National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

07 January 2014

Two young farmers will go head to head to debate the pros and cons of renewable energy at this year’s Oxford Farming Conference at 6pm on Tuesday 7 January 2014.

Matthew Sharp and Duncan Howie will take part in the debate at the Oxford Union at 6pm, entitled: ‘This house believes that green energy is not worth the carbon it takes to produce’. 

Roger Helmer, UKIP MEP will propose the motion and Matthew Sharp, former Chairman of Ponteland YFC, is the seconder. Opposing the motion is Natalie Bennett leader of the Green Party of England and Wales and Duncan Howie from Maldon YFC is the seconder.
Duncan has a positive experience of renewable energy as his family farming business Howies & Sons LLP, already uses 50KW of solar power and they are hoping to increase this to 10.8MW over their 60 acres of land.
Duncan, who is also a member of Strutt & Parker's Chelmsford Land Management team, said: “This will be additional income that will help secure our business and means we can reinvest it in our butchery and processing operations. Renewables mean money goes into the rural economy and we need to make sure that continues.”
NFYFC, in association with Marks & Spencer, also ran a competition for one lucky member to attend the event for free, with all expenses paid. Winner Georgia Frogley, from Long Itchington YFC, is studying for an Agri-food with Business and Marketing degree at Harper Adams University and entered the competition to help enhance her knowledge.
The OFC attracts industry leaders and high profile speakers, and Georgia is hoping to gain some new contacts.
“I want to use this opportunity to network with industry professionals, to gain ideas and contacts for my placement year at University, “ said Georgia who also works part time in a farm shop. “My parents are pleased I am interested in this industry as there are plenty of opportunities for young people.”
The Oxford Farming Conference runs from the 6-8 January 2014 and at this year’s event discussions are focused on the opportunities within agriculture and how they can be funded, as well as how farms should be operated in the future.
At the same time as this conference, the Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) is also being held and states that it is focused more on the ‘true role’ of farming ‘to provide good food for everyone forever.’
YFC members will also be attending the ORFC and reporting back on their experiences.
For more information about the Oxford Farming Conference, visit and for the Oxford Real Farming Conference, visit


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