National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

20 May 2017

Three YFC members have made it into the final of the Countryfile Young Farmer of the Year award.

Tom Phillips from Crucorney YFC in Gwent, Tom Addison from Newport Pagnell YFC in Buckinghamshire and Vicky Furlong from Shaftoe YFC in Northumberland were all shortlisted from hundreds of entries to the competition, which is searching for an ‘outstanding’ individual.

The BBC programme asked viewers to nominate young farmers they thought deserved special recognition and they are now highlighting the chosen three finalists on the programme. The popular Sunday night show explained they are looking for someone who demonstrates the best of what young people do for British farming.

Tom Addison

This Sunday 21 May, Tom Addison, 23, will be featured talking about how he set up his agri business from scratch, despite not being born into a farming family. His mum is a veterinary nurse and his dad works in Formula 1 but Tom’s passion for farming was ignited after helping out a local beef and arable farmer when he was at school.

That very same farmer nominated him for this award and Tom is thrilled to be in the final three. “I was really surprised to find out,” said Tom who had to go through an interview with the programme before being informed he was in the final.

Tom owns 170 sheep, which are spread over a number of areas in a 12 mile radius and works across 20 different farms supporting them with milking and shepherding.

“I own the flock but rent the land to keep them there,” said Tom who wants to work towards getting a tenancy of his own but knows that dream is not an easy one. “Tenant farms around here are horrifically priced. I make most of my money through my contracting work. I still see a future in farming – if I work at it, it will be alright.

It was at agricultural college where Tom met members of Newport Pagnell YFC and decided to join. After college he went to Australia for a few months to work on a farm over there, which helped build up his knowledge before he came home and set up his own business.

“I was working on a sheep farm in Somerset when I got back and my boss gave me a bonus of some pet lambs so I started working with them. Sheep are the easiest and cheapest way to get into the industry. The investment is low in terms of start up.”

Tom has just started rearing calves and has set up his own Facebook page to promote the sale of his lamb.  Looking to the future, Tom, who is currently Vice Chairman of Newport Pagnell YFC, is hoping to “keep expanding and to be self efficient.” Hopefully the promotion on Countryfile will give his business a boost too!

Tom Phillips

Also in the running is Tom Phillips, 16, who impressed the judges with his dedication to the family farm, his Tug of War abilities and the fact his farming knowledge helped saved his dad’s life. He was featured on the show on Sunday 13 May where he and members of his YFC showed Adam Henson how to compete at Tug of War.

Tom works on a mixed farm with arable, cattle, pigs and easy care sheep that shed their own wool. He looks after the livestock and also takes pride in showing his rare breed saddleback pigs.

“When I was nine my dad bought me two saddlebacks and I had a real big interest in them from there,” explained Tom on the programme. “The first ever show we did was a Show and Sale at Ross market and we won Champion there, which was just amazing.” Tom went on to win Young Handler of the Year at the Royal Welsh Show and was chosen by the Pig Association to go to America to show over there. “It was an incredible experience,” said Tom. 

Tom enjoys all aspects of farm life and took an interest in it from an early age. His interest in machinery paid off when his dad was attacked by a bull. Tom, who was only 10 at the time, was in the field with his dad after a cow had just had a baby calf. When the calf called out, the bull ran at his dad, throwing him into the air and then trampling on him.

Tom said the bull was “hitting him with his horns and throwing him about like he was nothing. It was horrifying.”
A terrified Tom jumped into the tractor, pushed the bull and then lowered the loading door over the top of his father’s body to protect it while he fetched help. His quick thinking saved his dad’s life.

Tom was praised on the programme for achieving so much already in farming. 

Vicky Furlong

As the only girl in the final, Vicky Furlong, 24, is hoping she can win the judges over with the impressive estate she manages in Northumberland. Vicky’s boss on the Crowhall Estate nominated her for the competition as she manages their 120 cattle and 700 sheep – with one other helper!

After growing up on her family farm and helping to look after the sheep and cattle there, Vicky was eager to stay working in the industry but her brother had taken on the running of the family’s own 500 sheep and 80 cattle.

After working as a part time game keeper at Crowhall while she was studying, Vicky asked if the owners if they would take her on as manager. "They had known me all my life and they wanted to give me the opportunity and bring a young person into the industry," explained Vicky who sadly had to sell her own flock of 300 sheep that she'd nutured as she didn't have the time for them as well as her new role.  

