the agricultural community, alongside issues such as rural isolation.
 
NFYFC’s Vice Chairman of Council, Claire Worden, said:

“Given the current climate many of our members will be concerned about their future within the agricultural industry and could be feeling the pressure to make some big life decisions. Perhaps they are worrying about taking over the family farm and the responsibilities this entails, or concerned about the rising costs of feed, land or rural housing."

“There are so many factors that can lead to stress, and we are working with FCN to raise awareness of the support and guidance that is available and to encourage young people to seek help before the problem escalates.”

Charles Smith, FCN’s Chief Executive  added:

“Over recent months, we have noticed a gradual increase in the number of calls to our helpline from younger people, so we are eager to understand more about the particular issues facing young people in the countryside, so that we are better able to support them.”

To take part in the survey visit www.nfyfc.org.uk/youthwork. By taking part in the survey you will also be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to Go Ape.






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