National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

31 October 2016

The deadline for YFC Travel applications is looming and Young Farmers are being encouraged to apply now for an adventure of a lifetime in 2017.

From Homestays in Australia, Canada and Germany to Working holidays in New Zealand – there’s something to suit all travel tastes. But hurry as all applications for next year’s trips must be back at the NFYFC office by 11 November 2016.

Elizabeth Prince from Staffordshire FYFC enjoyed a homestay holiday in the USA this year and stayed with farming families in Montana and Colorado.

The trip helps members experience the American way of life and Elizabeth found it was a great way to explore the country.

“I wanted to see how their culture and way of life is different to ours and also get the chance to see some farms and how they are different to the UK,” said Elizabeth about why she chose the USA for her YFC Travel opportunity. “Moving to new families every three weeks has helped with my confidence a tremendous amount. I have met so many new people that I’d like to think are now friends for life.”

If you fancy staying in Europe, then a team travel trip may be more up your street. Jess Bason from Shropshire YFC was a successful applicant last year to the Rural Youth Europe trip to Norway this October.  Rural Youth Europe is an international youth organisation, bringing together rural young people from more than 20 counties. Their main aim is to help rural young people share ideas and experiences and promote an awareness of rural issues such as unemployment and housing.

The seminars only last a week and are the perfect trip for someone who’s short on time. They're a brilliant way of meeting young farmers from across Europe and sharing new ideas.

Jess tweeted regularly during her trip away, including:

“Incredible talk about sign language at @RYEurope seminar! Inspirational. I am doing the sign for 'Wales'" and “Dinner to end an incredible week at the @RYEurope autumn seminar Norway! What a week, cannot recommend @NFYFC travel programme enough!”

If you want to book an adventure, then look through all of the travel opportunities online or see the leaflet inside the latest issue of Ten26.

Interviews for all applicants will take place on 3 December 2016.

31 October 2016

Thanks to NFYFC’s the Countryside Challenge loads of clubs have been getting funding to help them complete projects for their local communities and the minister, heading up Youth Social Action, came to visit to find out more.

MP Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society, visited New Line Academy to meet with members of Kent FYFC and to learn more about NFYFC’s youth social action projects.

NFYFC received funding from the Cabinet Office and the Pears Foundation to help YFCs progress their work in Youth Social Action. NFYFC is able to support five community projects per quarter until the summer of 2017.

All Clubs are eligible to apply for £400 worth of funding from the Countryside Challenge pot. There is no limit to the number of members taking part, but the project must be led by the members and run for at least eight hours within a four to 12 week timeframe. There are also loads of resources and support from the NFYFC team to help you get your project off the ground. You can find out more about how to get started and submit an application here.

Kingsbrompton YFC has recently finished a local project of cleaning sign posts in the parish of Brompton Regis, on behalf of the parish council. The Club successfully applied to the Countryside Challenge and has received funding to help them complete their project.

Somerset is one of the last counties to have retained the original, traditional, cast iron signposts but the county council can no longer keep up their maintenance due to limited funds.

Brompton Regis has more sign posts than any other parish on Exmoor so Kingsbrompton YFC decicded to clean the posts to help preserve them for many more years.
The 13 members split into teams to tackle the dirty sign posts and after a busy evening they had cleaned 12 sign posts and have more in the pipeline.

The Club has been praised by members of the community for this project. Their Club President said: "I smile every time I drive past the sign posts we washed, and going by the community feedback I'm not alone."

“We are honoured to have the little village of Brompton Regis up there in the bright light for all members to see! This just shows it's not always the biggest clubs that can win, everyone is in with a chance – even the small club of Kingsbrompton! Hopefully visitors to the area will be able to read the sign posts now and find theire way around!” said Club Leader Lucy. 

To apply for funding, find out more on our Countryside Challenge pages.

31 October 2016

The YFC Life Blood campaign is aiming for its biggest donation yet and is calling on all clubs and counties to register to donate during the week commencing 14 November 2016.