"People who don’t know me are surprised at how much I am responsible for at such a young age,” said Vicky, who also lives on the Estate in a three-bed bungalow with her dog. “I am proud of myself. As a young farmer, there are limited opportunities to get into the industry so this is a dream come true!”

Those who do know Vicky are not surprised by her achievement or dedication. She currently holds the ATV trophy for the County and aims to retain it at the Northumberland FYFC Rally on 3 June. She was also named Shaftoe YFC’s Senior Member of the Year in 2016.

“It’s difficult to get out much as I work 10-12 hour days,” said Vicky who had to face lambing practically alone this year as her worker dropped out just before the season started. She managed to source contracted help and called on her family who live two miles away but the late nights and early mornings were mostly down to the 24-year-old. “I do try to get to YFC meetings when I can though as it gets me off the farm for a bit,” she added.

Vicky takes part in filming with Countryfile next week and is looking forward to the experience.

 The winner of the competition will be announced at the BBC Food and Farming Awards later in the year.


18 May 2017

The European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) has released its vision for the future CAP that ensures a better future for rural communities, and is supported by NFYFC.

The document Young Farmers are key in the future CAP focuses on three key areas where change must happen, including generational renewal, progressive and proactive environmental measures and sustainable economic support.

CEJA sees these areas as key to ensuring jobs, growth and investment in rural communities, as well as making rural areas places where people will want to live and work.

“The CAP has been one of Europe’s success stories,” explained CEJA President Alan Jagoe, “it has helped so far but it has not addressed the key area of generational renewal. It is for this reason that I ask you now to channel your inner young farmer and be bold and ambitious for the next CAP.”

CEJA’s document represents nearly two years’ worth of work from CEJA members, and is the culmination of a final summary document, as well as the seven position papers which were used to create it.

Ed Ford, NFYFC Chairman of Council, said: “The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs welcomes the bold response from CEJA and its push to highlight the need for generational renewal. We need to collaborate with all next generation groups to ensure that the voice of young farmers is heard in our own future domestic agricultural policy to ensure vibrant rural communities and a progressive workforce for the food and farming industries.”

Included within the document is CEJA’s call for how to distribute the new and enlarged CAP budget:

  • 20% to be allocated to various measures and instruments specifically targeted to Generational Renewal.
  • 50% to be allocated to Sustainable Economic Support.
  • 30% to be allocated to Proactive and progressive environmental measures.

The document has been subjected to a scientific peer review by Prof Rogier Schulte and Dr Roel Jongeneel of Waggenin University, who commended CEJA on “building a vision for European farming that may be sustained, in every sense of the word, into an uncertain future. Their submission makes our scientific quest for solutions rewarding and gives cause for optimism about the future of rural Europe that we are jointly contributing to.”

Find out more information about NFYFC's involvement with CEJA.



17 May 2017

Putting on a successful rally takes more than just finding a farm to host it. There’s a whole load of planning and stress that goes into creating a fun day that involves all of the clubs in your county

It’s a great test of skills for the members of YFCs who every year roll their sleeves up and get stuck in to planning and preparing these major events that showcase all that is great about Young Farmers’ Clubs.

To find out what it takes to host a great rally, meet Alice Wood, 2017 Rally Chairman for County Durham Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) who can speak from experience after just completing her event at the weekend. It all ended in tears of happiness for Alice, as not only did she do a grand job – but her club Staindrop YFC also won the rally!

How long has County Durham FYFC been hosting a rally?

Around 80 years! The county has just celebrated its 85th Anniversary, but rally days may have been going on for a lot longer than we think.

How many people were involved in organising it? And how did you choose the rally chairman?

A different club is chosen to host the rally every year and this year it was my club Staindrop YFC. I have wanted to be Rally Chairman and win the rally day for a long time and everyone was happy for me to do it, which was overwhelming. I am an active member of the Club – I have been secretary for two years – and enjoy organising events. I worked with a core committee of eight people but also had the support of the rest of the Club and our County officials, such as County Chairman and County Secretary.

Did you make much money? And if so how did you go about raising money on the day?

The rally day was non-profitable but the evening rally dance raised money. Proceeds from the bar went towards County funds, and the Club took a percentage of the door takings.

Do you have any involvement from sponsors? If so how do you go about attracting these?

We had four sponsors for the day. Carrs Billington and Lloyds provided machinery for our active classes. Sponsorship from an animal waste company enabled us to get rally rugby shirts for Club members and we had a sponsor for skip hire for the day. We are very active within the local community and a lot of our members work in these companies, which made it easier to approach them for support.

