22 December 2014
Young Farmers are once again making their voices heard in Europe, thanks to sponsorship from HOPS Labour Solutions and Mole Valley Farmers. James Hutchinson of Wiltshire YFC (far right) and Tom Wells of Lincolnshire YFC (second from the right) attended the last CEJA working group of the year on 15th-16th December in Brussels. The two day event was filled with a busy agenda, the highlight being the official CEJA position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its positives and negatives for farmers in Europe.
TTIP is primarily a deal to cut tariffs and regulatory barriers to trade between the US and EU countries, making it easier for companies on both sides of the Atlantic to access each other's markets.
While supporters say that TTIP will boost the economy, critics have raised concerns about what impact the partnership will have on food standards. The argument is that the EU has much stricter regulations on GM crops, pesticide use and food additives than the US. They say the TTIP deal could open the EU market to cheaper products with poorer standards, which would mean farmers would be faced with even tougher competition than they already do.
Along with Young Farmers across Europe, both James and Tom gave their views on TTIP and how it would affect Young Farmers in England and Wales, so that CEJA can give advice to MEPs in the future.
The group learnt about what the future holds for Young Farmers, including a new programme called Horizon 2020. This programme is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever organised by the EU, with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.
The meeting also featured deputy Commissioner for 'EXPO 2015', Giancarlo Caratti, presenting preparations for the global event as well as potential opportunities for CEJA involvement and the importance of young farmers to theme. Italian Farm Minister and current President of the Farm Council, Maurizio Martina, addressed CEJA young farmers during the working group announcing the successful adoption of Presidency Conclusions on Young Farmers. You can find out more here: http://www.ceja.eu/ceja-hails-presidency-conclusions-young-farmers/.
19 December 2014
Young Farmers are being encouraged to support a tractor and trailer run, organised by the Energy Now Expo, to raise money for Forage Aid.
Young Farmers Clubs are being asked to help out with the drive, which will take place 12 months after the Somerset flooding crisis.
The run aims to raise over £10,000 for Forage Aid – and is being planned for early February next year. Young farmers are already supporting the event, doing the bulk of the driving on the 170-mile trip, come rain or shine.
The route for the fundraising tractor and trailer run has been finalised and will go through the counties of Somerset, Avon, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire. The rural route will start from Sedgemoor and end in Telford on February 11, the opening day of the Energy Now Expo. Cheques and pledges will be picked up en route, with a series of stops being planned at key renewable energy companies who are based along the way.
Clubs and counties across the country played a pivotal role in coming to the aid of Somerset during the flooding back in February and they are being encouraged to show their support once again.
“Young Farmers are already getting behind the drive,” says Essex County Chairman Ed Ford. “They are keen to see funds raised for Forage Aid, and while there is still some final planning to do, we will soon be at the point where we can announce the route, and some of the drivers who will be taking part.”
“There’s a definite need for a fundraising event that will put money in the bank for Forage Aid,” says event director, David Jacobmeyer. “We saw the wonderful work this team did last year, and are delighted to be working with them in starting something very exciting that will really support farmers in the future.”
Forage Aid was set up by Lincolnshire farmer Andrew Ward (pictured right). Anthony said that is not just about providing feed for stock.
“We want to be ready to help in any emergency,” he says. “We have proved what a handful of farmers spread across the country can pull together in a time of crisis – now we need to step up another gear and offer a service where immediate aid can be co-ordinated when there’s a natural disaster.”
“It’s a reality that access to funding can sometimes take months, and that rural areas and people suffer while paperwork is being processed. Our aim is to step in quickly and help when necessary.”
Some of the first funds raised will be used to develop a Forage Aid website that will allow pledges to be taken on line, and manage some of the significant logistics involved with a national crisis.
With approximately 12 stops planned en route – at both existing renewable energy schemes and places of work – these companies will be challenged to raise a sum of money each to swell the Forage Aid coffers. Activities to raise the funds will be left to individual businesses to plan, and it’s hoped that many of the Energy Now exhibitors will dig deep to add to the funds.
To register for the Energy Now Expo, the renewable energy event behind the fund-raising drive, visit www.energynowexpo.co.uk or call 01293 854405.
17 December 2014
The NFYFC Personal Development Steering Group are putting together some tops tips to help and encourage YFC clubs organise exchanges with other clubs across the country.
