National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 June 2016

Selby YFC in Yorkshire have earned themselves some vital funding by becoming one of the first club's to complete the YFC "Countryside Challenge". The club took it upon themselves to launch a community project in their local area and qualified for funding as part of the NFYFC's Youth Social Action initiative.

Here is Selby YFC Chair, Georgina Saxon, to explain how her club got involved with the Countryside Challenge. 

"Selby Young Farmers’ Club chose to become involved with Selby Council events, meetings and projects to support their Food Festivals and Farmers Markets.    

"The club has attended the monthly Farmers Market along with other one off events. As well as using it to promote the club to get more members, the club feels they can also use this opportunity as a chance to promote buying British and backing their local farmers / businesses. We have taken tractors, samples of crops and other demonstrations and used it as a chance to educate people on farming and it has been received well by the public who are always keen to come and talk to us!

"As a result the club is now seen as an important voice of the local area and has seen membership improve, more opportunities for the club to get involved in and links to other groups / local people have been really beneficial. We are now being asked to be involved in lots of local events such as other community run fun days, food festivals and ‘meet the producer days’ where people can get more in touch with local business and the club is seen as an asset to these types of events. Members are also being asked to participate in Selby Community Trust meetings in order to bring fresh views and ideas and the views of a younger generation who are keen to have an impact on their local area.

"The rural police team have also seen us at the Farmers Market and saw it as an opportunity to speak to us about rural crime and how we can have an impact on them cracking down on it. They called in on their way past and discussed their new rural police team who are keen to increase their presence in the rural community, we talked about our local issues and they were able to answer our questions, now both groups know each other it is a great opportunity for both groups to work together. We find social media a great way to stay connected with groups like this, we have met many people at the market who want to connect with us. One of our members even did a talk on farming to the Selby U3A (older citizens of Selby) and we have had more requests to work with other local organisations, it is a fantastic chance for people to do public speaking for real! 

"Selby Council have been really supportive, they give us a space at the monthly Farmers Market for free and will support any ideas we have, we are looking to possibly do a tractor pull through the town for their Food Festival this year and they are keen to help us pull off any displays / demonstrations which will engage with the public as they really do see us as an asset to their events. We draw people to the market place with the tractor, we often get feedback from parents who say as soon as the children see the tractor at the other end of town they want to come down straight away! This is brilliant feedback for us!

"We have found people are keen to come and talk to us, some want to talk about how they were involved in farming when they were young and some want to learn more about the machinery / technology or the crops grown locally and what they go to produce. There is a real interest in agriculture at the moment and we feel we can engage people.

"We feel this is also a fantastic chance to get people on board with buying British and where possible local and how they should support local businesses, people are keen to talk to us and it has been received well by people. The Selby branch of the NFU have also been very supportive of our work, they have provided free materials to give out, which really helps to back up what we are speaking to people about. We have things for children, including activity books on farming, seeds to plant and cow print pencils which are great to give away to children, it makes them smile and the parents really appreciate the members making an effort to make their children happy. We also have information to back up our buy British message, including great recipes and information on the countryside around us and why it is important to back British agriculture if you want to enjoy the countryside.  

"We have also found that engaging with younger children has also been beneficial as although a lot of the children are under the YFC age range we feel we are again educating families about the Young Farmer organisation and people who wouldn’t normally get to learn about the organisation are seeing the great things it achieves. We are now seeing ‘regulars’ who come each month with their children for the face painting, they have already learnt so much about what we do just by chatting to the members whilst they sit for face painting and have got a real rapport with people they see each month. 

"The skills all the members have gained is fantastic. At first people may find it hard to talk to people in the street but we have found that all of our members, even the youngest at 10 years old have gained confidence and are now comfortable with talking to people. They have developed their skills and improve each time, even getting to know people who come see us every month! We have found people’s different talents and put them to good use, some people prefer to do the face painting and some prefer just talking to people, but what we have all found is what a great sense of achievement and pride you get at the end of the day! We have found that the public really do miss that sense of community and being able to go shopping and have a chat with someone, with no pressure on trying to sell them something, many people now see us at the market and just come over to talk to us, some wanting to hear about what we have been doing and some just want to tell us what they have been doing, I really feel like we are developing a great community spirit in Selby and it is something I hope the youngers members and the public will grow up with and see it as the norm and keep it going. Because this project has gone so well we don’t have an end date, we plan to keep attending the monthly Farmers Markets and other events, the benefit to the club and the members has been huge, we never thought it would develop into something so great!"

In December 2015, the NFYFC received funding from the Cabinet Office and Pears Foundation to progress its work in Youth Social Action. As such, the Federation is now looking to support five community projects per quarter until the summer of 2017. Clubs could qualify for up to £400 worth of funding by taking part in the Countryside Challenge.

If you're club is interested in getting involved, head over to our Countryside Challenge page for information.


30 June 2016

The NFYFC’s Agriculture & Rural Issues (AGRI) Steering Group met during the NFYFC’s Council weekend to discuss the impact that Brexit may have on the future of the industry. The Group is calling on all Young Farmers to ask what they would like to see in a potential “British agricultural policy” and help to shape their future.