How did you choose your location and what did you need to do in advance to get it ready?

We hosted the rally at Barnard Castle, where I had always planned to hold the event. Staindrop members washed out its main shed as it had been used during lambing. We also painted doors to make the venue look smart. We swept the yards, brought tables, chairs, fencing, electric cables and much more. We received a lot of compliments about the farm being so clean and tidy and well organised. We even got compliments for the marked out spaces on the car park field.

When did you start planning the rally?

We started as soon as the 2016 rally finished but our first meeting was in August 2016.

What did your rally involve in terms of activities and any evening entertainment?

We had a range of activities including an exhibition hall with baking, crafts, metal work, photography, cube exhibit and much more. There were active classes including efficiency with safety, UTV handling, rope a trailer, mini digger driving, vintage tractor handling, change a wheel, mystery judging, Bushtucker trial, flower arranging, bale stacking and much more. We also had sports such as welly wanging, 100m, cross country, dumpy bag race and tug of war. We held a rally dance on the night in the main shed where a lot of the members attended and it was a fabulous night. A great way to celebrate lots of prizes throughout the day.

Did you invite the public? If so, how many attended?

The event was open to members and their friends and family. We also had around 80 judges and stewards and I was very grateful for their help on the day. The rally dance was open to members and non-members, and the non-members paid a slightly increased ticket price. The prices were still low but it encouraged people to become a YFC member.

How many overall came to the rally?

All nine clubs attended the rally. Our clubs vary in size from 10 members to 70. We are one of the smallest Clubs in NFYFC so to have around 85% attendance from our members is absolutely fantastic. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed rally day. Hearing lovely comments from spectators, members, judges, stewards and county officials made me very happy as it meant I had done a good job.

What would your three top tips be for hosting a successful rally? 

  1. Make sure you have an idea of what you want the event to look like on the day. If you don't have a goal you won't get there!
  2. Stay calm and enjoy. Organising an event like a rally can be very stressful, but the end result is so rewarding. If you have everything planned well, you will enjoy your day hassle free and get to see everyone having fun and competing. 
  3. Get your club involved as much as they can. Have a great committee who are eager to help in every way possible. Make sure junior members feel involved as they are the future of Young Farmers. 

Find out more information about County Durham Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs.




16 May 2017

We all know there’s a hefty hay stack worth of effort that goes into putting on a YFC rally or field day but what about hosting your own country show? Essex FYFC are about to throw open the field gates to their hugely successful country show so we caught up with 2017 Show Chairman Jack Anger to get some top tips on how to grow your show or rally into a massive success...

How long has Essex been hosting the Show?

The Essex Young Farmers Country Show has been running in its current form since the mid ‘80s. The then ‘Show and Rally’ grew quickly through the ‘90s, with the demise of the Essex Show.

How many people get involved in organising it and are they all YFC members?

There is a committee of approximately 40 people who are made up of active members with the exception of our amazing staff, Mary and Carol.

Does the Show make Essex FYFC money?

It does. It’s a considerable sum, which looks after the county Federation. We have two buildings to look after, two staff to pay and it puts a significant amount into the Essex FYFC training fund every year for the members to use to further their careers.

How many people does it generally attract? 

It's still growing slowly but last year we broke the 15,000 mark for the first time.

What can people expect to see at the Show?

Wow. Everything. We have so many different areas. The Game Fair, Craft Hall, Festival of Food, the Livestock Area, ‘What is YFC?’ Area and the Young Farmers Exhibition Hall. Of course not forgetting over 100 trade stands too!

Do you have sponsors? How did you go about getting them?

Many of our sponsors are historic supporters of Essex FYFC. Our local agricultural dealers look after us incredibly well, donating all the machinery for running the show. This includes several telehanders, a handful of UTVs, trucks, trailers and much more.
Our advice on attracting sponsors is you can't beat face-to-face meetings with them. After all, the show would not happen without them.

What top three tips can you share with other YFCs to help them grow their shows?

1.    Start small and build up.
2.    Ensure quality not quantity.
3.    Find a good location with good infrastructure and road networks and stay there!


The Essex Country Show is on Sunday 21 May at Boyton Hall, Roxwell, CM1 4LT. Gates open at 9.30am.
For more info visit their website.



