National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

05 July 2017

Pembrokeshire’s outstanding record in the Efficiency with Safety competition has continued as it picked up its SEVENTH title.

The County put their success down to the training they do in advance of the competition with dedicated trainers. Winning team member Caryl Bevan from Llys-y-Fran YFC said the trainers helped them to win.

“They put a lot of time in to make sure we're ready for the competition and that we've practised on similar machinery. We're all friends so we do have a bit of fun with it, especially in practices.”

The team start training individually around two weeks ahead of each stage of the competition, and then have some joint training in the final week.

As well as a dedicated team of trainers, people also helped Pembrokeshire by showing them how their machinery works and loaning manuals to them.

“Since our Club has a long history of doing this competition, past members give us tips and some new insight,” added Caryl. “As it’s one of those competitions our Club has always done well in over the years, sometimes there’s a bit of pressure to do well.”

The Efficiency with Safety competition is changing in 2017-18 due to feedback from members about the difficulty in sourcing equipment for the county rounds of the competition.

First aid and health and safety will still be a major part of the competition and NFYFC will be working closely with Yellow Wellies to create new scenarios for members. Arley Medical will also still be involved in preparing a farm accident to challenge the competition team.

New tasks being added to the competition include welding, angle grinding and one involving an ATV bike - members will need to provide a certificate of competence.  

NFYFC Chairman Ed Ford said: “It’s really important that NFYFC includes a competition that promotes and encourages farm safety. The competition is a great way for members to learn and practise safe farming skills. It’s great news that we are relaunching the competition with an emphasis on ensuring members obtain recognised certificates in ATV and for them to practise first aid skills. We want YFC members to have the knowledge so they know how to manage real-life situations. Yellow Wellies will help us to achieve this with their help in preparing the scenarios in ou national final.”

NFYFC will be supporting Farm Safety Week from 24-28 July. Find out how to get involved here.

05 July 2017

After three years of entering the Junior Member of the Year competition, Tom Barley, from Great Smeaton YFC in Yorkshire, finally clinched the title!

The 17 year old, who lives on a beef and sheep farm in North Allerton, has been a YFC member for four years and regularly takes part in competitions – twice winning the national Live and Carcase stockjudging competition.

Undeterred by his previous lack of a win in the Junior Member of the Year competition, the college student, who has his sights set on managing his family farm one day, said he used each experience as a chance to perfect his attempt at the competition the following year.

“I have never created a CV before I did this competition and at first I didn’t know where to start. But I have used the advice I have been given at each stage of the competition to make it better each time. I also asked older relatives and people at college, as well as friends, for their honest feedback on my CV. All of this helped me create a much more presentable and readable CV this year,” said Tom.

As well as the CV and personal statement that Tom had to complete for the Junior Member of the Year competition, he also had to give a presentation at Competitions Day to a panel of judges. This year’s performance was 12 months in the making!

“In previous competitions, I had put a lot of words on my presentation slides and I found the judges were reading them rather than focusing on me,” said Tom. “This time around I used images to show what I had been doing over the last year. I started taking monthly photos for this competition a year in advance as I knew what I wanted to achieve. It worked as I had a much better connection with the judges.”

Tom will now join the Youth Forum, alongside the other six finalists in the competition, and will help to represent the younger members of the Federation.

“I am always saying to our junior members that they have as much of a say in the running of their club, county and Federation as the older members. When I was younger, I didn’t feel like I had a lot of say in decisions but everyone can and should put their views forward,” said Tom who is Assistant Secretary in his Club, Sports Captain and looks after the juniors for competitions. “I go to all the District Committee meetings and represent Great Smeaton. Being involved in YFC public speaking competitions and taking on roles in my club has given me so much confidence. I’d like to get a position on the national council in the future – and maybe even go for Chairman!”

The other finalists that will join Tom on the Youth Forum are: Gemma Owen from Montgomery FYFC, Jessica Elliman from Berkshire FYFC, Peter Cotton from Staffordshire FYFC, Amy Stubbs from Lincolnshire FYFC, Charlotte Scott from Somerset FYFC and Beth Maskell from Suffolk FYFC.

03 July 2017

NFYFC’s plan to mobilise young people in agriculture and get YFCs more involved in education was discussed at the FACE (Food and Countryside Education) Annual General Meeting in July.

NFYFC’s Vice Chairman Lynsey Martin, from Kent FYFC, was part of a panel involving leading figures from agri universities, colleges and schools, that discussed a ‘Vision for education about farming and food.’  

