National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

25 January 2014

Debates on topical agricultural issues and a chance to network with leading farming figures were just some of the highlights for members who attended the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) in January.

National Chairman of Council Claire Worden, Cornwall FYFC, and ARAC Chairman Russell Carrington Herefordshire FYFC, had their places sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Farmers.

It was the first time Claire had been to the conference and she said it was a great place to make new contacts as well as find out more about the industry.

“Opportunity Agriculture was such a relevant topic to the next generation,” said Claire. “It was so interesting listening to a couple of the speakers that have found unique ways to grow their business or to start a new business.

“In particular Hans Henrik Koefoed from Inglby Farms delivered an interesting presentation as it showed that even a large scale business with 42 farms run by 42 families can be value driven with core agricultural principles still being at the heart of the business.”

The Worshipful Company of Farmers sponsors two NFYFC delegates because attendance at the OFC meets its aims to stimulate the development of agricultural education and understanding. In recent years, NFYFC has identified two members who would not only benefit from the experience but also make good use of the opportunity to learn from the information given and network with other delegates, including the Master and Liverymen.

NFYFC, in association with Marks & Spencer, was also able to offer one lucky member an all expenses paid place at the OFC. Georgia Frogley from Long Itchington YFC won a place on the trip in the NFYFC competition and said it was a “fantastic experience.” 

“I am grateful to NFYFC for allowing me to access this opportunity,” said Georgia. “It was great to hear some fantastic speakers and be inspired by stories from other young speakers who had taken risks within their businesses that had paid off and were now very successful.

“I met lots of important people who were very friendly and one of which said to contact him if I ever needed a job, so I feel very privileged indeed! I made friends from all over the UK that I am sure I will see at AGM or up and coming YFC competitions.”

During the OFC, two young farmers also went head to head to debate the pros and cons of renewable energy. Matthew Sharp, former Chairman of Ponteland YFC, and Duncan Howie, Maldon YFC, took part in the debate at the Oxford Union, entitled: ‘This house believes that green energy is not worth the carbon it takes to produce’. After a heated discussion, Duncan won the debate with his positive views on renewable energy. 

An alternative event also runs alongside the OFC called the Oxford Real Farming Conference (OFRC). It was set up to discuss good food; a secure and beautiful countryside and plenty of satisfying jobs.

Member Becca Watkins attended the event and joined Julie Ingram of the Countryside and Community Research Institute and Robert Jeffery from NewLandOwner to lead an impassioned discussion on family farming.

Becca said: “We highlighted, both from personal experience and scientific research, the many unique and important features of family farms. I went on to discuss how, although many agree that family farms are desirable, the practicalities of living and working with your relatives are not always appealing to young people.”

Becca went on to suggest some possible approaches to solving these issues, which included training and new opportunities such as share farming, and diversifying the farm business to accommodate more partners.

“The most important aspect I felt was improving family communication, for instance using allocated time and space for business discussions, separating it from the family's personal time. We acknowledged that a cultural change is needed to allow older farmers to retire and pass on their land sooner, while trusting that young farmers and new entrants are suitably skilled.”

For more information about the Oxford Farming Conference, click here and for the Oxford Real Farming Conference, click here.


25 January 2014

Members got the opportunity to see inside an abattoir and learn more about food production and livestock at a recent training event with EBLEX. 

Two regional Meat for the Market training courses for Beef and Lamb were held in Lancashire and Chesterfield and passed on practical farming business skills.

Participants were asked to handle the animals and to classify and judge the weights of them before they were slaughtered and then compared their results when they were shown the carcasses.

The course also taught members about food safety, how to produce meat for today’s consumer and how to get the most profit. There were lots of tips and advice for members who enter stockjudging competitions too.

Emma Tingle, 23, from Cawthorne YFC in Yorkshire is not from a farming background but said the Lamb course has got her one step closer to her dream of owning her own flock of sheep!

“I would love to have my own sheep! I have married a joiner so I don’t know how likely it’s going to be,” said Emma who works for her husband’s building firm. “I had a crack at the live and carcase stockjudging competition last year and ended up in the national finals and came seventh. I really enjoyed it so I decided to go along to this course to get a bit more background and experience.

“When you’re not handling sheep every day and you don’t know what you’re looking for, this course helps to make the links from the live sheep to the carcase more obvious. I would definitely recommend it.”