The Steering Group is now developing ‘young farmer’ agricultural policy points to share with Defra and industry organisations and has a meeting scheduled with the Defra Minister in October. The Group also called upon the rest of NFYFC’s Council to actively consider the Federation’s future membership of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA).

Sam Dilcock, Chairman of the AGRI Steering Group, said: “Like the rest of the UK, our members had varying opinions about the future of Britain within the European Union. But now that we know the result of this referendum, we have an amazing opportunity to make sure that our voice is heard in future policy-making. As a Federation, we must act quickly and do everything we can to secure our place at the negotiating table. If any members have contributions for a potential British agricultural policy, we would strongly urge them to share their views with their AGRI representative or NFYFC.”

All five of NFYFC’s Steering Groups met over the weekend of 25th and 26th June to help shape the future of the federation. For more information about what was discussed over the weekend, click here.


30 June 2016

A Young Farmer from Herefordshire is smiling after being declared the winner of Honda's ‘ATV selfie’ social media competition. Peter Brewer of Welsh Newton YFC is now the proud owner of a new TRX420 FM with electric power steering (EPS) after being announced as the competition winner at the Annual Convention in Blackpool.  

The 25-year-old Young Farmer was one of 6,200 members who attended the 84th Annual Convention on 6-8 May. The social media competition provided an opportunity for Honda to interact and engage with young farmers by getting them to take their best farming selfies using the hashtag ‘#HONDAYF .
 
“Honda is proud to continue its support and partnership with the National Federation of Young Farmers as the organisations official ATV Safety Ambassador," explained Steve Morris, Head of Honda Power Products. "Our partnership is focused on promoting ATV safety with Young Farmers, by connecting local approved Honda dealers with Young Farmers Clubs across England and Wales.
 
“Big congratulations to Peter. We hope he will enjoy the new TRX420 FM and find it to be a useful and practical vehicle on the farm."

"I would like to thank Honda for running a competition at the NFYFC Annual Convention," enthused James Eckley, Chief Officer, NFYFC. "It offered YFC members the opportunity to not only to win an ATV but importantly to be trained how to operate the machine properly and safely as the prize included the much respected EASI training course.  We are thrilled that Peter has won the prize and  NFYFC is very proud to be partnered with Honda with ATV safety being at the heart of what we want to achieve together."
 
Brewer was over the moon to hear he had won the prize. “When I was first told that I had won the competition I was really excited, but yet nervous as I thought someone was having a laugh! We had joked about winning the ATV so much at the Annual Convention it was really unexpected when we did win.
 
“The new ATV will be very useful on the family farm, and has already been put to good use moving electric fences for the dairy cattle and will also be used for the arable business applying slug pellets and broadcasting cover crops.

“This year’s annual convention was another big success, as well as the usual fun and party atmosphere the level of talent from around the country on show in the competition finals was exceptional!”
 
Honda partners with EASI, offering a free training course with every new Honda ATV purchased at no extra cost. This initiative will help aid vehicle safety on the farm as this is a huge concern for the NFYFC. According to statistics released by the Health & Safety Executive, the largest number of worker deaths in agriculture is caused by moving vehicles, accounting for nearly a fifth of fatalities over the last five years.


30 June 2016

County Chairmen and Vice Chairmen will once again be given access to vital training at the NFYFC's Chairmen's weekend in November. Newly-elected chairmen and vice-chairmen can embark on the training weekend at Ilam Hall in Derbyshire on 26 and 27 November to improve the skills they need to lead a County.

The weekend, which is sponsored by Rutland Electric Fencing, is a great opportunity to share best practices, develop new skills and support other County Chairmen in their roles.

Last year's event was a huge success for those members who attended: 

 

The NFYFC would like to thank Rutland Electric Fencing for their sponsorship of the event and their continued support for Young Farmers. For every energiser sold during 2016, £2 goes directly to Young Farmers. Head over to their website for further information.

More information about this year's Chairman's weekend will be available in due course. To book your place, please email Jodie Green, NFYFC's Youth Development Officer.


24 June 2016

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union will undoubtedly cause a period of uncertainty about the future of farming and youth development in this country. However, the NFYFC is determined to act quickly to support all of its members who may be affected by this morning’s result.

The NFYFC’s five steering groups, including the Agriculture & Rural Issues (AGRI) steering group, will meet tomorrow (Saturday 25th June) to discuss the result of the EU Referendum. The steering groups will also discuss proposed policy requirements and proposals with all of the NFYFC’s Council representatives.

An AGRI representative will be in attendance at the NFU’s extraordinary Council meeting on 1st July. We have also scheduled meetings with representatives from Defra. We look forward to working with industry stakeholders to build a solid British agricultural policy and with other youth organisations to ensure that the needs of today's young people are not tarnished by this result.

The NFYFC has been delighted to see so many Young Farmers actively participating in this campaign. Members have expressed a wide range of differing opinions about how this vote might affect the future of the country. But now is the time to unite and work together to ensure that our members' voices are heard, so that they can continue to work in a strong and viable industry.


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