National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

23 September 2013

YFC members were learning from the experts this week at a brand new training day in grassland management run by NFYFC and the British Grasslands Society (BGS).

Grass Farming for the Future is a new initiative, supported by Defra, which aims to teach Young Farmers how to make the most of a cheap and nutritious livestock feed. Members visited the farm of Shropshire farmer Tim Downes and learnt about grassland and soil management before taking a tour around his dairy farm.

One YFC member who attended the event said:

“It was a really interesting day and great to have a technical and agricultural based event for Young Farmers.”

As well as the training day, members can also take part in a competition to win a scholarship to a grasslands conference, thanks to BGS. Teams of two will need to complete a report on how they would turn around the fortunes of a struggling dairy farm.

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.”

20 September 2013

Bookings are coming in fast for the last ever NFYFC driving course for members to learn how to control their vehicles in a skid situation and get expert training on rural roads.

The Drive Doctors course, which has been heavily subsidised by NFU Mutual as part of its support of the Drive it Home campaign, only costs £10 for members and is being held at Finmere Aerodrome in Milton Keynes on Sunday 13 October.

So far around 80 members have taken part in these specialist driving courses that have been held in Kenilworth and Honiton and feedback has shown that 95% of participants said the course had made them think differently about the way they drive.

In the same survey, 95% of participants also said they felt more confident about knowing what to do if they were involved in a skid situation.

The course, which is taught by professional racing drivers from the Drive Doctors company, is aimed at young drivers who live and work in rural areas and includes:
•    Learning how to react to/control major skids
•    Experiencing wet/icy condition simulations
•    Receiving expert advice on rural driving
•    Learning about key motor maintenance

Tom Evans took part in the course at the Kenilworth Prodrive centre in June and was surprised by his experience on the skid pan.

“I did just over a 180 degree turn. It’s quite a shock when you first do it and I didn’t know how to react. And that was in a controlled situation with someone – not on my own at night. The driver explained how to control the car and that was really good because if i;d done that on the road I wouldn’t have know what to do," said Tom.

The course runs in two sessions (morning and afternoon) with a total of 36 spaces available at £10. Members are already booking on the course and places are being given on a first come, first served basis. Please book by 4th October to secure a place. Contact Christina Evans or call 02476 857227.

For more information, visit our Drive Doctors page and the campaign area of the site.

Watch this video to see members experiencing the course in Kenilworth.

19 September 2013


Young farmers from across the East Midlands attended a Brake 2young2die road safety session at Newark Showground at the weekend as part of the Drive it Home campaign.

The course was particularly important for members attending from Lincolnshire, which is one of the most dangerous regions for young rural drivers. A recent study, produced as part of the campaign, highlighted that in Lincolnshire there is an average of 396 young drivers from rural areas who are involved in injury collisions each year – 34% above the national average.

Sophie Potter from Lincolnshire FYFC attended the course:

"I thought the course was really good - there was loads of information and facts to take away to other members. I feel as though I would be able to run my own road safety sessions and I'm actually booked to deliver one to my Club in January."

The course is part of NFYFC’s aim to create a team of Drive it Home champions throughout the Federation’s 46 counties in England and Wales. After the course, members are encouraged to go back to their clubs and champion a road safety event.

The sessions are free thanks to funding from NFU Mutual and the Rural Youth Trust and are aimed at changing attitudes to driving. 

This course is one of seven that Brake is running for YFC members and NFYFC has chosen locations in each Area of the national Federation to give all members opportunity to take part. The campaign also includes practical driving sessions with a company called Drive Doctors and places on these courses have also been subsidised by NFU Mutual.

Find out how you can book on a Brake 2young2die course or a Drive Doctors driving course.

11 September 2013


Youthwork Officer Jodie Green will begin her maternity leave this Friday but her replacement is no stranger to Young Farmers.

Cath Sykes, a former Gloucestershire FYFC member, started as NFYFC’s Youthwork Officer in 2003 but left the organisation in 2011 to concentrate on being a full time mum. Four years ago, Jodie covered for Cath while she was on maternity leave and then stayed with the Federation.

Now Cath has returned again and this time it will be to help out her former youthwork partner while she is on maternity leave! Cath said:

“It’s really lovely to be back. So much has changed here in the NFYFC office but in many ways Young Farmers is still the same! Luckily Jodie and I are working together this week so I am getting a complete handover of all the current projects. It’s great to be back and I’m looking forward to seeing some old faces as well as meeting lots of new members.”

