National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

31 October 2014

NFYFC’s Chairman of Council Claire Worden has been recognised by the Prime Minister for her work in founding the Rural+ campaign.

Claire, who launched the campaign earlier in 2014, has been awarded a Point of Light volunteering award by David Cameron for her efforts in combating rural isolation.

Point of Light awards recognise outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Claire is the 141st winner of the new Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H. W. Bush.

Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President George H. W. Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK, which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.

Mr Cameron said: “Claire took an enormously brave step of using her own harrowing experiences to set up Rural+ and support young people feeling isolated in rural areas. I am delighted to recognise Claire’s fantastic work with this Point of Light award.”

It was one of Claire’s aims during her time as Chairman to help more rural young people seek support when they are experiencing mental health issues and to help beat rural isolation.

“When I first heard that I was to receive this prestigious award, I was completely speechless. It’s such an honour. I’m amazed at how much the Rural+ campaign has taken off, and this really is the icing on the cake," said Claire.

“It’s a campaign that I feel extremely passionately about and I am delighted that the Prime Minister has recognised the importance of mental well-being amongst young people in rural areas. I want to thank everyone that has raised awareness of this campaign and helped it to get the recognition it deserves. I look forward to continuing to push this campaign, particularly as we head into winter.”

Find out more information about the Rural+ campaign.



28 October 2014

Celebrate your fave fashion period at Annual Convention 2015 now that members have voted for the theme 'Through the Decades' for the fancy dress on Saturday night!

Hundreds of members voted for the theme in NFYFC’s online poll and Through the Decades beat Famous Families and Through the Generations.

The result means Torquay needs to prepare itself for Young Farmers dressed in 70s’ bell bottoms, shoulder pads from the 80s and perhaps some Spice Girl attire from the 90s.

The result of the poll was revealed at NFYFC’s Council meeting in Coventry by David Maidment, Chairman of the Events and Marketing Steering Group.

Members took to Twitter to ’tweet’ their approval, including this message from Laura Howell from Swansea.

@Laurahowell_15: “Yesssssss!!!!!! So excited secret fancy dress project can start as of today!!!”

As well as the fancy dress theme, the Events and Marketing group also announced there would be a foam party on the Sunday evening and a dedicated Convention App for the 2015 event that would be available to download in advance.

Planning is well underway for the three days in Torquay next April and the Agriculture and Rural Issues (AGRI) Steering Group have also started planning the AGRI Forum.

Following feedback from the 2014 Forum, next year’s event will be held on the Saturday afternoon of Convention – instead of the morning – in a bid to attract more people. The event will be titled ‘What’s your future in farming?’

Locations and dates for Convention from 2016 to 2018 were also announced at the meeting. Get these logged in your diaries now:

  • 2016: Blackpool, 6-8 May
  • 2017: Torquay. 21-23 April
  • 2018: Blackpool, 4-6 May


Read the full report from the October 2014 Council meeting. 




28 October 2014

Decisions affecting competitions, Annual Convention and training were among the issues discussed at the recent NFYFC Council weekend.

More than 80 members participated over the two days in Coventry to help shape activities for members.

The fancy dress for Annual Convention 2015 was revealed as Through the Decades and plans are underway for a Foam Party for the Sunday evening. Find out more here.

NFYFC Council also discussed 2015 budgets and the levy (membership fees). NFYFC’s Treasurer John Hardman referred to the five year plan and the need to increase the levy by 20% at the AGM 2015.

Council members will be given detailed information to discuss with their counties about the proposed levy increase and why it is being recommended. This feedback will be shared at the February Council meeting where they will discuss and review how much the levy should be increased.

The Council will then make a proposal to take to the Annual General Meeting in 2015 where members can vote for or against this suggestion.

All the announcements from the February Council were tweeted during the meeting and members, counties and clubs actively retweeted and engaged in the debate online.

It was Claire Worden’s final meeting as the official Chairman of Council as she will hand over the role in February next year. Claire thanked Council for their support during her tenure at the top:

“There has been a real buzz around the organisation over the last 12 months and that is down to all of you and the great job you are doing. There has been an increase in the number of members attending events and entering competitions, and for that we should all be proud.”

The meeting also included a presentation about HOPS and how NFYFC members can help in promoting its recruitment services and Matt Caldicott  from The Farming Community Network (FCN) explained the relationship between the charity and NFYFC’s Rural+ campaign.

Highlights from the weekend included:

  • Kuhn Machinery has agreed a sponsorship deal with the AGRI Steering Group for the next 12 months.
  • The AGRI Steering Group will organise a petition to call on Defra for more capital support for Young Farmers.
  • The annual AGRI Forum will move to the Saturday afternoon of Convention and be titled What’s your future in farming?
  • Fines will remain the same for withdrawing from a competition only two weeks and 48 hours before.
  • The 2015/16 competitions programme will include a sugar craft cake topper and a live radio show.
  • The fancy dress theme for YFC Ski is Retro and there are now 278 people booked on the trip from 3-10 January 2015.
  • Dates for Conventions from 2016-2018 were announced. Read in full
  • An App for Convention is being developed.
  • There is an affinity deal for members to attend Cheltenham Races in November.
  • The Personal Development Steering Group is developing new Curve modules including social media, leadership and club programming.
  • There will be a County Chairmen’s Day on 7 December for Chairs and Vice Chairs.
  • Selection Day for YFC Travel applicants will be on 6 December and there will be an option of a lunch for members for £5 (with membership card). 
  • Hard copies of The Source are now available through Club Supplies, priced at £18 per copy.
  • The Youth Forum is investigating a Junior Area Weekend to increase value of membership card for junior members.
  • A pack has been created for the 2056/57 officer team with instructions on where to find the 2012 time capsule so it can be recovered for the 125th anniversary of NFYFC.
  • Feedback on the Watch that Cowpat game is being evaluated and a sponsor is currently being sourced for the game.


