National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

28 August 2015

A team of 12 Young Farmers from England and Wales have written an account of their experiences of the NFYFC U18 Tall Ships trip. The 5-day expedition saw the team set off from Portsmouth on 5th August, before sailing around the Isle of Wight before heading towards the Channel Islands.

During the trip, the team each took it in turns to write up a diary of their experiences, including treasure hunts, battling with jellyfish and dealing with some choppy waters - with unpleasant consequences!

Group leader, Kirsty Johnson of Buckinghamshire YFC, said: "I've had many highlights in my YFC experience and this is very much up there. It encompasses everything the movement is about: learning, developing a skill (we all got the option to buy a RYA Start sailing certificate at the end of the trip as we'd all completed the syllabus required) and, at the same time, having fun with like-minded people. If it wasn't for YFC I wouldn't have known this fantastic experience existed; as a result I've now been asked to be a Tall Ships volunteer, so more trips for the future."

Read about the team's journey below. You can also see the best photos from the trip on the NFYFC Facebook page. 

U18 Tall Ships blog

Day 1

Today we arrived at Portsmouth harbour to find the tall ships boat anchored to the harbour. After we all got settled in with our bags we had an induction of how the boat works and where we will be spending the next 5 days. Once we were all set we left Portsmouth in the direction of Cowes, located on the Isle of Wight. We all had individual jobs that we were assigned to before we set off allowing us to get a feel for how we actually sail. After an hour journey we all arrived at Cowes, and once we anchored onto the harbour we started to prepare the evening meal, where we all sat down 30-40 minutes later to enjoy chicken fajitas. After dinner we went for a walk round Cowes.

Sally Leese (Staffordshire YFC) & Annie Peters (Pembrokeshire YFC)

Day 2

Today we had an early start, as we had to be up at 5:30am. We set off from Cowes and went to Poole Bay. It was quite was an experience, as the sea was very choppy. As warned, many people struggled to cope with this. The weather soon began to brighten up and the sea settled. As we came into Poole, we stopped for lunch and lowered the anchor in Studland Bay. After a nice relaxing lunch, we headed into Poole. On the way into Poole, we passed some very expensive houses and one of these belongs to a famous football manager. Also on the way in, a lifeboat came and practised coming alongside our boat so they could get one of their crew members onto us. It was very interesting. Once we were tied up and finished packing up the boat, we looked around the town. It was then time to go back to the boat and have our fish & chip dinner. After dinner, we had a shower, played cards and watched the fireworks display, which was an amazing sight. I don’t think sailing is my thing, but I am having fun and its good sitting on the side of the boat chilling.

Ollie Baggott (Leicestershire & Rutland YFC) and Rebecca Jeyes  (Warwickshire YFC)

Day 3

Hello all!

We left Poole at 7:30am and crossed the Channel in glorious sunshine, some of us were lucky enough to see some dolphins in the distance. There was no wind and so were unable to sail, which pleased Harry. As we motored along, we learnt some knots and some emergency stuff. Halfway across the channel we crossed paths with lots of big ships going in different directions.  Fortunately today was a sick free day! ;) Everyone enjoyed lunch on deck, a slap up meal of baked beans and a pasty. Cleaning away some of the crew learnt how to wash up (JAMES and HARRY) under careful supervision of others (Sally).  The rest of us sunbathed (or burned (Lucy and Ollie)) on deck.

We anchored in Braye harbour, Alderney at 17:50. Dinner was appetising, and was sweet and sour chicken with noodles. For pudding we had apple pie (Mr Kipling’s) and custard, this was Ollie’s first encounter with an apple pie.

At 19:00 we got the water taxi to shore and explored the whole ‘town’ under 5 minutes. And taxied back to the boat at 21:30. 

Night All!

Lucy Bland (Derbyshire YFC), James Bowden (Oxfordshire YFC) and Olivia Lea (Warwickshire YFC)

Day 4

Hello All

We started the day with a treasure hunt: boys v girls. This involved us wondering around Alderney for an hour looking for lots of different things. This included a planking photo, tackiest souvenir for under a £1 and the prettiest shell. The highlights were a not so sober local sticking an ice cream on his nose for the boys to have the funniest selfie and Ben planking on potatoes… THE GIRLS WON overall!!!!

