National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

17 October 2013

While clubs across England and Wales are enjoying harvest suppers, Young Farmers were also represented at a special service to Celebrate the Harvest at Westminster Abbey.

NFYFC’s Chairman of Council Milly Wastie gave a moving reflection on farming at the service, where actor Martin Clunes and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall were also present.

The service was held as part of British Food Fortnight's campaign to rekindle the tradition of celebrating the Harvest.

Milly (pictured below with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall) said: “I was truly honoured to be part of the Love British Food Celebrate the Harvest service. I had the most fantastic time reading at Westminster Abbey and representing NFYFC. I met Martin Clunes, Dave Myers and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. It was an amazing experience and a highlight of my year that I shall never forget.”

Martin Clunes, television's Doc Martin, read from St Matthew 6, verses 25-33.  Martin is a passionate advocate of the countryside and owns a farm in West Dorset from where he runs Buckham Fair, a traditional countryside fair. 

Damian Lewis, the actor most well-known for his Golden Globe and Emmy winning role as Nicholas Brody in the television drama Homeland, read a new harvest poem that was written especially for the service by the BBC and Channel 4 sports poet, Henry Birtles. 

The Bishop of London, The Right Reverend Dr Richard Chartres, gave a special address.  The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson MP, read from Deuteronomy 8, verses 7-18. 

The winner of British Food Fortnight's competition to find a new harvest anthem - a modern day ‘We plough the fields and scatter’ - also attended the service.Bryony Muir, a member of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs, was chosen as the winner for her song ‘Harvest Time’.

The song is a light-hearted account of farmer Bryony dreaming of harvest in Canada, Texas and France, but then concluding that she is thankful for the advantages of farming right where she is “I think I'll stay a farmer in this green and pleasant land”.

The Nave of the Abbey was filled with harvest boxes of goodies children had grown and cooked themselves.  All the produce was collected from the Abbey by the Fullers dray horses and distributed to those in need by the Royal Voluntary Service.

16 October 2013

Torrential rain provided challenging conditions for the last 2013 YFC driving course, where members’ driving skills were put to the ultimate test by pro racing drivers in Buckingham.

As the rain lashed down, members took their cars out on a circuit at Finmere Aerodrome with experienced racing drivers who passed on advice about speed, road positioning and handling skid situations.

The course was funded by NFU Mutual as part of the NFYFC’s Drive it Home campaign. Members only had to pay £10 (RRP £99) for expert tuition on rural roads, car maintenance advice and sessions on a skid pan activity course with a tutor from Drive Doctors.

For Hannah Alexander from Aylesbury YFC in Buckinghamshire, it was a chance to learn some essential skills after crashing her car last winter.

“My car slipped on the ice, went through a garden and hit a telegraph pole. The car was a gonna but luckily I just hit my head,” said Hannah who’s mum encouraged her to come on the course. “It was good to know an instructor was there telling me what to do on the skid pan. It surprised me what he said as it was the opposite of what I wanted to do. When I had my crash, I hit the brake – which was the worst action to take. Today has definitely been worth it. ”

Hannah was joined by her club leader Tom Mason and Chairman Amanda Parker who both wanted to enhance their driving skills. (Pictured left, Amanda, Tom and Hannah)

Amanda said: “We drive a lot of the juniors around with us so we like to be as safe as we can. If other members realised how much fun this is, they would have come. I think people thought it was more talking and less driving but it’s not.  It was exciting.”

Angharad Evans and her brother Daniel travelled to the course from Glamorgan YFC in Wales after hearing good feedback about the other courses.

“When the car started skidding, I would never have thought to bring it back round, I would have just let it go. It has made me think twice. I would come on it again and I would encourage people from my county to have a go,” said Anghared.

The YFC driving course was the last one to be funded by NFU Mutual but if counties want to arrange a course in their local area, they can contact Drive Doctors direct to make arrangements. 

The taster courses are priced at £99 per person but requirements should be discussed with the Drive Doctors team. 

15 October 2013


Young entrepreneurs are learning top business tips in Malvern this week at the Rural Youth Europe (RYE) Autumn Seminar, hosted by NFYFC.

Forty young people from across Europe are taking part in the week-long event at the Malvern Outdoor Elements centre, and so far they’ve learnt how to create business plans, launch a social media campaign, and folk dance!

The seminar has been planned and organised by a team of YFC members as part of RYE's annual programme of seminars and rallies held across Europe for rural young people. NFYFC was awarded the funding for the seminar by the EU’s Youth in Action programme, managed in the UK by the British Council.

