National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

16 January 2015

The opinions of young people in agriculture are more important than ever, said delegates at this year’s Oxford Farming Conference.

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) was once again well represented at the Conference, thanks to sponsorship from the Worshipful Company of Farmers. Lynsey Martin, vice chairman of the Agri Steering Group, and Ed Ford, chairman of Essex YFC, attended the event, generally considered one of the biggest events in the British agricultural calendar.

The annual event was attended by some of the biggest names in British agriculture and politics, including Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Lynsey managed to put forward a question to the MP, asking what her plans were for implementing policies that help young farmers and new entrants into the industry.

Speaking about the event, Lynsey said: “There was a lot of talk about new entrants in to agriculture. I think we should be seizing this opportunity, while everyone is listening, to promote young people and new entrants in agriculture and to look at how we all promote ourselves within the industry to make it a more attractive career prospect.

“I learnt from the fantastic atmosphere that people do want to listen to young people in the industry and that approaching people doesn’t have to be scary! This was a fantastic opportunity for me personally making so many new and influential contacts within the industry and meeting like-minded and bright new entrants into the industry. This certainly would not have been possible without being sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Farmers.”

The event also saw Young Farmers take part in an enthralling debate about whether intensive agriculture was still sustainable. Charlotte Johnston of Warwickshire FYFC and Chris Manley, vice Chair of NFYFC, were on opposing sides, but spoke passionately about the pros and cons of the practice. The majority of the house supported the notion that intensive agriculture was still a viable option in modern agriculture.

One of the key points that Ed Ford took from the conference is that succession is extremely important for any young entrants into agriculture and that those who purchase farms out-perform those who inherit.

Ed said: “Succession is one of the biggest challenges facing young entrants coming into agriculture. It is vitally important that succession is not delayed and that Young Farmers secure their place on the family farm.”

Rosie Carne, Almoner and Liveryman at the Worshipful Company of Farmers, commented: "Lynsey and Ed were a real credit to the organisation with their active participation during Q&A sessions and interaction with other delegates. They are outstanding role models for young people coming in to the farming industry”. 

NFYFC has teamed up with Savills to provide Succession workshops for its members and their families. The next workshop will be held in Oswestry, Shropshire on 19th March. For more information, please visit: http://www.nfyfc.org.uk/successionevent.


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