National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

25 October 2016

A new Chairman of the Board of Management and a new date for National Young Farmers’ Week were just some of the changes at NFYFC’s October Council meeting.

Members from across England and Wales met in Coventry to discuss future plans for competitions, Annual Convention, travel and agricultural issues that will all have an impact on clubs and counties.

Among the decisions was the announcement that the competition theme for 2017/18 is Magic and Mystery and that Line Dancing is to be replaced with Disco Dancing.
There will also be a new sheep shearing competition to be held at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Chair of the Competitions Steering Group Oonagh O’Neill also gave some interesting statistics on the competition participation rates of members.  The information showed that three in four YFC members get involved in the competitions programme with the most popular competitions being sport and Tug of War!

In the Events and Marketing Steering Group, members discussed a new look for Ten26, new social media channels they would like to see NFYFC participating in and National Young Farmers’ Week.

Council agreed to move the date of the 2017 National Young Farmers’ Week to commence from Monday 25 September so that it did not coincide with competitions from the 2016-17 year.

Bands and fancy dress themes were also debated for the 2017 Annual Convention, which will all be revealed after the next Council meeting in February.

The group revealed that Farm Animals won the online fancy dress poll for the YFC Ski trip and Council agreed that the 2018 location for YFC Ski would be Val D’Isere in France.

The Personal Development Steering Group, chaired by Mark Hurst, reviewed training and travel and are looking to put a working group together to focus on hosting a European Rally in the next three years.

Chairman of the Youth Forum Amy McWhirter delivered her report at the Council meeting, championing younger members of the organisation and saying that a review is happening about the YFC offer for junior members.

In the Agriculture and Rural Issues Steering Group (AGRI), members discussed the sensitive issue of succession and how they could support members. A video will be made available soon for members.

It was an emotional report from the Chairman of the Board of Management as Frank Chester stepped down from his post after four years serving the Federation. Members presented him with an engraved decanter and a YFC branded milking apron!

Frank said: “It has been an amazing experience being your Board of Management Chairman for the last four years. I have just been a small part of simply the best team. YFC is without doubt the greatest rural youth organisation!”

Vice Chairman Julia Pointon also completed her four year term on the NFYFC Board of management and also received gifts and praise from members.

New Board Chairman Heather Black was appointed during the meeting and said she was looking forward to learning more about Young Farmers’ Clubs. Heather, who lives in Llanegryn, Gwynedd in Wales, has a career working with young people in the countryside through teaching, youth work and as a charity CEO.

NFYFC’s Council meets three times a year to make plans for future activities and to develop NFYFC nationally. Elected representatives from each county of the Federation give their input on behalf of their members to discuss issues as wide ranging as the theme for the fancy dress at Convention to the suggested competitions for the year ahead.

Any major decisions are then voted through (or declined) at a formal Council meeting with all the elected Council representatives.

To find out more about this latest Council meeting read the full report online and to ask your County Office for information if you would like to stand for a future position.

20 October 2016

A lack of financial backing for young farmers was highlighted as a major inhibitor for young people wanting to get into farming in the next five years, post-Brexit, an online consultation by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) found.

The survey ¬– ‘Considerations for a Future British Agricultural Policy’ – gathered views from young people involved in farming following the decision this summer for Britain to leave the European Union. Topics covered included future farm business culture; employment skills and training; farming regulations; building farm businesses; and farming subsidies. A desire for parity with the EU on animal welfare legislation and maintenance of effective environmental conditions were key considerations for future farming.

NFYFC office holders will discuss the survey results with Defra so that young people’s views are considered as part of a future British Agricultural Policy.

Availability of finance was highlighted as one of the most important issues in the next five years of having a farm business career. Responses included: 
•    39% of respondents stated availability of finance for farm investments
•    29% stated availability of farm land or farm buildings
•    21% stated availability of working capital
•    10% stated the availability of ‘other resources’.

NFYFC’s Agricultural and Rural Issues Chairman Sam Dilcock said: “Getting started in farming has many challenges.  We’ve now got the Land Partnerships Service, to help bring together farmers and land with new entrants and business ideas, which is great. But we need to look at short- and long-term finance too – which are especially big barriers to new entrants.”

Feedback showed there was a sense amongst many young farmers that existing land owners and farmers, who have control of the land and an income from subsidy, are a barrier to new entrants who want to establish themselves in business. While the majority of respondents wanted to see subsidies continue – 46% wanted it to continue only for a limited time.

Many of these young farmers do not expect to be given subsidies, but they recognise the unfairness of a system which is loaded against them. Existing farmers are provided with support, but those at the foot of the ladder are not.

The most popular choice for young farmers (35%) was to reduce or remove area-based basic subsidy payments and instead support farmers through grants/loans for farm business investments.

NFYFC’s Vice Chairman Lynsey Martin said: “If the subsidy system is supposed to help farming become more dynamic, to contribute public goods and benefits, then it might do this better if it were not so inextricably tied to land ownership but instead addressed the business needs of established farmers and new entrants alike.”
Finding the right sort of employees in the future was also a concern for Young Farmers as ‘future-employers.’ When asked about the skills most important for developing a farm business, young farmers highlighted the need for business administration skills, with nearly a third highlighting technical skills as important.

•    38% chose business administration skills (e.g. on legal and financial aspects of business operations)
•    30% chose technical skills (e.g. on using EBVs in livestock breeding decisions, or on the safe use of pesticides)
•    24% chose operational business skills (e.g. on understanding customers, market research and innovation)

Whilst there is clearly a diversity of skills needs amongst new entrants to farming, the importance of business administration skills stands out, and ties-in with surveys in previous years which have highlighted this as an important area for young farmers in their first years of business.