Despite it being the first time Emma had been inside an abattoir, she says it hasn’t put her off eating meat.

“I was concerned that as a partial townie I was going to come back a converted vegetarian but I can confirm I am desperate for some Barnsley chops! It was so informative and from a consumer point of view you learn so much more.

“I’m nowhere near a shepherd yet, but I would certainly feel more confident about taking it on now.”

The Meat for the Market training was free for YFC members and NFYFC are looking into future events.



22 January 2014

Members and county staff in the South West Area recently got the chance to attend a local Train the Trainer course for the first time.

The new initiative to host courses in Areas rather than in a central location has so far made it easier for members and county staff to attend.

Two Area courses have now been held with a third due to take place in the South East in March.

Attendees at the South West course learnt how to design and develop officer training, experienced a Know Your Limits Curve module and designed an officer training session.

NFYFC’s Training Officer Sandra James said moving the courses to be focused in Areas was proving to be more popular.

“There’s less travel involved when it’s hosted in your Area, rather than NFYFC trying to run an event centrally. It also builds a stronger community of trainers in an Area.”

If any Area wants to hold their own course over the next 12 months contact Training Officer Sandra James. 

An Advanced Train the Trainer course is being held from 4-6 April at Brownsover Hall in Rugby. There are seven spaces left on this course so book early to avoid disappointment. Click here to find out more.



22 January 2014

The NFYFC Facebook page has reached more than 20,000 fans – making it one of the best online places to have a conversation with Young Farmers.

Some of the most popular updates on the social media channel are news and photos about Annual Convention and updates from national competitions. Last year, one of the most popular posts was a photo of the team from Wormleighton YFC when they won Feet up Friday on Radio 1 with DJ Greg James (pictured right).

Facebook is just one of the social media channels where NFYFC actively chat to members. The Twitter account (@nfyfc) currently has more than 5,000 followers and regularly posts updates throughout the week – and during major NFYFC events.

All the decisions made at Council meetings are tweeted live from the event, and competition results are posted on Twitter as and when they are announced.

NFYFC is also on Google+ and Linkedin – where news about jobs and training activities are posted. 

The Communications, Events and Marketing Steering Group, help to suggest ideas for content on the social media channels and encourage all clubs and counties to engage with NFYFC online.

A new social media guide for clubs and counties is also being developed, which offers advice on how to set up a social media account with top tips for building numbers.

If you are actively using a social media site and think NFYFC should be on there too, please send ideas to the communications team.

Visit Facebook
Visit Twitter
Visit Linkedin



14 January 2014


YFC members David Boden and Jessie Bowling were on top of the world this week after getting engaged on a mountain peak during the 2014 YFC Ski Trip.

David, 28, who is a farmer from Suffolk proposed to his girlfriend Jessie, 25, at the top of Pic Blanc in Alpe D’Huez. David said:

“I didn’t think there could be a better place to propose. We both love skiing and 3330m high at the top of a mountain seemed like the perfect spot.”

The couple met six years ago though Halesworth YFC in Suffolk, and both have been active members of the Club. David added:

“The fact that we got engaged on the Young Farmers Ski Trip made it extra special, as without YFC we might never have met.” 

David and Jessie were among nearly 300 YFC members from across England and Wales who headed to Alpe D’Huez in France for the 2014 YFC Ski trip.

The week-long trip in the French Alps was run by travel company, Outgoing, as part of NFYFC’s re-vamped YFC Travel programme.   The week included a YFC Mountain Meal, followed by skiing down floodlit pistes, as well as a Young Farmers fancy dress day with a theme of ‘your best produce’.  

David said:

“This was the first YFC Ski trip we had been on and we had a great time. One of the highlights has to be seeing Jessie skiing down a black run in a penguin suit!”

Georgina Haigh from Wormleighton YFC was a YFC rep on the trip:

"The YFC Ski trip was a sell out and a great opportunity for young farmers to get together. There was a huge variation of abilities from all over the country. The mountain meal and dancing on top of the mountain in the Folie Douce cafe every afternoon were definitely highlights. Hopefully next year's YFC Ski trip will be just as successful and every bit as fun!"

Check out the pictures from YFC Ski on our Facebook page. If you would like to add pictures to this album, please email them to magazine@nfyfc.org.uk.


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 www.ofc.org.uk and for the Oxford Real Farming Conference, visit www.oxfordrealfarmingconference.org


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