National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

16 December 2010

NFYFC has secured a second year of Defra funding for its tenancy training events offering professional advice for would-be tenants at Savills Lincoln, Exeter and London on 12, 19 and 28 January.

There are new skills to learn from the experts including communication, succession planning, interview techniques, recognising skills as well as the tried and trusted business and tenancy subjects.

The events offer YFC members some of the best professional advice possible whilst enjoying YFC activities with their peers. They highlight the enthusiasm and determination of young farmers to carry on farming despite a reduction in available tenanted land and tough competition from established farmers. Professional input is welcomed and applauded as it ensures enthusiasm is matched with knowledge of expectation from landlords and land agents.

Clive Beer, Director of Savills, said: “As agricultural land becomes more widely sort after the ability to understand the finer detail of tenancy agreements and the significance of preparing a well structured tender will become all the more relevant, especially for new entrants.

This is an opportunity for YFC members to develop their skills in preparing and presenting tenders for agricultural holdings.

It will also place prospective tenants in a position to understand what factors land agents consider when letting agricultural land on behalf of their clients.”

NFYFC agriculture and rural affairs steering group chairwoman, Milly Wastie said: “NFYFC’s Farm Business Development competition and tenancy training are designed to give tomorrow’s tenants practice in applying for a farm tenancy. The task includes viewing a case study farm, submitting a detailed business plan and facing a strong interview panel. This training gives a step-by-step preparation for a real-life scenario and supports the AgriSkills strategy aims for a professional farming industry.

“From a farming perspective, the competition is the jewel in the crown of YFC competitions, helping to prepare tomorrow’s farmers on their first step of the farming ladder. The training benefits are two-fold, helping members to assess their own skills and acquiring more from professionals.

“Endorsed by Defra and industry, we want to make sure that this innovative training helps YFC members learn skills that will help with their future career prospects in agriculture as well as helping them with their own county competitions.”

Carlisle YFC’s Michael Nelson and Steven Powley, winners of the 2010 NFYFC Farm Business Development Competition, attended the initial training events which helped secure their success.

The winning duo not only took away their first prize of a scholarship to next year’s Oxford Farming Conference, but also the confidence and professional skills and knowledge to set up their own agricultural enterprise having upped their business acumen by entering the competition and attending the tenancy training.

16 December 2010

Members of Helston and St Keverne YFC lent a helping hand with the first phase of an ambitious tree planting project for a local MS charity on 4 December.

Despite the cold weather, the group helped carve the first foundations for the tree planting plans at the Merlin Project, Cornwall MS Therapy Centre, managing to plant 37 of the 53 trees, which have been bought by centre users, providing something permanent in the grounds of the centre. A variety of trees have been chosen, including beech, birch, crab apple, oak and holly.

The YFC chose the Merlin Project as its charity of the year for 2010 and  handed over a cheque for an impressive £5,525.00 at its annual dinner and dance last month.

MS centre hyperbaric manager Brett Seaborne, who is co-ordinating the ground project, said: “YFC is a fantastic organisation, the members give so much effort and time to helping others, and are a incredible group of young people. We would like to say a huge thank you for the fundraising they have done for us this year, as well as helping to start our tree planting scheme which will provide a lasting legacy for the future.”

16 December 2010

NFYFC vice chairwoman Milly Wastie is delighted at having been short listed in this year's Young Achievers Award.

Milly, who is also chairwoman of NFYFC's agriculture & rural affairs steering group, east Midlands area chairwoman, Northants rep on the NFYFC council and works as east Midlands regional officer for the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, was acknowledged as a young person who has achieved much in the world of volunteering but who has also been on a rewarding personal journey of growth and discovery.

Judges will announce the award winners in January.

15 December 2010

There's an exciting weekend ahead for Durham YFC's Janice Baker as her son, Countryfile presenter Matt Baker is through to the finals of Strictly Come Dancing, which begins at 7pm on Saturday 18 December on BBC One.

