National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 January 2014

NFYFC is launching a new campaign, called Rural+, aimed at raising awareness around rural isolation and mental health issues faced by young people - especially issues associated with growing up in a rural or farming community.

Working with the Farming Community Network and YoungMinds, NFYFC will be offering support and guidance on mental health issues.

Posters and support materials are being sent out to clubs and counties, which have been sponsored by TAMA, a world leader in the manufacture of crop packaging products.

The idea for the campaign came from National Chairman of Council Claire Worden. To get Rural+ off the ground Claire is challenging all clubs to do one or all of the following three tasks:

  1. To find out who your local contacts are support young people with mental health issues – such as The Farming Community Network, the NHS or a similar organisation. 
  2. To host a club evening on mental health and invite one of the above contacts to run the session.
  3. To promote YFC in their local communities to encourage more rural young people to get involved and understand how YFC can help combat feelings of rural isolation through our varied programme of activities. 

The campaign will be officially launched at the Council meeting in February. On Twitter, please use the hashtag #rural+.

NFYFC is also looking for members who are willing to talk about their experience of rural isolation for a series of videos and potential media work. If you would like to share your story to help others, anonymously if preferred, please contact the NFYFC communications team.

30 January 2014

NFYFC’s National Chairman of Council Claire Worden has vowed to not touch a drop of alcohol in February as part of the Farmers Guardian’s month-long dryathlon in celebration of the newspaper’s 170th anniversary.

To mark the anniversary, as well as a souvenir edition of the newspaper, Farmers Guardian colleagues and key members of the industry will take part in a dryathlon to raise money for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) and Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI).

Claire will be booze-free along with Welsh Woman farmer of the Year Cheryl Thomas and husband Elwyn as well as key members of the National Sheep and Beef Associations – among other leading figures.

The challenge is on as Claire will be chairing her first Council meeting on Sunday 9 February, which is usually part of a social weekend with other YFC council members.

Claire said: “I was really keen to take part in this challenge as RABI do a great job and have given incredible support to many YFC members and friends.

“It’s going to be a tough month – but I’m sure I’ll get through it with the support of members! Anyone is very welcome to join me...”

You can support the Farmers Guardian and Claire in the following ways:

  1. By making a donation on-line at Just Giving or why not join in Booze-free February? Rest your liver for a month and donate your savings from not drinking.
  2. If you just cannot live without a tipple, you can simply donate the price of a pint.

Follow the progress on Twitter and support Claire using the hashtag #CHEERSFG

29 January 2014

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs is warning members about a new social media craze called Neknominate.
The drinking game, which started in Australia, has now been picked up in the UK and is potentially putting young people in dangerous situations.
The aim of the game is to complete a drinking dare and then nominate someone to do the same. The dares are recorded and the videos are posted on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, where the person names the next person to complete a drinking dare.  
While this activity is not connected to YFC, members may be tempted – or feel pressurised – to get involved in these stunts.
The police and other organisations are condemning these activities and the media has started to expose people in some of the videos.
National Chairman of Council Claire Worden said: “We are very concerned about this new social media craze on a number of levels. While this is not a YFC activity, we would ask members who are getting involved in it to respect YFC’s reputation.  
“It is also important to consider your own reputation. Posting videos in a public domain means they can be viewed by current and future employers, colleges/universities, family and the media.
“Please also respect members and not pressurise anyone to take part in these drinking games – especially those under 18 years old. Bullying within YFC is not tolerated and not something we are known for – let’s keep our excellent reputation.”

NFYFC has issued the following warning for people who are taking part in these activities:

  • Drinking while operating machinery or driving is extremely dangerous, illegal and is not condoned by NFYFC or the Farm Safety Partnership. Please check out our pages on Farm Safety for a reminder on why it is important to act responsibly around machinery and on the farm and check out our Drive it Home campaign on road safety.
  • Those choosing to take part do so of their own volition and should not associate YFC or NFYFC in their activities. Neknominate is not an activity endorsed by the Federation. Consider the reputation of your club and your county and the knock on effect this could have on the wider organisation – as well as your own personal reputation. 
  • Young people under the age of 18 should not be nominated to take part in a drinking dare – and no one should feel pressurised into being involved. Check out the Rural+ campaign for more information about rural isolation and the impact of online bullying. 