For a complete copy of all the reports from Council, login to the members area of the website to download the presentation.



22 October 2014

A young dairy farmer from Wales has put his club on the map by scooping the much-coveted Grassland Farmer of the Future award at the annual British Grassland Society (BGS) awards.

Dafydd Phillips, of Hermon YFC in Pembrokeshire, took home the top prize for devising a business plan for a start-up dairy enterprise.

17 Young Farmers participated in a training day in Somerset last month. They were set the challenge of developing a profitable grass-based farm enterprise on a currently failing holding with the help of a £100,000 investment from a city based private funder. 

Dafydd, 20, was presented the award Dr George Fisher of BGS. He was congratulated on demonstrating his knowledge of the industry and clear passion for building a successful future in his chosen career.

On winning the award, Dafydd said: "I am from a farming back round, and am currently working on a dairy farm. I finished school when I was 17, and went straight into work. I entered the competition because I do like a challenge and am ready to try anything that's been given to me. I am very happy that I won, because I did put a lot of effort and time into the piece of work."

 


22 October 2014

The harvesting efforts of schoolchildren across England and Wales were given the royal seal of approval at the National Harvest Service.

The service at Birmingham Cathedral, was organised by Love British Food and was attended by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall as well as dozens of schoolchildren from across the country.

A dozen schools presented harvest boxes, filled with home-grown produce, to the Duchess, who appeared to be extremely impressed with each of the displays. 

Representatives from NFYFC were also in attendance, including chairman Claire Worden, who performed a reading in front of the Duchess. The reading, A Reflection on Farming, was adopted from selected works from American poet and farmer, Wendell Berry:

"Everyone can be a farmer. You can be a farmer. Farming is the production of food and forms the cornerstone of communities. Food in homes, in gardens, allotments, fields forests and in tiny pots lined up on a window ledge.

"At this moment, farming is more important than ever. Farming is a profession of hope." 

Volunteers from Lichfield YFC, Polly Baines and Henry Robinson (pictured in the white stockman coats), attended the event to look after the animals on display outside the cathedral.

Polly said: "It was a fabulous opportunity to take part in such a prestigious event. Henry and I had the responsibilities of helping with the animals from Hatton Country World. It was lovely to meet Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall as she stopped to see the animals. It was a lovely day and well attended by a mixture of people from all over the country."

At the end of the service, the harvest boxes were collected by a historic horse-drawn trolley and taken to the Birmingham Central Food Bank for distribution.

The National Harvest Service was first held at Westminster Abbey last year and is being held as part of Love British Food's campaign to rekindle marking the harvest.



 


21 October 2014

The first episode of the 2014 Farmers Weekly Farmers Apprentice competition – a web TV series, which aims to find the UK’s brightest farming talent, hits the screens of viewers today.

It follows the journey of the 10 finalists, who embarked on a week-long bootcamp earlier this summer, in a bid to win £10,000. The six-part series will air every Tuesday for the next six weeks, with the winner announced on 25th November.

This year’s crop of finalists were put through their paces in a series of five-day farm challenges at Easton and Otley College in July. All the tasks they faced reflected real life aspects of running a modern farming business, from setting up a sub-soiler and getting cows ready for showing, to negotiating wheat prices and putting together a business plan.

And while some of the contestants have farming running through their blood, not all have been born and reared on a farm. There’s no doubt however, all 10 finalists have got a thirst to work and succeed in this diverse industry and who knows, we may have even discovered the next NFU president or future Farmers Weekly award winner in our line-up.

The apprentices' every move will be under the watchful eye of the judging panel, but at the end it all boils down to the judges picking one winner who will walk away with a whopping £10,000. This year the judging panel consists of Farmers Weekly’s editorial director Jane King; Lowther Estates director of farming, Richard Price and Will Gemmill, head of farming at Strutt and Parker.

Commenting on this year’s finalists, Ms King said: “We are very excited about this year’s series, as the 10 finalists really showcase just how dynamic and innovative people in this industry are and we need more people like this.

“When we launched the Farmers Apprentice two years ago, the aim was to showcase the range of skills and careers that exist in agriculture and what it takes to be a modern day farmer. We hope that this series will continue to build on that and open the public’s eyes to the dynamism of this fabulous industry,” she said.

Farmers Apprentice 2014 promises a unique examination of what it takes to succeed in farming- heads, hands and heart in equal measure. So be sure not to miss the laughter, tears, tension, and relationships unfold as the girls and boys go head to head in the first episode of the series. Watch the first episode now at www.farmersapprentice.co.uk.


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