28 May 2014
NFYFC attended the Council for European Young Farmers (CEJA) meeting in Brussels where concerns were raised that some member states may sacrifice measures in Pillar 2, such as start up grants for young farmers, believing that Pillar 1 offers enough support.
Charlotte Johnston (pictured with President of CEJA Matteo Bartolini and NFYFC's Vice President Chris Manley) is NFYFC’s CEJA representative and a member of Kenilworth YFC and attended the meeting in Brussels. She said:
“NFYFC is concerned that MPS may consider that Pillar 1 includes enough support for young farmers. Mandatory proposals under Pillar 1 will, in reality, only support a minority of young farmers. Major issues including access to land, access to credit and high establishment costs are huge barriers facing young producers, which this mandatory measure does not address.
“It is vital for the future of UK agriculture that we see measures for young farmers under the Rural Development Programme. Some member states such as France have put as much as 10% of RDPE funding into young farmers, historically in the UK it has been less than 1%. Now is the time to change this and motivate and support the next generation.”
NFYFC wants to see the implementation of capital grants, training and investment to provide young farmers with the essential business skills needed to run profitable farming businesses.
The CEJA Presidium meeting on 8 May also reviewed the efforts of the six working groups in 2013 and looked ahead to this year’s plans. New working groups were announced including themes of innovation, the food chain, international free trade agreements and access to land and credit.
Charlotte said NFYFC’s attendance at these meetings was invaluable as other countries’ views could have a major impact on young farmers in England and Wales.
“There was a lot of emotion in the room with regards to trade deals with other countries, particularly the US. Some CEJA members want to return to fully subsidised agriculture, including food banks, as they felt farming was more profitable like that.
“We, as the EU, have moved a long way away from this. Suggesting such a shift in thinking is not only unrealistic, it would also be of huge detriment to the efficiency of English and Welsh agriculture. Not all policies that are proposed will favour English and Welsh farmers and so it is important for us to be there to be able to put our views forward.
“I feel strongly that NFYFC is in a much stronger position as a CEJA member to learn about European policies and be able to negotiate with our Government. For the first time in a long time, NFYFC members are being represented at a political level in Europe through our input to CEJA.”
Membership of CEJA would not be possible without funding from sponsors Mole Valley Farmers and HOPS Labour Solutions.
14 May 2014
Poul, who has been involved in the organisation for around 60 years, including time as a member, was voted in unanimously at the 82nd Annual General Meeting in Blackpool.
Sam Allen from Oxfordshire FYFC proposed the motion to re-elect Poul as President and it was seconded by Rachel Milner from County Durham FYFC. Sam said: “Poul has spent a lifetime in Young Farmers. He is passionate about the organisation and is someone who can continue to offer a great deal.”
Poul, who has recently stepped down as Chair of Natural England, was delighted to accept the role for a second year and spoke about the tremendous support that young farmers give each other and to people around them. He said: “That support is so important in society and it epitomises this organisation, probably above any other than I know.”
He continued by asking everyone to support NFYFC’s Rural+ campaign and to “look out for each other.”
After the AGM, Poul recorded the following message for Young Farmers and spoke about how impressed he was when members supported those affected by the Somerset Floods.
14 May 2014
Wristband sales prior to the event were already up on previous years and combined with on the door ticket sales the event was one of the most popular in recent years.
Major competition finals in Entertainments, Disco Dancing and the Choir attracted coach loads of supporters to the seaside resort.
Wales celebrated two victories in Entertainments and the Choir competitions. Llanbadarn Fynydd YFC came top in Entertainments with their performance of Just Chilled, and Glamorgan FYFC’s choir beat seven other clubs with their performance of Hallelujah and a Welsh folk song.
In Disco Dancing though, it was Wigton YFC from Cumbria who were hailed the champs of the dance floor – the first time the club had ever made it to a national final.
Members were treated to evening entertainment from five Radio 1 DJs over the weekend and three live bands. Jameela Jamil from Radio 1 got the party started on Sunday night, followed by Edith Bowman and Aled Haydn Jones on Saturday and Scott Mills and Chris Stark on Sunday.
As well as the entertainment, the weekend also included NFYFC’s Agri Forum 2014 where leading industry speakers shared their advice on topics associated with technology and farming. David Gardner, Chief Executive of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, Professor Toby Mottram Founder of eCow and Campbell Scott from Massey Ferguson each gave a presentation and hosted workshops.
The weekend also included the 82nd Annual General Meeting where Poul Christensen was re-elected as NFYFC’s President for a second year.
Members also agreed to increase the membership and associate membership levy by 20% for the first time in three years. Rachel Goldie, from Great Smeaton YFC, gave a supportive speech for the increase in the levy and won The Sidney Fawcett Trophy for her contribution to the meeting.
The Senior Member of the Year was awarded to Jessica Wright from Lugg Valley YFC in Herefordshire for inspiring others to achieve. While trophies were given to the club and county who had raised the most funds for charity in 2013.
Devon raised more than £100k last year for charity and won the Prince of Wales Trophy in recognition of their achievements, while Ivybridge YFC raised £18,000 and took home the Lionel J Hill Trophy for raising the most funds per member in the club. It is estimated that YFCs raised £1.2m for charity in 2013.
Young Farmers support of local charities was praised during the weekend, with many clubs arriving in Blackpool on cycles after raising funds on their journey to the Convention.
Tell us what you thought of Annual Convention 2014 and you could win a wristband for the 2015 Convention in Torquay!