Teamed  with professional dancer Aliona Vilani, the TV host has gone through a nerve-wracking semi-final weekend. Matt's salsa on Friday was described as  'an attack by a veloceraptor'. But on Saturday night he tangoed into the finals with two perfect tens. He now has to learn four dances for the final challenge.

Matt, a former Blue Peter presenter, has won two BAFTAs for Best Children's presenter. He was born in Durham where he grew up on his family's sheep farm. He currently presents Countryfile and writes for the Countryfile magazine.

Matt is a big supporter of YFC and has helped with judging and other events and competitions. The former British gymnast's mum, Janice, is Durham YFC's county organiser.

14 December 2010

“The trip of a lifetime”, was how Staffordshire YFC's Alex Mackellar described the visit to New Zealand she won through the educational grant supported by Novartis Animal Health and the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs.

Alex spent three weeks working on sheep and cattle stations on New Zealand’s South Island, and brought back with her a wealth of experience about farming methods and the skills needed to run the country’s vast livestock concerns.

She began by accompanying a vet visiting farms in the Darfield and Kirwee areas, west of Christchurch, health-checking rams to ready them for market.

By the third day she had started at the 16,000-acre Rainbow Station where the hard work began for real and found herself waist-deep in water helping cattle cross a river in the snow.

Alex then spent some time sightseeing with a visit to New Zealand’s highest peak, Mount Cook, and then went on to Haldon Station, five hours' journey south of Christchurch. Haldon is a sheep, beef and deer farm of more than 55,000 acres, with Merinos, pedigree Hereford and Angus stud.

She said that with the Merinos, because of the wrinkles in their skin which hold sweat and the thickness of the wool and its value, extra care had to be taken to protect from flystrike. “I know from home we need to protect our stock even before flies are in the area, and it was good to see there is no difference in New Zealand, welfare is top of the list,” she said.

“I think a trip of this kind is much more interesting than going somewhere as a tourist. You get to experience New Zealand as a New Zealander, so you get things from a different perspective,” she said.

Alex, who works on her parents’ farm in Chartley, near Stafford, saw the scholarship advertised in NFYFC's newsletter Ten26. She submitted her 1,000-word essay on why she wanted to apply, was short-listed and interviewed.

“My advice for anyone thinking of applying is to go for it. If you don’t try for it, you won’t know if you have a chance, “she said. “The trip was a fascinating experience and something I will never forget. I’ve learned a lot about my work, the way the animals are looked after, and the medicines used to treat animals. But I suppose most of all I’ve learned about myself,” she said.

Alex is engaging in a series of talks to farmers and discussion groups in her area, and will be submitting a 2,000 word report on parasite control and anthelmintic resistance in the New Zealand sheep industry to Novartis Animal Health and NFYFC.

James Crawford, of Novartis Animal Health, said: “The educational grant encourages new and much-needed young people into the sheep industry, while at the same time providing an opportunity for UK sheep producers to learn, through Alex’s experiences, more about how they can better control parasites on farm.”

12 December 2010

YFC member Beth Cooper was one of five postgraduate agricultural students from across the UK selected to receive a new Centenary Award from the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.

The award, launched to celebrate the trust's100th birthday, is giving annual bursaries to pay 75 per cent of course fees for selected postgraduate students in agriculture.

Beth Cooper, studying sustainable agriculture( MSc), at Harper Adams University College, is among the first students to receive the new award, set up to help create a long-standing legacy for the future, and highlight NFU Mutual Charitable Trust's commitment to the countryside.

The award was open to students from the UK who had gained, or were expected to gain, a 2:1 or above in agriculture or a closely related degree, and had been accepted on a Masters or PhD course in agriculture in the UK from Autumn 2010.

To select the students the award’s judging panel looked for applicants who were not only excellent academic performers, but were also committed to the future of agriculture. The objective was to select potential rural leaders of the future, so that the bursary payments will not only help the individual students, but also benefit the agricultural industry at large.

The Centenary Award is a long-term scheme, and bursaries will be available in 2011. Applications for the award next year will be invited from the start of January 2011.

In the meantime, prospective postgraduate agricultural students who would like to find out more about the award should contact


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