Cath has worked in youthwork since she left university in 1997 and while previously at NFYFC she helped to develop The Source for clubs as well as implement the Safeguarding Policy and other guidelines that protect members.

Jodie is on maternity leave from Friday 13 September and the NFYFC team held a coffee morning to say goodbye and to raise money for Macmillan Cancer. Jodie said:

“I’m really going to miss all the members and county staff that I have worked with in this role over the past four years. I wish everyone success for this forthcoming membership year and I will see you all again soon.”

10 September 2013

Young farmers from across the East and West Midlands can take part in two Brake 2young2die road safety sessions in September as part of the Drive it Home campaign.

The sessions are free, thanks to funding from NFU Mutual and the Rural Youth Trust, and both will equip members with all they need to know to run their own 2young2die training courses back in their clubs.

Members from the East Midlands are invited to attend the 2young2die session on 14 September at Newark County Showground and the West Midlands course will be held on 21 September at Staffordshire County Showground. The free interactive sessions run from 11am until 4pm and include lunch and refreshments.

The course is particularly relevant in Nottinghamshire after a recent study produced in support of NFYFC’s Drive it Home campaign, highlighted that in Nottinghamshire there is an average of 215 young drivers from rural areas who are involved in injury collisions each year. The figures show one in 105 young rural drivers in Nottinghamshire is involved in an injury collision 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.

NFYFC’s National Chairman of Council Milly Wastie is also attending the session in Newark and said:

“It’s great that we’re hosting a Brake 2young2die course in the East Midlands as two locations from this Area are in the top three of places that are above the national average for injury collisions by young rural drivers. The course is really interactive but makes you think twice about the way you drive. These courses are free for members because of the funding we have received, so make the most of the opportunity and book on a course.”

The Drive it Home campaign aims to reduce the number of incidents involving young drivers. NFYFC is creating a team of Drive it Home champions throughout the Federation’s 46 counties in England and Wales and 50 more will become champions in the East and West Midlands.

This course is one of seven that Brake is running for YFC members and NFYFC has chosen locations in each Area of the national Federation to give all members opportunity to take part.

The campaign also includes practical driving sessions with a company called Drive Doctors and places on these courses have also been subsidised by NFU Mutual.

To book on a Brake course, email or call 02476 857200. For more information about the course click here..

10 September 2013


Young Farmers highlighted the importance of farm safety this weekend at the finals of the NFYFC Efficiency with Safety competition.

Agriculture has one of the worst safety records of any industry, employing 1.5% of the total workforce, but accounting for 20% of fatalities. This competition, which is supported by Defra, challenges YFC members to demonstrate their skills in machinery maintenance and use, whilst ensuring safety.

This year competitors were asked to carry out safety checks and complete tasks on round bale wrappers and ATVs; both highlighted by the Health and Safety Executive as being particularly dangerous pieces of farm machinery. During the competition, a mock accident was also set up and competitors were required to perform basic first aid.

The team from Pembrokeshire FYFC were the eventual winners of the competition and Kathryn Hutchinson from Wiltshire FYFC was awarded the ATV handler trophy.

John Gough, an Engineering Trainer at Wolford and North Shropshire College, was one of the competition judges:

"This competition is a very important part of the calendar of NFYFC events as it highlights to the young members who get involved and compete that safety must be an integral part of any efficient practice.  All teams who took part in the competition will doubtless have come away at the end with increased knowledge and understanding of what is safe practice and will be able to take that knowledge back into their place of work to share with others."

The Efficiency with Safety competition was part of a whole weekend of national competition finals taking place at Harper Adams University. The Farm Skills weekend showcased a number of agricultural competitions synonymous with NFYFC, including Stockman of the Year, Young Stockman of the Year and Fence Erecting.

For the second year in a row Rhian Lewis from Glamorgan FYFC took the Young Stockman of the Year trophy, whilst Rhys Beynon-Thomas from Gloucestershire FYFC was crowned Senior Stockman of the Year. As well as judging beef, sheep, pigs and dairy, senior competitors were also asked to complete a project on stock management and were assessed on their animal health and husbandry skills.

In the Fence Erecting competition, Shropshire FYFC came out on top, with the team from Herefordshire FYFC in second place and Montgomery FYFC in third.

Click here for the full competition results and visit out Facebook page for pictures from the weekend.


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