Anja Fortnuna, 19, from Slovenia is one of the young people taking part:

“I’ve wanted to visit England my whole life so I’m so excited to be here. I live in a village in Slovenia and my parents run their own restaurant and farm business. I want to run my own business and have the freedom to decide where I work and when.”

After getting to know each other with some team building games and an international buffet on Sunday, the participants began the week by looking at what makes the perfect entrepreneur. They profiled famous entrepreneurs, such as Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey and examined the traits that made them successful.

They then began to look at creating their own business plans, with a workshop run by NFYFC Life-Vice President Chris Lloyd. The group were also joined by Simon Crouch and Georgina Robinson from NatWest who are both specialists in business start-up and planning.

This was followed by a session on how to make social media work for your business, with some top tips from social media expert and CEO of SocialB,  Lynsey Sweales.

Karl Hockenhull, from Staffordshire FYFC, took part in the workshop:

“I’d like to start my own business in the future, perhaps a farms shop so I think this week is really going to help me with that. The social media workshop was great I really learnt a lot today.  I never knew how much social media can help your business even when you are just starting up.”

The RYE Autumn Seminar continues throughout this week with visits to local businesses and farms, presentations from successful entrepreneurs as well as evening activities. Each participant is writing a blog about their week, and you can find the link to all of these blogs by visiting Chairman of the Autumn Seminar, Claire Worden's, blog.

You can also follow all of the activity from the seminar on twitter using the hashtag #ryeas2013 and see pictures from the week so far on the NFYFC Facebook page.

Disclaimer: The content of this press release is the sole responsibility of the publisher and the European Commission is not liable for any use that may be made of the information.

About Youth in Action
Youth in Action enables young people to:
•    learn skills which will help them to get a job
•    explore other societies and cultures in a safe and supported environment
•    develop international friendships based on learning and collaborating together
•    learn more about  the countries of Europe and its neighbourhood
•    learn how to contribute to shaping society’s future
•    participate free of charge in its programmes regardless of their educational, social, and cultural background
•    put into practice their ideas on how to make their communities safer, more harmonious, and better places to live
Programmes range from group exchanges and community improvement projects run by young people themselves to individual voluntary service. The Youth in Action programme (2007-2013) is funded by the European Union. The British Council is the UK's National Agency for the Programme. For more information on Youth in Action go to

About the British Council
The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes. We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of nearly £700 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%. We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.
For more information, please visit: or call our Press Office on +44 (0)20 7389 4268. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and

11 October 2013


YFC members from across Wales travelled to Cardiff to attend the Wales YFC Freshers weekend and AGM at the Millennium Stadium.

The weekend hosted a Business Breakfast, the Annual General Meeting and Wales YFC sub-committee and Council meetings at the Stadium and was also an opportunity to celebrate the start of the new YFC year.

The business breakfast was hosted by the Wales YFC Rural Affairs Committee and the Business Group. Guest speakers for the event were Brian Jones, Managing Director of Castell Howell and Steve Garrett, Founding Director of Riverside Farmers Market, Cardiff. Brian Jones shared his experiences within the food industry and gave advice to audience members on how to start their own business. Steve Garrett, who is a local food activist and consultant, expressed the importance of buying local produce. Both agreed that YFC serves an important part in the future of their industries.

During the AGM the winners of numerous awards were announced. Members from the Ceredigion Federation had reason to celebrate after winning the Western Mail Trophy for scoring the highest number of points in all Wales YFC programmes of work throughout the year.

The Pembrokeshire Federation took home the Beynon Thomas trophy for the highest points scored by the junior members in Wales YFC programmes of work.

The NFU Cymru trophy for the county with the largest increase in membership was awarded to the Ynys Môn Federation. An IPad Mini was also presented to lucky YFC member Gwenno Nefydd from Meirionnydd who won the JCP Rural Practice Team Social Media Competition.

Members also elected a number of officials for the forthcoming year at the meeting with Nigel Owens re-elected as the Wales YFC president, Kate Miles of Neath & District YFC, Glamorgan was elected as Chairman (pictured) and Iwan Williams, former member of Ardudwy YFC, Meirionnydd was nominated and elected as the vice-chairman for the forthcoming year. He fought off stiff competition from Martin Roberts, Ynys Môn and Emyr Lloyd, Ceredigion.

A cheque for £25,498.22 was also presented to British Heart Foundation: Cymru, Wales YFC’s 2012/13 Charity of the Year by the retiring Chairman, Gwenno Griffith. 

At the sub-committee and council meeting members discussed their programmes of work for the forthcoming year. Following a committee re-structure, eight new sub-committee Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen were elected to take charge of Wales YFC’s committees for the forthcoming year.