02 May 2014
More tickets have been sold in advance of the weekend than in the last 10 years, and with Radio 1 DJs performing every night, NFYFC is expecting even more wristband sales on the doors.
Radio 1 DJ Aled Haydn Jones has already tweeted about the event: “Just realised one of my favourite DJ gigs of the year the Young Farmers AGM #yfcagm is a week Sat! Put a smile in (sic) my face :)”
On Sunday Young Farmers are also hoping to top the charts with the Essex FYFC single Put that Hoedown and it is hoped everyone will be performing the dance routine in the Empress Ballroom – including Radio 1 DJs Scott Mills and Chris Stark.
Entertainment highlights include:
As well as radio celebrities, leading figures from the world of agriculture will be joining YFC members at the Agricultural and Rural Issues Forum 2014, supported by Defra, which this year will discuss the topic of Young Farmers and technology – adapting farming for the future.
NFYFC’s Annual Convention, which is sponsored by Massey Ferguson, returns to Blackpool for a second consecutive year and it will be the 22nd time it has been hosted at the seaside resort.
Claire Worden, NFYFC’s Chairman of Council, said: “We are really excited about returning to Blackpool this year after such a brilliant weekend event in 2013 – and let’s make sure we top the charts while we’re there with Put that Hoedown!”
To pre-order Put that Hoedown visit iTunes.
For ticket information, visit the YFC Convention website.
01 May 2014
Sarah Lees from Turton YFC in Lancashire and Pete Archer from Bicester YFC in Oxfordshire are the winners of this year’s competition and win passes to the exclusive Massey Ferguson Lounge and a chance to meet our Radio 1 DJs.
After a flood of applications and some heated debates, the NFYFC team agreed on the two worthy winners. And they couldn’t be more different.
Sarah lives and works on her family’s Dairy and Beef farm and is studying Law at Manchester University, while Pete works in IT and has no farming connections other than through his club.
Sarah, who is 20, won the judges over by sharing the fact her parents first met at Convention in 1989 in the Winter Gardens and that this would be her first time at the event. Her parents were both members of Bury YFC – a club that Sarah also has connections with as her boyfriend is the current Chairman!
It was a tough decision to join in the fun and games this year as Sarah has exams on Friday and Monday afternoon – so she has been busy preparing in the build up!
“The exam on Monday afternoon is open book so I have written myself some very detailed page notes to compensate for the fact I may be a bit tired on Monday,” said Sarah who wants to work in agricultural land disputes, surveying and tenancy.
“I applied for the competition because I thought it would be a good laugh and make my first AGM a bit more memorable. I was very surprised to win. I think Turton YFC will be proud, we’re a very small club so it’s good promotion for us!”
Pete Archer is 22 and joined his local YFC six years ago after a friend introduced him to the organisation. Although he has never lived on a farm, he said he has learnt a lot – including coming third at Stockjudging in a recent competition.
Judges were impressed with Pete’s application as he said the organisation had given him confidence and a sense of belonging – proving you don’t have to be a farmer to be a Young Farmer! This will be the fourth year Pete has been to Convention and so he’s ready for what’s in store.
“I can’t wait for Convention. I am surprised and scared about being the Face of Convention but it will definitely make my fourth year different!”
Pete will be arriving at Convention with 14 members of Bicester YFC and is looking forward to cheering on members from Oxfordshire in the Choir competition on Sunday.
A big thanks to everyone who entered the NFYFC competition to be our Face of Convention. Please look out for updates from Sarah and Pete over the weekend!
01 May 2014
Traditionally referred to as WotNots, every year members take part in fundraising challenges on their way to Annual Convention.
This year, NFYFC is aware of six counties who have been preparing for back breaking missions to reach the seaside resort – all in the name of charity.
The first to set off are 47 members from Cornwall FYFC who start Tracey’s Triathlon on Saturday 3 March. They are raising money for the British Heart Foundation by walking, canoeing and cycling 200 miles from Gloucester to Blackpool.
Following on from them will be a range of cycling challenges. Travelling from Canterbury in Kent, 10 members are aiming to cycle 360 miles in 36 hours in a relay in aid of Reverse Rett to support research into Rett syndrome.
Canterbury YFC Chairman Stacey Taylor said: “This is an enormous challenge and requires not only dedication but a lot of support for the club and its members.”
Wareham and Purbeck YFC in Dorset are aiming to cycling 320 miles over 30 hours from Swanage Pier to Blackpool Pier to raise money for Amelia Grace Rainbow Fund.
Five members of Edgcott & Winslow YFC are raising money for RABI and the Motor Neurone Disease Association by cycling approximately 200 miles non-stop in 24 hours. “This is an endurance challenge,” said member Alan Burborough.
Both on and off road cycling is in order for five members of Ashbourne YFC in Derbyshire who are cycling 100 miles in firemen outfits to raise money for The Derbyshire Fire & Rescue.
And finally, Essex FYFC are aiming to get into the charts by Convention weekend with their charity single Put that Hoedown, which is raising money for The Farming Community Network and YoungMinds.
Where to support
Ashbourne YFC: TBC
Canterbury YFC:Visit their Just Giving page.
Cornwall FYFC: Text donation to CYFC37 £3 or an amount you care to donate
Edgcott & Winslow YFC: Visit their Just Giving page.
Essex FYFC: Visit iTunes and buy the single.
Wareham and Purbeck: Visit their Virgin Money page.
T: 02476 857 200
F: 02476 857 229
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