National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 May 2017

Interested in improving your farm’s soil health, reducing costly inputs and maximising your returns? Learn from experienced no-till farmers, soil scientists and industry experts from around the world at the Groundswell No-Till Show and Conference on 28-29 June, on a no-till farm in Hertfordshire.

Now in its second year, Groundswell is an independent event, created ‘by farmers, for farmers’, focused on no-till techniques and soil regeneration in arable and mixed farming situations.

Tickets are now available for the event with an exclusive 10% discount for YFC members.

“The rationale of the Groundswell Show is to help farmers to take back control of their farms and businesses and find a way of growing healthy crops using the least amount of inputs possible” said host farmer John Cherry. “We have gathered an incredible assortment of soil and livestock experts, ecologists and experienced no-till farmers from around the globe, along with all the top direct drill machinery on the market today, to share experiences and ideas around Conservation Agriculture”.

Visitors can hear from a huge array of speakers from across the globe and highlights of the show include:

  • 10 leading manufacturers demonstrating their direct drill technology, a unique setting to compare and evaluate drills on the market today. John Deere, Horsch, Ryetec, Agri-Linc, Sly, Primewest, Simtech Aitchison, Sumo, Weaving and Dale Drills will be represented.
  • Opportunities to discuss and debate different techniques for combating blackgrass, cover and companion cropping, and water management.
  • A rainfall simulator from the USA, showing the surprising impact of 2” of rain upon differently tilled soils. 
  • See root development up close in the 1.5m deep soil pit dug into a two year herbal ley.  
  • A dedicated Soil Tent, with soil scholars from Cranfield University showcasing their recent studies into soil health.
  • Mob-stocking demonstrations.

“The energy and positive feedback we received from last year’s show, in particular from the younger generation of attendees, was incredible. It is clear that The Groundswell Show meets a growing need from farmers to understand their greatest asset, and re-gain a level of financial control while safeguarding the environment too,” added John Cherry.

There is a huge amount to see at Groundswell No-Till Show and Conference 2017. Young Farmers who are keen to safeguard their soils (and profit margins) for the future can listen, learn and be inspired.

Tickets are on sale now and we are pleased to offer an exclusive 10% discount to YFC members. YFC members can access the discount code by logging into the members area.

For more information visit:

30 May 2017

NFYFC is supporting World Milk Day on 1 June and getting behind the NFU’s #HappyCows campaign that is relaunching on the same day.

World Milk Day is aimed at recognising the importance of milk as a global food and the NFU’s #HappyCows campaign aims to promote British dairy farming and British dairy products to the public.

The NFU are hoping to flood social media with photos of #HappyCows and are encouraging dairy farmers to take photos of themselves and their dairy cows and upload them onto any social media channels throughout the day using #HappyCows and #WorldMilkDay.

They are also asking any farmers to film videos from their phones and upload a short (~5 second) video of themselves waving with their dairy cows, or just of their dairy cows looking happy or engaged in activities such as using a cow brush.
The activity isn’t limited to dairy farmers and anyone can get behind the campaign.
The NFU Discovery Barn is at the Bath & West on the 1st June promoting World Milk Day and #HappyCows, so look out for them if you are attending the show. 

If you would like to get involved, just post a photo to social media using the hashtag #HappyCows and #WorldMilkDay and tag NFYFC so we can share your photos!

Find out more about World Milk Day here.

24 May 2017

Ed Ford, Chairman of Council for The National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs, said:

“On behalf of all young farmers across England and Wales, NFYFC offers its heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Nell Jones from Knutsford YFC in Cheshire who sadly lost her life in the attack at the Manchester Arena on Monday night.

“Our thoughts are also with the members of Knutsford YFC and Cheshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs who have been affected by this tragedy.

“While these atrocities are devastating and shocking – especially when it affects our own communities – we must all stand united against the hatred. It is at times like these that we can take comfort and strength from our nationwide community of Young Farmers’ Clubs. The work we all do to support our local communities will continue, the friendship we share with each other will continue and our commitment to developing rural young people who make a positive difference in the world will continue.”


Advice and support

For support and helplines please check the Government help page set up in response to the attack. If you are worried or concerned about the Manchester attack and terrorism, please check out this page from the BBC and for Clubs or Counties looking for advice on explaining to children about terrorism, please check out this NSPCC guidance.

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.


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