After the results were decided, Ollie and I went for a race into the sea to see who could go the furthest, only to be interrupted by a swarm of jellyfish… Ollie got stung on the armpit. We swam and more of us got stung. At lunch, James chopped onions and Harry attempted to (whilst multitasking and trying not to cut his fingers off), it was a very emotional lunch prep, with sweat and tears.

On the journey from Alderney to Cherbourg, due to the fact that we went swimming and forgot to re-apply sun cream, many of us got burnt (HARRY and only HARRY). Ollie had a sleep (everyday). On arrival in Cherbourg, excellent parallel parking was displayed by the Skipper, as the not so friendly American boat refused to move up a bit.

Once secure in Cherbourg, we put the boat to bed. Some of us then went for showers, whilst the others prepared dinner. After dinner, we went around the town, but unfortunately everything was shut.

Tomorrow we will be heading back to Portsmouth as our trip has nearly come to an end.

Harry Wright (Oxfordshire YFC) and Olivia Lee (Warwickshire YFC)

Day 5

Myself, Sarah and two crew walked into Cherbourg to buy fresh croissants for breakfast and baguettes for lunch and then set sail just after 8am UK time heading back towards Portsmouth. We were able to sail 3/4's of the way before turning on the 'donkey' aka the engine as there was very little wind.  We packed the sails up in the Solent before going along the coast to experience some night sailing. 

Kirsty Johnson (Buckinghamshire YFC & Group Leader)



28 August 2015

Mule rides, rodeos and tubing were just some of the amazing experiences that Gloucestershire FYFC's Poppy Stephens enjoyed on her recent excursion to Canada.

In December 2014, Poppy, 21 and from Westbury-on-Severn YFC, was one of three members selected from a large number of applicants to travel to Canada, as part of the NFYFC's travel programme and partnership with 4-H Canada, one of the country's biggest youth organisations.

Having hosted a member of 4-H Canada for a week, Poppy made the journey across the Atlantic on 23rd July to spend four weeks experiencing farming life in another country and taking in some of the breathtaking sights - and she was given an amazing welcome by her Canadian counterparts.

"The first weekend of which I stayed in Manitoba, was spent at the ‘North West Roundup Exhibition’" said Poppy. "This was a 3-day Rodeo weekend which consisted of Bareback, Tie Down Roping, Saddle Bronc, Steer Wrestling, Ladies Barrel Racing, Team Roping, Bull Riding, Wild Pony / Horse Race and Mutton Busting.

"To welcome me to Canada in true Cowgirl style, the Rodeo team organised for me to parade the grand stand in a Chuckwagon and ride one of the few English horses prior to the races, whilst the commentator explained the 4 – H Discovery programme to the audience. I declined the offer of riding a Western horse as after a practice I decided my seat wasn’t the best and went against the English technique which I have been brought up with!"

During her visit, Poppy quickly noticed the differences between farming life in Canada and the UK.

"In Canada, it is common to have fairly big farms and for the farmers to have two jobs unlike Britain. I was lucky enough to see moose (Canada’s national animal) roaming the fields and roads on the odd occasion throughout the day and evening. Buffalo are farmed on a large scale in Canada, this was evident from the 400 head of buffalo safari which I toured, and I was fortunate to sample the buffalo burger which was the local delicacy across the country, seeing it from field to fork!"

But this adventure wasn't just a learning experience for Poppy, as she was also given the opportunity to enjoy Canadian culture and take in one of the country's most iconic landmarks - Niagara Falls.

"To take in even more of the beautiful Canadian picturesque scenery I went on a mule trail ride, spent a day trekking around multiple lakes, tubing, fishing and ending the day by relaxing in the Jacuzzi. This was a good day spent meeting other 4 – H members.

"With a few days left of my trip in Canada I thought it would be worthwhile to visit Toronto. Whilst in Toronto I went on a day tour to Niagara Falls on the ‘Hornblower’ Niagara Cruise, which is known as ‘Maid of the Mist’, to view the spectacular U.S. Falls and Canadian Niagara Falls. The CN Tower was another attraction which I visited during my trip to Toronto 447 meters above Toronto, and a 360-degree view shows the complete contrast from the prairies of Manitoba and the city of Toronto with the far as the eye can see to Niagara Falls.

