30 May 2014
Willie Bendle from Cumbria FYFC and Mary Bailey from Clitheroe YFC were both elected as Life Vice Presidents for during the AGM in Blackpool.
Murdo Lawrie, from Kirkham YFC and Robyn Bowker proposed and seconded the motion to elect Willie and gave a glowing account of his involvement in the organisation and Cumbria Federation.
Murdo told a packed room at the AGM that Willie “is always willing to give up his time for others” and that his “dedication, commitment and enthusiasm” made him a great ambassador for NFYFC.
Willie responded by thanking everyone for his election. “I have spent many happy times with young farmers’ friends. I wish NFYFC a most successful future and I’m sure that its members will gain knowledge, enjoyment and friendship from the organisation of which I am privileged to be a Life Vice President.”
Philip said Mary had a “passion for everything YFC" and participated in all competitions since she joined when she was 18 years old. She has a special love of public speaking and is often involved on judging panels.
Mary was delighted to become a Life Vice President: “I have a lot of icing on my various young farmers’ cakes but to be asked to be a Live Vice President for the national Federation, is the royal icing on the cake. I’d like to dedicate it to my club Clitheroe and to the Lancashire Federation as without both of these I wouldn’t be standing here.”
Jan Davinson from Cumbria FYFC was also elected as a life member during the proceedings after the motion was proposed by Cumbria Chairman Mark Curr and seconded by Vice Chairman for Cumbria Mark Hurst.
Seven new Deputy Presidents were also elected to represent each of the Areas of the Federation.
Tess Cadmen, South West Area Chairman, proposed the seven and Jolene Powell from Radnor seconded it. Tess said that while NFYFC was run by the members, without these people young farmers might not be pushed to realise their potential and go on to leave the Federation as better individuals than when we joined.
The full list of Deputy Presidents include:
30 May 2014
In the last ten years there have been ten fatal accidents involving slurry in Great Britain. Decomposition of slurry can release a cocktail of toxic gases including hydrogen sulphide. Even just a few breaths of the gas can render a person unconscious.
The leaflet contains 11 points to help farmers plan and undertake work with slurry to help reduce the risk of an incident. It urges farmers to not put themselves at risk when there is an incident, if possible stopping the pump and getting a person to fresh air. 999 should be called immediately advising that slurry gas may be present.
The work of the partnership ties in with the work undertaken by the Farm Safety Partnership in Northern Ireland and further materials are available to download from their website.
30 May 2014
Young Farmers' Clubs are invited to take part in British Food Fortnight 2014 by creating a Harvest box that celebrates the food produced in their part of the UK.
Each Harvest box needs to contain fruit and vegetables clubs have grown themselves and a selection of food from local producers in their part of the country. The boxes will play a starring role at the annual National Harvest Service, to be held this year in Birmingham Cathedral on the 20 October.
Boxes might contain vegetables from your farm or allotment or herbs grown in windowsills and hanging baskets; delicious treats such as Harvest loaves or bramble jelly made using local flour or fruit you have picked yourself; and products from local cheese, meat and vegetable producers.
Children will be invited to the National Harvest Service where the boxes will take pride of place. The display in Birmingham Cathedral will be admired by a host of VIPs and afterwards, the produce will be donated to a local charity.
You can apply online to take part until the 24 July 2014 at www.lovebritishfood.co.uk, where you can also find plenty of ideas and tips on planning and producing your Harvest box. Your activities can take place in after school clubs, during activities weeks, at home, or as part of the curriculum.
The National Harvest Service is part of the Bring Home the Harvest for British Food Fortnight campaign, which aims to bring together communities from across the UK to help rekindle the age old tradition of celebrating the Harvest, which is this year supported by Tesco.
Last year the inaugural event was held in Westminster Abbey, and was attended by NFYFC and the 2012/13 Chairman of Council Milly Wastie read an address.
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!
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