10 October 2013

Suggested measures to improve young driver safety could include night time driving curfews and a ban for novice drivers on carrying passengers under 30 years old.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published a report it commissioned from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) that shows the urgent need to tackle young driver safety.

The report 'Novice drivers: Evidence Review and Evaluation’ suggests that implementing a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, similar to those in other countries, could result in thousands fewer casualties and save up to £447 million per year.

According to the research, there could be almost 9000 fewer deaths and serious injuries on UK roads every year if changes were made to the way young people learn to drive.

The research recommends the GDL include the following:

  • A 12-month learner stage, beginning at age 17 ( requirement for at least 100 hours of daytime and 20 hours of night time supervised practice, with mandatory log book)
  • After passing driving tests, there would be a 12 month probationary licence from the age of 18 – during this period, drivers would need to display a green P plate.
  • During the 12 month probation, drivers will be subject to a night time driving curfew between 10pm and 5am, unless accompanied by a passenger aged over 30.
  • Novice drivers under 30 years old would also be banned from carrying passengers under 30 years old.

While the NFYFC supports the introduction of a Graduated Driver Licence, NFYFC Chairman Milly Wastie recently met with the Road Safety Minister and the Department for Transport to highlight how the restrictions would impact on rural young people. Milly was invited to talk about the issues after working on NFYFC’s Drive it Home campaign.

Members working in agriculture could be affected by the curfew – especially during peak seasons when working late nights and early mornings on farms is compulsory. For example, dairy farmers have to be at work from 4am or 5am all year round.

Milly Wastie, National Chairman of Council for NFYFC, said:

“While we support the introduction of measures such as a Graduated Driver Licence, we ask that in the preparation of the Green paper into young driver safety, consideration is given to young people living in isolated rural areas.

“Due to a lack of public transport, rural young people rely on a car to get to their place of education or work. For those with jobs in agriculture, especially during peak seasons such as harvest, they may often be required to work outside of the suggested curfew times of 10pm-5am. 

“With youth unemployment already at an all time low, we ask Government and local communities to ensure that our rural youth are not unfairly penalised by these new measures and that solutions are found for safe, night time transportation.”

The Government's research backs up the findings of research carried out by Road Safety Analysis earlier this year in support of the Drive it Home campaign.

To read a summary of the latest TRL research and recommendations click here.

What do you think about the proposed changes? Let us know your views – email

02 October 2013

A respected figure in the world of professional floristry claims Young Farmers are flying the flag for competitions in Floral Arts after more than 100 people entered an event at this year’s Malvern Autumn Show.

Lynda Owen, author of three books on flower arranging and an award-winning florist, judged the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ Floral Arts competition on Sunday 29 September with two other judges. All three were “blown away” by the standard of entries from Young Farmers at this year’s show.

Lynda said: “We judge professional florists and some of this is equal to professional floristry. Every year seems to get better and the juniors are absolutely fabulous. Young Farmers are fabulous and their work is inspiring.”

The competition included three categories for different age ranges. In the 16 and under category, entrants were asked to create a table arrangement to the theme of Best of British Farming.

Anna Hunt from Woburn YFC (pictured right) in Bedfordshire was the winner with her innovative design that used a mixture of roses, Chrysanthemums, Lisianthus, corn and vegetables.

Anna said:  “I’m really proud as this is my first national competition. I had tips from my cousins who have been through Young Farmer competitions. I will carry on entering competitions now.”

For 20-year-old Fay Thomas (below left), it was the eighth time she had made it to the national finals for Floral Arts. In the 21 and under category she was required to create a floor standing exhibit reflecting the same theme of Best of British Farming.

Fay’s arrangement, made from orange roses and large sunflowers, was positioned on top of a tall black frame that her dad had welded with a piece of driftwood in the centre.

“As it was a farming theme, I quite liked the orange arrangement and autumn colours. It is fantastic to finally win it after eight years of competing. My advice is to keep going and don’t give up. Take on board what the judges tell you,” said Fay from Eardisley YFC in Herefordshire.

Florist Jacalyn Dobson (right), who is 23 years old and a member of Yarcombe YFC was the winner of the 26 and under competition with her hand tied presentation bouquet.

Jacalyn had never entered a YFC competition before, despite being a member of Young Farmers since she was 14 years old. The bouquet she created was packed with English country cut flowers, such as traditional Chrysanthemums, and also included Brassica, blackberries and other British fruits and vegetables.

“Young Farmers is a really good opportunity to get out and do something different.The competition has given me the confidence to enter something bigger and I’m going to enter the floral art heats for Chelsea florist of the year!” Jacalyn said.
For a full list of results click here to see how well your county did in the national finals and click here to see photos from the competition.


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