If you or any one you know is concerned about a Neknomination challenge, they can contact NFYFC’s Youthwork Officer Cath Sykes on 02476 857222 or email.

28 January 2014

Young Farmers in Essex are aiming to top the charts during the Annual General Meeting in Blackpool in May.

The members of Essex Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs have set themselves the challenge of writing an original hit, recording and releasing it in the build up to NFYFC’s Annual Convention to raise money for YoungMinds and The Farming Community Network.

Traditionally called WotNots, every year young farmers from across England and Wales choose fun ways to raise money for charity while travelling to the Annual Convention. Essex FYFC plan to do a promotional tour of their single on the journey up to the popular Lancashire seaside resort.

Using local contacts from Audio Network, a global music group who provide over 60,000 music tracks for use by major television, film and multimedia corporations, the wannabe chart toppers have already secured the support of a professional lyricist and a video crew.

While the song title is still to be decided, Essex FYFC’s Chairman Sam Iddison confirmed the song will celebrate life as a Young Farmer.

“We wanted to do something a bit different, we’ve completed cycle rides and other similar WotNots before, so we came up with this! As the Annual Convention is a weekend of people enjoying music with Radio 1 DJs, this seemed like the right challenge for us to attempt and we’re all very excited by it.

“We’re hoping to perform it at Annual Convention too – especially if we make it into the Top 40.”

NFYFC’s Annual Convention is at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from 9-12 May 2014. It includes an Agricultural Forum, national competition finals for the Choir, Disco Dancing, Entertainments and Senior Member of the Year. The full line up for the event will be released after the Council meeting in February.

Tickets for Annual Convention are on sale now through county booking officers and prices can be found online by clicking here.

To get behind Essex FYFC and support their mission, you can follow them on their website, Twitter, Facebook and website.

28 January 2014

A new partnership between The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (NFYFC) and AGCO Parts, a leading global manufacturer of agricultural equipment, is helping to develop skills in young farmers under 18 years old. 

AGCO Parts is supporting NFYFC’s Youth Forum – a steering group that was set up to represent the views of younger members of the Federation. The group help to develop ideas for competitions and events that will appeal to members under the age of 18, as well as take an active role in the British Youth Council.

Members meet three times a year – including a residential weekend, which this year is taking place from 31 Jan to 2 February at Oaker Wood Leisure in Herefordshire. AGCO Parts will also be attending the Youth Forum’s meeting on Sunday 2 February to officially meet the group.

David Howe, Manager, Complementary Product Business, EAME, AGCO Parts Division, said: “The farming industry has some challenges but also presents some very exciting opportunities as the industry evolves with even more new technologies to support the growing food production needs of the population. 

“The youth of today are our employees and customers of the future and with that we are very pleased to support the NFYFC’s Youth Forum through 2014.  This support will give Young Farmers and particularly the Youth Forum the opportunity to meet and share experiences with the team at AGCO – but it also gives us the opportunity of seeing and listening to the views, ideas and interests of the future drivers of our industry.

“Attracting and retaining young people into the farming industry is essential to its future and with that we are hopeful our support to the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs will help in several ways.”

Claire Worden, NFYFC’s National Chairman of Council, said: “We are delighted that AGCO Parts is supporting our Youth Forum and helping to develop the skills and confidence of NFYFC’s younger members. 

“The Forum only formed in 2010 but already they have made a big impact on our organisation – not least with the introduction of our mascot SuperMoo! This boost from a major global manufacturer such as AGCO Parts will give the group even more credibility and help us to develop the next generation of farming leaders.”

For more information about the Youth Forum Residential weekend, click here.

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.


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