National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

28 October 2016

She’s a bit of a hovercraft fan and wants to learn to drive a tractor... Meet NFYFC’s new Board of Management Chairman Heather Black who has a career working with young people in the countryside through teaching, youth work and as a charity CEO. Heather will be helping steer your Federation to ensure we’re legal , safe and ethically sound. We quizzed Heather on her YFC credentials...

Why did you want to be involved with Young Farmers’ Clubs?
Saw the advert and thought that would be a fun thing to do, I have good memories of working with Young Farmers over the years!

Where do you live and who with?
West coast of Snowdonia (the house with the hovercraft outside!) with my husband (Ewan), Fraggle the dog and a very naughty puppy called Moli who is going through a very adolescent phase!

What’s the most amazing fact you have learnt about YFCs so far?
They discuss the price of tractors at breakfast! Nearly everyone I tell about my new role was a Young Farmer once or has a story to tell. What a great legacy!

What do you hope to bring to the Federation in your role as Chairman of the Board of Management?
Help the organisation to continue to improve its governance structures, support new initiatives from the membership using my knowledge and skills and ensure that Young Farmers are providing a voice for the needs of rural young people in current affairs.

If you could enter any of our YFC competitions, which would it be and why?
Do you have one for hovercraft driving? Floral Art ... I like gardening and using different plants (particularly herbs) and I did get my Brownie flower arranging badge many years ago! I am currently on a competitions committee for Hovercraft racing so I am looking forward to seeing how YFC runs its events...maybe I can pinch some ideas!

Have you been to any of the countries on our YFC Travel programme and if so which country did you like the most?
Been to Australia, Austria, Germany, Scotland, USA and Africa..... Australia it has regular, predictable sunshine when you want it most (GB wintertime)

Is there a farming skill you wish you could learn and why?
To drive a tractor.... I have just learnt to drive my quad this summer so looking for something a bit bigger now!

Tell us something about yourself that not many people know about you
I once was the lead singer of a band called 'Heather and the scone eaters!'

27 October 2016

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) has appointed Heather Black as its new Chairman of its Board of Management.

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.

Members of the NFYFC Council officially approved Heather’s new appointment at their Council meeting this weekend (23 October) in Coventry.

Heather has worked at Somerset Rural Youth Project for 16 years and has been its CEO since 2000, following an early career in teaching and working with youth centres and small charities. More recently Heather was the Head of Outward Bound’s Aberdyfi Centre and has just completed her Level 7 Diploma at Bangor University.

Heather has also chaired the Rural Youth Network, been a committee member for Children in Need (South and West) and been a charity trustee for Learning South West.

Heather, is married with two children, and is a keen outdoor enthusiast and enjoys the countryside. While she has never been a member of a Young Farmers’ Club, Heather has worked with YFCs at a local and national level.

Heather Black, Chairman of NFYFC’s Board of Management, said: “I have a lot of respect for YFCs and their members and I am excited about this new challenge. I am looking forward to sharing my experience with NFYFC to help them develop a stronger strategy for the future. I have a lot to learn about the organisation and I am looking forward to getting out there and meeting members.”

James Eckley, Chief Officer of NFYFC, said: “We are delighted that Heather Black is the new Chairman of NFYFC’s Board of Management. We are eager to use Heather’s experience with Somerset’s Rural Youth Project to help us develop the Federation and shape its future.”

Frank Chester was the former Chairman of the Board of Management and he stepped down at the meeting in Coventry following four years at the helm. Vice Chairman Julia Pointon also completed her term of four years on the NFYFC Board of Management.

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.


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