NFYFC’s Vice Chair Ed Ford said: “Modern farming equipment requires people with the practical skills as well as the education and understanding to use state-of-the-art machinery. The aging population of farm workers and the perception of careers and opportunities within the industry are still issues that detract from the sector.”

Download the full summary of survey responses.

20 October 2016

An insight into Massey Ferguson and its marketing from the company’s Campbell Scott was part of a packed itinerary for a group of 50 UK young farmers who visited MF’s European headquarters in Beauvais, France.

As guests of Massey Ferguson for two days, delegates from the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC) and Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC), travelled to the Beauvais tractor plant to see a global agricultural machinery company in action, exchange ideas on future policy and visit French college farms.

“There is a big appetite for business skills among young farmers from England, Wales and Scotland and this trip was one of the most popular we have ever organised -  with all the available places snapped up within 48 hours,” says Lynsey Martin, NFYFC vice chair of Council.

Delegates enjoyed a full factory tour taking in the machining and assembly areas at the main Beauvais site as well as cab production at Beauvais 2.

In his presentation Campbell Scott, Director Marketing Services and PR, shared Massey Ferguson’s vision and aspirations for farming and farm machinery manufacturing, and talked about the vital role that marketing and branding plays in business. In an open Question and Answer session, delegates were also able to speak with a panel of key MF senior staff including representatives from Sales and Marketing. 

The following day, the party was hosted by the nearby L’ Institut Polytechnique LaSalle, a flagship institution for  engineering focused on earth, life and environmental sciences, where delegates toured the facility’s livestock and arable farms.

Commenting, Peter Moss who led the SAYFC group said: "Our tour to the Massey Ferguson factory was really interesting and it was fantastic to see the detailed and precise process that is used to manufacture and test the tractors. Gaining an insight into its new range of products and the company’s continued support of UK young farmers showed us Massey Ferguson’s commitment to the agriculture industry for the future."

“It was a great pleasure to welcome the British young farmers to Massey Ferguson’s European Centre of Excellence for Manufacturing and Engineering,” adds Campbell Scott. “Youngsters like these are the future of successful agriculture and have a big job to do balancing the needs of a profitable business and a sustainable environment. The delegates’ thoughtful, intelligent approach combined with their clear passion for farming was exciting and energising to everyone who met them here at Beauvais.”

18 October 2016

Christmas is getting closer and what better way to get your festivities underway than with a FREE pair of tickets to a Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair

We have THREE pairs of tickets to give away for each of the THREE locations of the Country Living Christmas Fairs. You could win a pair of tickets to Glasgow, Harrogate or London. 
The joyful events put the merry into Christmas, and are sure to get you into the mood for the coming yuletide celebrations and New Year’s Eve parties. From stocking fillers to decorations; tasty treats and table accessories, gifts and personal pampering the Country Living Christmas Fairs have something for everyone. The Fair is on at the following locations:

Glasgow at the SECC (17-20 November 2016)

London (9-13 November 2016)

Harrogate at the HIC (1-4 December 2016)

Find out more at
To be entered into our prize draw to win a pair of tickets just email with the name of Santa's red-nosed reindeer.
Include your name and address, contact telephone number and state which location you would like tickets for (Glasgow, London or Harrogate). You must be a current NFYFC member and registered on our database to enter. No cash alternative.
Deadline is 28 October 2016.

You can also save more than 25% on ticket prices with an offer for NFYFC members in our discount area.

17 October 2016

Cookery champions and travel enthusiasts are just some of the YFC members to feature inside the latest issue of Ten26 - NFYFC's members' magazine.

The autumn issue is landing on members' doorsteps this week and includes articles about farming careers post-Brexit, a review of National Young Farmers' Week and the full list of YFC Travel trips for 2017.

There are also updates from clubs across England and Wales including Newton St Cyres, Whitchurch, Blunham, Aberedw, Pontefract, Henley, Eccleshall and Smalley - among others!

Ten26 is getting a makeover for the next issue but we want members' feedback to help make changes. And to say thank you for your feedback, there's a prize draw to win an Apple Watch, courtesy of HOPS Labour Solutions!

You can complete the survey on the NFYFC website and it will only take five minutes to share your views.

04 October 2016

Possibilities for a future ‘lending scheme’ for young farmers and more funding support for start-ups were just two of the major topics discussed at NFYFC’s Know Your Future Market Forum in October.

The event, which attracted 30 key industry figures, next generation initiative representatives and young farmers, was hosted at KUHN’s headquarters in Shropshire.

Presentations and debates explored collaboration, future business opportunities and topics from NFYFC’s post-Brexit survey. There was also plenty of advice on offer for young farmers about getting a job, making savings, finding a joint-venture and building up equity.

AGRI Chair Sam Dilcock said: “The advice throughout the day was to be bold, to make connections at county shows and industry events and to put yourself forward. Be hungry for an opportunity!

"I think everyone agreed it is the collective responsibility of the industry to promote skills, training and future opportunities.”

Among the presenters on the day was Jock Muirhead, an AGRI Steering Group member from Somerset FYFC. He shared his entrepreneurial experience as a 28 year-old tenant farmer running a successful show flock of North Country Cheviot sheep with his fiancée Katherine Bigwood.

Clarke Willis from Anglia Farmers also attended the event and said: “The enthusiasm for Young Farmers at the meeting to grow and develop their farming business was great to see. We need to mentor, support and ensure that funding streams are available to help them flourish.”

Among other positive reactions from industry figures at the Forum was Adam Quinney who tweeted: “Enjoyed the presentation by @tradegovuk_WM at @NFYFC meeting - providing info on your export products in the format/ language of the customer.”

NFYFC is encouraging members to set up their own local agri discussion groups too. Find out more information about setting up an AGRI discussion group.


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