"Overall my month spent exploring Canada was incredible, breathtaking, and a once in a life time opportunity. Thank you to my host family, NFYFC and 4-H Canada for making this discovery trip to Canada a memorable lifetime experience. It’s fair to say I’ve met like-minded friends for life even though they live 3,800 miles away!"

Poppy's exchange partner, Katie-Jo Stehr, has written a blog about her visit to the UK, which you can read here.

Details for 2016's YFC Travel programme will be available on the NFYFC website in due course.

25 August 2015

We are thrilled, once again, to be giving away 10 pairs of show entry tickets to the fabulous show Your Horse Live - The UK’s largest equine shopping event of the year - taking place at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire 14th & 15th November. 

This year’s Your Horse Live is set to be a shopping extravaganza with over 300 stands offering great bargains for you and your horse, alongside amazing entertainment from the world’s best riders and trainers, including elite dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin.

Over two pack days you can also enjoy:

  • Live demonstrations across 2 arenas
  • The chance to meet and  greet celebrities
  • Visit gorgeous horses in need of new homes in the Rescue Village
  • Soak up expert advice in the Equine Learning Zone and much, much more!

To win you simply need to tell us why you love being a Young Farmer in 50 words or less. Simply email your answer over to, stating your full name, age, club and email address and start your message with: "I love being a Young Farmer because...".

The deadline for entries is Friday 23rd October. You must be aged between 10 and 26 to enter. The 10 winners will be chosen at random and each receive one pair of tickets to the show. The winners tickets will be distributed via a unique redemption code sent by email. 

For more show info go to

11 August 2015

Two Young Farmers have won the opportunity to develop their future in agriculture, thanks to a joint initiative between NFYFC and Massey Ferguson.

Max Rees from Maendy YFC in Glamorgan (pictured right) and Poppy Burrough of Marshwood Vale YFC in Dorset (pictured left) were selected from multiple entries to become ambassadors for Massey Ferguson's 'Home Grown Talent' initiative.

Home Grown Talent is a joint project between Massey Ferguson and the NFYFC. It aims to recognise and support young people who want to be part of the agricultural industry but are unsure about the path they would like to take at this early stage of their career development.

This new initiative was open to Young Farmers Club members aged between 10 and 16 who are keen to pursue a future in agriculture. 

As ambassadors, Max and Poppy will have a tailored programme created for them by Massey Ferguson. This programme will support them to learn more about the industry and hopefully give them an idea about what they would like to do in the future.

Included in this tailor made programme will be a trip to Massey Ferguson’s factory in Beauvais, France, work experience and activities with Massey Ferguson, an expenses paid trip to an agriculture / trade show and the opportunity to spend time with a Massey Ferguson mentor.

Max and Poppy, both aged 14, have expressed their gratitude at being chosen for this initiative.

Max Rees commented: “I really feel that this opportunity could change my life. I don't come from a generation of family farmers where farms are handed down in succession. I will not inherit a farming business and so it is up to me to make sure I have a place within the agricultural industry. Becoming a Massey Ferguson ambassador will give me that direction, experience and knowledge that is so difficult to obtain at my age. I will ensure that I make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity. I am thrilled to win. It’s going to be an enjoyable experience.”

Poppy is equally enthusiastic about the potential of her role as Home Grown Talent Ambassador. "I feel that agriculture is still widely viewed as a male profession,” she said. “Being female makes me more determined to encourage other girls who do not think that agriculture is a female job sector. Encouraging other girls to get involved in agriculture would mean a lot to me as I would play my part in developing the industry to include everyone. I was surprised and glad to hear that I had won. This is going to be a valuable experience I can use when going to college, university and for various jobs.”

Lindsay Haddon, advertising and sales promotion manager of Massey Ferguson, said: “The Home Grown Talent initiative was launched as part of Massey Ferguson’s dedication to help support the next generation of farmers with their careers in agriculture. We were extremely impressed by the applications we received from Max and Poppy and the mature and passionate answers they gave about why they wanted to be involved with this initiative. We hope that this gives them the leg up that they need in their future careers and I wish them both  the very best of luck in their roles as Massey Ferguson ambassadors.” 

Plans are already in place to hold the 'Home Grown Talent' initiative in 2016. Continue to visit the NFYFC webpage for further information.

