NFYFC’s 2017 development work started in January with a gathering of county and national staff from England and Wales in Dunchurch, Warwickshire, for two days of learning and sharing good practice.
36 members of staff from 32 counties benefitted from an intensive top-up of information, legislation and skills as well as ideas to help support YFC members and supporters.
James Eckley, NFYFC Chief Officer, said: “I really do feel this was the best staff conference to date and I’m delighted that we could help so many county staff with personal and professional development.”
Speakers included: Gill Camina, an Organisational Governance and Safeguarding consultant, JJ Lynch of Leading Edge Leadership, Annie Clements of CEO Autism and ADHD and John Radford of JR Event Services. Presentations and workshops allowed County staff to learn more about supporting clubs, communication planning, travel, competitions, agriculture and rural affairs, as well as smart administration to ensure effective and smooth-running of YFCs.
Cath Sykes, NFYFC Youth Development Officer, said: “Each year we build on feedback and engage with County staff to ensure that we cover topics that are thought provoking, will develop their understanding and keep everyone up-to-date. We enjoyed a packed programme that delivered powerful information.”
NFYFC received positive and encouraging feedback from delegates:
"Really glad that I attended. Got to know people and lots of new and relevant information, enjoyed the whole experience!"
"Loved it! So useful in so many ways. Thank you!"
"Best conference yet."
"Leadership session was just brilliant- so, so useful."
"The club support and communications workshops were both fantastic, learnt a lot from them both."
An online workshop offering advice on succession planning for a farming business has been launched on NFYFC’s YouTube channel.
The six videos involve professional advice from succession expert Sian Bushell who is in conversation with NFYFC’s AGRI Steering Group Chairman Sam Dilcock.
Sian offers advice on how young farmers can broach the subject of succession in their family, as well as advice on forward planning, professional fees and where to find further advice.
Sam, who interviewed Sian for the videos at a Council meeting last year, said: “Succession is still a major issue for many young farmers involved in a family business. It can be a very sensitive topic but Sian helps to explain how to tackle the subject with a business-head. I learnt a lot from the conversation so I hope other members find the videos useful too.”
The videos are available to watch and share from NFYFC’s YouTube channel so please share them online. You can also watch the full series below.
Young Farmers from across England and Wales attended the Oxford Farming Conference in January and were inspired by the debates and speakers.
Scholarships from the Worshipful Company of Farmers, the Henry Plumb Foundation, the NFU and Massey Ferguson, among others, made it possible for members to attend the conference.
Sam Dilcock, NFYFC’s AGRI Steering Group Chair, received a scholarship from the Worshipful Company of Farmers – along with Caroline Trude from Devon FYFC – and said he had gained a great deal from the conference.
“I have strengthened relationships, met new friends, made new contacts and learned a great deal about what the OFC is really about and the current affairs that are influencing the world in which we live,” said Sam. “If it wasn’t for the scholars programme I genuinely do not believe I would have ever attended this event, it is a fantastic opportunity and a generous offer that was made by the Worshipful Company of Farmers and it was an honour and a privilege to attend as a result.”
As well as presentations on topics such as the farming landscape post-Brexit, crop protection and developing and innovating products, members were also invited to a Scholars’ Reception and given support and encouragement throughout their time at the conference. There was also plenty of opportunity for networking at the evening dinner events and breaks throughout the day.
MPs were present at the conference and included a presentation from George Eustice. Selby YFC member Charlotte Middlebrook, who received a scholarship from the Henry Plumb Foundation, tweeted during the conference: “Eustice intends to act on results of @NFYFC survey through supporting investment & business opportunities for young people!”
NFYFC’s Vice Chair Lynsey Martin also took part in a debate at the conference: This house believes the biggest danger to the family farm is the family itself. As a seconder to the proposal Lynsey was on the main stage at the Oxford Union discussing the issues around succession.
NFYFC Chairman Chris Manley was also present at the conference as an NFYFC Scholar and Vice Chair Ed Ford received sponsorship from Massey Ferguson.
For more information on The Scholars Programme at the Oxford Farming Conference and to be considered for next year’s conference, please contact Sarah Palmer.
Leaders from the four devolved nations of young farmers’ associations joined forces last week at the 2017 Oxford Farming Conference to discuss the impact of Brexit.
Representatives from the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, The Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs, The Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, and Cymru Wales Young Farmers’ Clubs will produce a policy document outlining the shared priorities for rural young people across the United Kingdom.
The future policy needs of each organisation’s members will be collected and collated, with a final report due to be published on the first anniversary of the Brexit vote.
Commenting on the group’s formation, Chairman of the group Edward Ford said: “Now more than ever, the United Kingdom’s rural youth must pull together to have their voices heard loud and clear. We want to send a strong message to our elected officials that the next generation are clear in what they need to have strong and competitive businesses as we move further into Brexit.”