National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

07 July 2014

A passionate speech about her commitment to YFC impressed the judges and made Sophie Winzer from Exmoor YFC in Somerset the 2014 Junior Member of the Year.

Sophie was chosen from six other finalists – but all seven will now join the Youth Forum Steering Group which helps to inform the Federation of the views and ideas of younger members.

The finalists were all required to do a PowerPoint presentation between three and 13 minutes long and then were interviewed about YFC and how they would encourage new members and what new competitions they would like to introduce.

Sophie, who has recently turned 18 years old, talked about her work with Young Farmers, including her overseas experience with a farming charity in Uganda as well as an impending trip to Perth.

“There are so many things you can get out of YFC. You become more confident and you meet so many new people. It’s a way of life for me,” said Sophie.
An active member of her club in Exmoor, Sophie  was delighted to be chosen as the winner and says more people should give it a go as she never expected to win.

“Just start at group level, each year you improve. This is the first time I have entered but I can see how much I have improved from group, county and then South West Area to reaching the finals. It’s such a progression. I was a bit hesitant at first but I was encouraged to do it – and now look where I am!”

Sophie has been a member since 2010, and has just left college and is about to have a gap year before starting Harper Adams in 2015 to study Agriculture and Crop Management. She was hoping to celebrate her victory with her Club later at the Polden Hills’ Summer Sizzler.


01 July 2014

NFYFC welcomed six exchangees to England in June to be hosted by clubs and counties across England and Wales.

The visitors will spend time learning about life as a Young Farmer in the UK and for clubs hosting an exchangee it’s also a great way for members to learn about new cultures.

Gunvor Guttormsen from Norway is spending a week with clubs in County Durham and Caroline Baker from Stockton YFC said it was a great opportunity for members. (Gunvor is pictured left with Caroline right).

“We’re a small county but we have all worked together to put on an interesting week for Gunvor that includes a visit to Livestock, a trip to York and a tour round a large dairy farm. I lived in Germany for three months so I know what it’s like to be a stranger in a foreign country. It’s nice to be able to help someone else in a similar situation.”

While Caroline has had to work during the week days, members from the County have rallied round to help entertain Gunvor – including a tour of Raby Castle.

“So far it has been great,“ said Gunvor who lives on a small dairy farm in Norway and has visited a crop farm. “We don’t have a lot of arable land in Norway so that has been interesting. Our organisations are similar but we do longer projects rather than competitions. We’re reviewing our strategic plans at the moment though and looking at including shorter projects so it’s helpful to see how you do things here.”

NFYFC will host 10 exchangees in total this year – with three more due to arrive in the UK in July.

The YFC Travel programme is shaped by the Personal Development (PD) Steering Group and at the June Council meeting it was agreed that next year’s trips would remain the same as 2014. The only exception being the group travel trip, which next year will be to India.

Members on the PD group also help guide the Federation’s training plans and new proposals are underway for a new training programme. The group are also contributing to the YFC Buzz each month with tips and advice for Club chairmen.

Find out more about YFC Travel opportunities.



01 July 2014

The Agriculture and Rural Issues (AGRI) Steering Group (#yfcagri) is ramping up the promotion of the group’s activities through a new newsletter and a Facebook group.

Members of AGRI gathered in June ahead of the Council meeting and agreed to do more to involve County AGRI links people. The newsletter has been circulated to members and features updates on CEJA among other actions.

An invitation to attend the Steering Group meetings in an observer capacity will also be offered to County AGRI links people who want to find out more.

During the meeting James Hutchinson from Wiltshire was elected as the new NFU representative and he will be deputised by Paul Hartley from Norfolk.

This year’s AGRI Forum that was held during Annual Convention, was the subject of much discussion and the Convention survey feedback is helping to shape future AGRI events.

“We have listened to what members have told us about the timing of the Forum and also the format,” said AGRI Chairman Russell Carrington. “We are looking into something that is more interactive to attract more members and also the possibility of a formal dinner with a guest speaker.”

For more information about #yfcagri, email the AGRI Officer Jo Wyles or call 02476 857200.

Find out more about the June Council meeting in the summary report.



01 July 2014

The Youth Forum is submitting a motion to the British Youth Council to raise awareness of mental health issues in rurally isolated areas.

The motion, which is being raised in support of NFYFC’s Rural+ campaign, is one of two the Forum will submit.

The other motion focuses on increasing field to fork education in schools. The Forum wish to propse that it is mandatory that all primary schoolchildren have a farm visit, supported by learning resources to raise awareness of where food comes from.