If you organise or have been on a inter-club exchange we would love to hear what you think are the top things to consider when organising a trip. What worked well? What would you do differently? What recommendations do you have for other clubs? Please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
16 December 2014
The levy increase, staff management and the importance of communication were just some of the topics discussed at the NFYFC County Chair Day.
County Chairs and Vice-Chairs from across the country descended upon Coventry on Sunday 7th December to discuss best practices and pick up some vital tips that they can bring back to their respective counties.
The theme of the day was 'Kick Start Your Year', with the aim to try and give the chairs and vice-chairs the motivation and confidence they need and how get 2015 off to the best start possible within their counties.
The event, run by NFYFC chair Claire Worden, vice-chair Hannah Talbot and NFYFC staff members, saw a very amicable discussion about the levy increase and how it has been implemented in each county. There were also some good discussions about working with county staff and promoting competition and Agriculture & Rural Affairs to their members.
The day concluded with some hints and tips with regards to communications and using social media at county level.
Ed Ford, chairman of Essex YFC (pictured right) said: "The chairmans training day was a brilliant opportunity to meet like minded people from across the country. It was great to see so much enthusiasm and I took away some really useful information especially on how to get the most from social media which is a very effective way of communicating these days".
For anyone who was unable to attend the event, you can find all of the information from the day, including booking forms for AGRI courses and a guide for using social media here.
County Chairs Day will return in 2015 and details will be released in the new year.
08 December 2014
36 Young Farmers across England and Wales are bracing themselves for the trip of a lifetime in 2015 after being selected for next year's YFC Travel Programme, and there is still a chance to get involved.
The successful NFYFC members attended a YFC Travel Selection Day, sponsored by NFU Mutual, in Coventry on Saturday 6th December. Each of them were put through their paces with a variety of activities and interviews to determine why they were suitable candidates to represent NFYFC around the world.
Angharad Thomas of Shropshire FYFC will be venturing all the way to Australia next year, while Alice Morley of Derbyshire FYFC and Jesslyn Thay of Oxfordshire FYFC (all pictured right) will travel to the other side of the pond and experience agricultural life in America - the newest trip in the YFC Travel Programme.
Michelle Evans, of Rushbury & Cardington YFC in Shropshire, expressed her joy at being selected to go to a homestay trip to Germany in June. Michelle (pictured below, bottom row, far right), who is studying at Harper Adams University, said: "I was quite nervous about going to the interview day as I wasn't sure what to expect. Although it was a very long day, the interview was fine and the panel of judges were really interested in finding out more about me and why I would be a good person to represent YFC overseas. I'm so excited to be going to Germany next summer. After seeing the presentations at the selection day I know that I'm going to have no problem getting along with the members of the German Landjugend!"
As well as homestays, the YFC Travel programme also offers a range of working scholarships and team travel opportunities, with trips ranging from one week to three months. NFYFC has been providing these opportunities for more than 60 years.
The programme is supported by the Young Farmers’ Ambassadors, a group of former YFC travellers who raise money to provide scholarships for future travellers, as well as the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, C Alma Baker Trust and the Australian Bicentennial Trust. Each year YFC Travel continues to develop, adding new and exciting opportunities for YFC members.
A full list of successful applicants can be found here.
Meanwhile, there are still two places available for next year's volunteering trip to India as well as the Tall Ships Sailing Trip.
A YFC Travel Selection Day for the Tall Ships Trip will be held at YFC Centre in Stoneleigh on Sunday 1st February. For full details on the trip and how to apply, click here.
Head over to the NFYFC Facebook page for all of the photos from the event.
05 December 2014
Young Farmers are continuing to take advantage of the essential and free agricultural training that is available to them.
Thanks to funding from Defra, nine Young Farmers descended upon Savills Estate Agents in York on 4th December to learn about different forms of land occupation, including contract farming agreements, Farm Business Tenancies and Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) tenancies.
The training was delivered by Savills agribusiness consultant Richard Morley and Brian Daniel, NatWest’s agricultural relationship manager.
Both carried out presentations to the delegates, covering areas including 'Making best use of viewing days' and 'preparing for budgets'.
The feedback from the delegates who attended was very positive. Some of the comments included:
"Good informative training, which made you work, not just sit and listen."
"Very informative presentations and good knowledge from trainers."
"Useful hearing comments on cash and cashflow."
To learn more about up-and-coming Defra-funded courses, available to NFYFC members, please visit our Courses page.
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