11 August 2015

A seismic change in the way food is sold is essential or there could be dire consequences for the farming industry and rural economy, the UK’s farming unions said today.

Farming leaders, including NFYFC's AGRI Steering Group Chairman, Lynsey Martin, have jointly urged Government, retailers and processors, and the European Union not to ignore the warning signs that farming was in a state of emergency.

Lynsey attended the meeting as a representative for the next generation of dairy farmers and all Young Farmers who fear for the future of the dairy industry. She met with the four union Presidents of the NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru and Ulster Farmers Union together with FFA, TFA and CLA. Between them, they issued a joint statement asking for action in the following areas:

Government:  “We would urge farm ministers across the UK to meet urgently. They need to admit that something has gone fundamentally wrong in the supply chain and take remedial action. In general, voluntary codes are not delivering their intended purpose. Government needs to take action to ensure that contracts to all farmers are longer-term and fairer in apportioning risk and reward. At the moment in many contracts all the risk is put on the farmer with very little of the reward. Government also needs to urgently ensure that rules are put in place regarding labelling so that it is clear and obvious which products are imported and which are British.  We are all looking for government to ensure that British products are marketed abroad and that new markets are opened up for our high quality British food.”

Retailers: “Stop devaluing fresh British food like milk purely to get customers through the door. Start demonstrating right now how you are ensuring that ALL the food you are selling comes from a farm which has been paid a fair price. The British public has said time and time again that they want British food. Unless farmers’ returns are sustainable and you promote British food and label it properly the future of our supply is at risk. If you can’t demonstrate what you are doing for all food then we look to you to commit to changing.”

European Union: “There is an emergency meeting of the Council of Agriculture Ministers on September 7. We are calling for UK ministers to stand up for British farming at that meeting. In particular ensure that European safety nets are at a proper level and do something to underwrite the short term credit position of vulnerable farmers.”

British public: “Thank you for your support.  Please keep asking retailers what they are doing to ensure their farmers receive a fair price and above all keep buying British.”

Farmers: “We know that many of you are going through desperate times and we are working on your behalf. Keep being visible. Keep the British public on our side. It’s time to Back British Farming and the farming unions are looking to Government and retailers to take action now. Until they do, farmers will be making their presence felt, where they feel there is unfairness in the supply chain locally, nationally and in Europe from now and including September 7.”

10 August 2015

Whitley Chapel YFC continued its success in national competitions with victory in the men's tug of war finals at the Tenbury Show in Worcestershire. 

Having won this year's pantomime competition at April's Annual Convention, the Northumberland side (pictured right) pulled out all of the stops to claim victory, owing its success to fellow county member Stu Ridley.

Stu, who was the subject of the 'Stay Strong Stu' campaign, died of an inoperable brain tumour last month at the age of 25. Many of the Whitley Chapel team went to school with Stu.

Matthew Hope, from the Whitley Chapel team, said: "The team was really strengthened at the beginning of the year. We begun this year's training in February around the same time Stu was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. The team got together, doing the Wot-Not run, (a hand powered rail rail cart) from the Scottish border to the Northumberland County show, raising over two thousand pounds for the 'Stay Strong Stu' campaign. The team really feels that Stu really helped to inspire us throughout the year.

"The team could not be more shocked about the win to be perfectly honest. The victory really means a huge amount to the team. We are all good mates who just live a stones throw from each other and all help each other out when ever needs be, so for us all to have accomplished this together is an unbelievable feeling."

Whitley Chapel beat Bilsborrow YFC of Lancashire in the final to claim victory, with Bridgwater YFC of Somerset coming third and Waterhouses YFC of Staffordshire finishing fourth.

Meanwhile, Tenbury YFC ladies team came out on top in their home event, beating Penistone YFC of Yorkshire in the final. Haldon Group YFC of Devon came third with Hermon YFC, Pembrokeshire finishing fourth.

Trecastle YFC of Brecknock came first in the junior tournament having beaten Grayrigg YFC of Cumbria in the final. But there was good news for the Cumbria side, after they were chose to represent England in the GENSB International Tug-of-War tournament in Holland at the end of August. In the third-placed match. Worcestershire's Upton-upon-Severn YFC beat Hope Valley YFC of Derbyshire.

A full list of Results is available on the NFYFC website. You can see all of the best photos from the competition on the NFYFC Facebook page


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