The motion backs up other work the Youth Forum are working on with FACE and their efforts to create a new Field to Fork game for schoolchildren. The group are showcasing a pilot game at the CLA Game Fair in July called Watch that Cowpat! Children (and adults) have to match produce, such as milk, to a picture of what has produced it, such as a dairy cow, on a large mat.  

The Youth Forum, who are now one of the organisation’s five Steering Groups, are focused on coming up with ideas to involve members aged under-19 in the Federation. Council approved their idea to progress an under-18 ski trip in February 2016 as part of the YFC Travel programme.

Sioned Davies, Chairman of the Youth Forum (pictured), presented the updates from the Steering Group meeting to the Council and mentioned the success of the Time Capsule burial in April to commemorate the 80th year.

Members of the Youth Forum also visited all the Steering Group meetings on the Saturday before Council to ensure younger members views were heard.


01 July 2014

A stylish addition to the competitions programme in 2014-15 will add a touch of glamour to Competitions Day 2015 when members will showcase homemade garments at a YFC fashion show.

Members on the Competitions Steering Group at Council agreed to change the ‘bunting’ competition to a challenge for members to create a garment that will be worn and judged at Competitions Day.

The announcements about changes to the competitions programme were made during the Council meeting in June, where alterations to rules were approved or deferred. The following changes were agreed:

  • Double eliminator entries for painted canvas, fashion and garden sculpture.
  • Members competing under 18 years old must now submit Parental consent forms to NFYFC TEN working days before a national final (instead of five).

After a lengthy discussion around a proposed increase in fines for those who withdraw from competitions after the deadline, it was finally agreed that Council members should discuss this suggestion with their clubs and bring thoughts back to the November Council meeting.

Other competition news included the fact Cube Exhibits are now being displayed at the Tenbury Show, Worcestershire on 2 August alongside the finals of the Tug of War. This was because the show attracts more members of the public than the Competitions Day and gives members’ artwork the profile they deserve.

The Competitions Steering Group is also looking at the rules for future Tug of War competitions and NODA will be approached about judging the Pantomime competition at Convention 2015.

Positive feedback in the Convention survey about the Darts competition at this year’s Annual Convention means that it will be staged again in 2015 at the Convention in Torquay. 

Find out more about the Council meeting in the summary report.


01 July 2014

The chance to meet up with friends is the top reason why members attend Annual Convention, revealed a recent survey on the 2014 event.

More than 5,500 young farmers gathered in the seaside resort of Blackpool and partied their socks off with friends over the weekend. Members gave the 2014 event a massive thumbs up with 99% rating their weekend as excellent/good and 99% saying they would recommend the event to their family and friends. 

Chris Stark and Scott Mills came out as the favourite DJs of the weekend – a whopping 92% rated them as excellent/good with lots of positive comments.

One survey respondent referred to the prank call that the duo made to NFYFC that was aired on their Radio 1 show and said: “Scott Mills and Chris Stark got really involved in the build up to the weekend which I think made their performance better!”

The survey gave valuable feedback to help shape future events, with suggestions for bands and DJs, as well as tips on how to improve the AGRI Forum and Competitions.

All of the feedback was discussed at the recent NFYFC Council meeting in Blackpool and the different steering groups discussed how they could develop their areas. The Communications, Events and Marketing (CEM) Steering Group had the biggest challenge to review all the feedback and have already put plans in place to help respond to members’ views.

“The feedback around communication was really helpful,” said Chairman of CEM David Maidment, from Wiltshire FYFC. “The launch of the new Convention website helped to keep members informed in the run up to Convention but now we can see that an App could also help us to keep members better informed during the weekend as well as in the run up to the event.”

As a thank you for completing the survey NFYFC ran a competition with HOPS to enter all respondents into a prize draw to win one of two wristbands for the 2015 Annual Convention in Torquay. The winners were announced during the Council meeting and they are Lucy Corner from Elwick YFC in County Durham and Steven Fell from Broughton YFC in Cumbria.

During the Council meeting it was also agreed that the pre-booked wristband prices would be increased by £5 this year for both members and associates but this would be fixed for two years (2015 and 2016 events).

The CEM group also requested a discount for the on-the-door ticket price for a one-day package to encourage more sales. This was approved and the one-day, on-the-door ticket price will be £34.50 for members and £37 for associates.

Council also agreed that the deadline for discounted pre-booked packages for Convention would remain at six weeks. There was good news for those who wanted to buy wristbands on the weekend of the event though as the deadline was moved to four weeks before the event for when members needed to be registered on the database.

Find out more information about the Council meeting, and download the meeting summary.



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