In the last big push of the year, members are being encouraged to register to be blood and organ donors as part of a YFC national week of giving!

NFYFC Chairman Chris Manley, who launched the campaign in February at the start of his term of office, wants all counties to get involved during the week.

Berkshire FYFC are kicking the week off with a group donation on 14 November and Chris will be doing a group donation in Plymouth on 17 November with members of Devon FYFC.

Chris said: “A lot of clubs have hit hard times because of cuts in their grant funding, which means they are having to raise funds to support their clubs rather than fundraising for local causes. The great thing about our YFC Life Blood campaign is that clubs can still give back to their local communities by encouraging their members to register to give blood or be an organ donor.”

The campaign aim was to recruit 500 new blood and organ donors in 2016, which will go a long way to helping the thousands of patients who rely on these donations. Chris wants to reward the county that has registered the most donors during 2016 with a trophy at the national AGM.

Thousands of patients receive blood transfusions every year. The blood you give is a lifeline in an emergency and for people who need long-term treatments. Many people would not be alive today if donors had not generously given their blood. NHS Blood needs over 6,000 blood donations every day to treat patients in need across England and North Wales.

For more information about registering as a donor or organising group donations please visit the YFC Life Blood pages.

Please tell NFYFC about your donation plans during the week commencing 14 November by emailing so we can promote it.

28 October 2016

An all expenses-paid trip to KUHN’s French headquarters and manufacturing site to present their ideas for a dream machine proved to be an amazing experience for four Young Farmers. 

Four members were invited on the trip after winning KUHN’s competition to design an innovative and imaginative new piece of farm machinery that would benefit modern farming systems.

The trip to Saverne in France involved presenting their concepts to the company’s head designers. They also enjoyed an insightful tour of the KUHN factory and observed how every piece of equipment is thoroughly tested and how to assemble mower blades correctly. 

One of the winners was unable to attend the trip so Sam Dilcock, AGRI Chair, went in their place. He said: “Thank you so much to KUHN and especially Siân Pritchard, managing director of KUHN Machinery, for arranging and hosting the trip and for her help with the competition and continued support for the NFYFC AGRI steering group.

“I would encourage all YFC members to look out for future Dream Machine competition opportunities and study tours. They are invaluable and a fantastic opportunity.”


Ben Robinson, Great Smeaton YFC in Yorkshire, won the Junior (under 16) category with his design for a trailed disc and tine cultivator for use on stony land. Ben’s design emphasis was to reduce cultivation costs by negating the need to power harrow. His machine is designed with two rows of sub-soiling tines, the second of which targets soil compaction caused by tractor wheels. Ben’s design also incorporates a final set of hydraulically operated press wheels which can double-up as transportation wheels.

Benjamin Sell from Brentwood YFC in Essex won in the Intermediate (under 21) class, for designing a bale spike capable of safely and securely loading or unloading between one and four mini Hesston bales. Having struggled to unload several hundred bales during last year’s harvest with an inadequate bale spike, Ben designed the new machine to make the loading and unloading process more efficient.

Ben intends to build his first prototype – which features an anti-topple frame for when the grab isn’t in use – ahead of this year’s harvest and hopes that his design will go on to help other livestock farmers and bale contractors.

In the Senior (under 26) class, Caroline Baker of Stockton YFC in County Durham designed a bale wrapper with an automatic film loading system. As a newly trained tractor driver, the weight of replacement film tubes prevented Caroline from operating a conventional bale wrapper. Her design solves this problem by using a revolving film storage conveyor with spring- loaded film holders to make films easy to load.

In the Associate (27 years and over) category, Daniel Webber from Withleigh YFC in Devon designed a ‘Rapid Wrap’ baler and wrapper combination.  Daniel’s machine combines a conventional large square baler with an adapted version of KUHN’s SW 4004 bale wrapper to produce one machine which bales and wraps in one. Daniel’s design is aimed at farmers and contractors looking to reduce the costs and time entailed in producing square bale haylage and silage, with an emphasis on maintaining bale quality and shape as part of a non-stop baling and wrapping process.

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.


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