10 May 2017

Young farmers in Berkshire have won a trophy for donating the most amount of life-saving blood out of all the counties across England and Wales that are part of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC).

The trophy, which was awarded by NHS Blood and Transplant as well as NFYFC, was in response to a year-long campaign called YFC Life Blood, which challenged members to register to donate blood to help save lives. Berkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) recruited eight new donors and made 21 donations during the campaign.

Berkshire has YFCs in Newbury, Bradfield, Shefford and in Windsor and Maidenhead.

Oxfordshire and Lincolnshire FYFCs were praised for being runners up in the competition after making 20 donations each and also registering eight new donors.

In total during the campaign, young farmers’ life-saving blood donations helped 291 patients from 16 April 2016 to 17 March 2017. A total of 97 blood donations were made by YFC members during the campaign period. 

Every unit of blood donated saves or improves the lives of up to three people. Over a lifetime some blood donors help more than 500 people through their donations.

The NFYFC campaign was led by its national Chairman for 2016 Chris Manley as he wanted to prove that YFC members really are the lifeblood of their local communities. It also tied in with the NFYFC's dedication towards farm safety.

Chris Manley said: “YFC members are renowned for challenging themselves and raising thousands of pounds for good causes across the country. But in 2016, we challenged our members to show their generosity by registering as blood and organ donors! It was great to see so many of our members backing the campaign not only by giving blood but by sharing stories on social media too.

“Members of Berkshire FYFC have done brilliantly to get so many of their members involved and I hope that because of the YFC Life Blood campaign, many more of us will continue, or start to, give blood on a regular basis.”

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.
As well as the donations by YFC members, Berkshire found that families also got involved in giving blood too.

Berkshire’s County Chairman Katherine Bunn, who collected the award at NFYFC’s Annual General Meeting in Torquay, said: “Berkshire FYFC are really proud to have picked up the YFC Life Blood award for being the YFC county federation to give the most donations and to have the most registered donors. We worked hard to raise awareness among our membership about the benefits of giving blood and how it could save lives. Berkshire members and their families really got behind the national campaign and I hope that we will all continue to give blood and raise awareness about the importance of doing so.”  

Zeeshan Asghar, Partnership Development Manager at NHSBT said: “We are grateful to the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs for their support throughout the year. Raising awareness of blood and organ donation amongst young people is really important. Half of all blood donors are over 45 so it’s important we recruit younger people to donate blood to help meet patient needs now and in the future.

“Young people can also play an important role in helping to normalise organ donation, discussion amongst their peers and family will generate debate and allow individuals to be open about their decision to become an organ donor, if and when the time comes.

Find out more about the YFC Life Blood campaign.


08 May 2017

Applications for The Prince’s Countryside Fund (PCF) Land Rover bursary are now open and successful applicants receive a 12-month loan of a Land Rover Discovery Sport.

The annual bursary, in its fourth year, is aimed at rewarding the UK’s most enterprising and entrepreneurial young people working in rural Britain. The bursary has proven to be a springboard for success for talented rural workers for the last three years.

As part of the life changing opportunity, five winners will be provided with the Discovery Sport, known for its capability over a wide variety of terrains and weather conditions, alongside Land Rover off-road and all terrain driver training.
Helen Reeves, an associate member of Norfolk FYFC, was a successful applicant to the bursary in 2016 and said that the use of the Discovery Sport has helped develop her rural business Waveney Dexter Beef.

Helen, who rears a herd of pedigree Dexter cattle for breeding and beef production, said: “Without the Discovery Sport I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. I wouldn’t have been able to grow my business in the way that I have – both because of the publicity I received after winning and due to being able to transport feed across difficult terrains and dirt tracks, to make meat deliveries.

“It has opened so many doors and wherever you go, you have that royal stamp on the side of the vehicle so everyone thinks you’re by royal appointment – it’s such a talking point,” said Helen who was driving a Nissan Micra before winning the 12-month loan of the Discovery Sport.

Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said “The past winners of the bursary have seen their businesses go from strength to strength over the year and we are excited to be offering the opportunity to more new beneficiaries. There is a real need for young people to be supported in every way possible and with so many more keen to get into rural industries or develop their own businesses, we’re excited to see how these vehicles can help them achieve their dreams.”

Applications are open now online and must be completed online by Wednesday 31st May 2017. The Prince’s Countryside Fund Land Rover Bursary is open to UK residents aged between 21 to 35 living and working in a rural area.




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