During the discussion, Lynsey outlined her plan to set a YFC Challenge in 2018 to mobilise YFC members to spread messages about food, farming and industry careers opportunities. YFCs will be given presentation materials to use in schools to help them to spread food and farming messages to 11-13 year olds.

The Vice Chairman plans to launch the campaign in February 2018 and encourage YFC members to make school visits and raise awareness about the industry and YFC.

"I was proud to be representing NFYFC to discuss how the Federation could help to improve the promotion of food and farming education and it was great to catch up with other organisations too," said Lynsey. "I am hoping that my future campaign idea will mean YFC can really make a difference to spreading the message in schools."

As a former AGRI Steering Group Chairman, Lynsey has developed a passion for encouraging more young people into the industry, and played a key role in getting NFYFC involved with Bright Crop at the Big Bang Careers fair and producing Defra-funded #morethantractors leaflets. 

NFYFC have worked with FACE to mentor school children at shows and give talks/presentations at schools. They continue to share good practice with joint guides and membership of FACE.

03 July 2017

Bonding as a team boosted Skelton YFC’s chances in the Football finals when they scored the winning goal at NFYFC’s Sports Day.

The team, who only decided to enter their County competition at the last minute, put their all into coming first at the national final after coming second to Raughton Head in the Northern Area round. When faced with their Cumbrian opposition, Raughton Head, in the semi-final at the national Sports Day, they beat them and then went on to win 1-0 against Ceredigion FYFC.

“It’s such a long way to travel from Cumbria to Staffordshire, so we wanted to make it worthwhile going,” said team mate Mark-Lucas Winspear. “The atmosphere on the bus on the way back was brilliant compared to how we felt on the way down!”

Mark’s advice for YFCs competing in future sports competitions is to get fit and socialise. “Just make sure the team bond together. We went out lots to get to know each other well as it’s no good if you’re always arguing. Some of the lads were already doing CrossFit training every week and so all of us started to do this in the build up to the competition.”

Gelling as a team was also important for Shropshire FYFC’s Netball team who even joined their local Netball league to help them pull together and learn more skills. Jessica Powell was one of the eight women who made up the winning team and said that practice definitely made them better.

“All eight of us joined the local netball league in Shrewsbury and it definitely meant we practised more regularly and also helped us work better as a team. We have competed in six matches in the league and have another six to go,” said Jessica who has just been elected County Competitions Chairman for 2017-18. “I would definitely recommend to other clubs to get involved in a local team if you’re serious about competing at national level.”

Despite the nerves on the day, their extra practices paid off. “When we turned up we didn’t expect to win as everyone looked so good,” said Jessica. “We had so much support on the day from family and friends so it was fantastic when we did win! We’re a small club so winning a national competition has really raised our profile.” 

For the winning Mixed Rounders team from Farnley Estate YFC, in Yorkshire FYFC, it was all about the rehearsal – as they put in two and a half hours of practice every week in the build up to the competition. They even got their parents involved to play the opposing team for them in their practices.

“It has been 41 years since the Club won a Rounders competition at the national finals,” said Jessica Barker who competed in the team with her brother Sam. “We had a lot of people rooting for us and we got lots of encouraging texts every round we got through.”

Farnley Estate’s team was made of 10 members as young as 11 years old and the eldest was 17 years old (16 at the time of entry).  The Club President was so delighted to hear of them winning that he’s taking them all out for dinner to celebrate.

 For all the photos from Sports Day 2017, please check out the album on Facebook.

03 July 2017

Pembrokeshire FYFC took home seven out of the 17 awards at the 2017 Competitions Day, claiming victory in many of the public speaking finals.

It was a clean sweep in the Brainstrust competition, where Pembrokeshire won trophies for Best Chairman (Rhys Jones) and Best Panelist (Tomos Evans) and were also declared the Best Team.

The County also won the Best After Dinner Speaking competition as well as taking Best Chairman (Nia Lloyd) and Best Vote of Thanks (Alaw Grug) in the Junior Speaking competition. Pembrokeshire won the top award for the Efficiency with Safety competition too – for the seventh consecutive year!

Pembrokeshire’s County President Alwyn Evans said it was a “tremendous day” for the County. “We had a huge representation at the event so to come away with so many awards makes myself, as President of the County, very proud of our talented members. We have had a very good Public Speaking year!”

Pembrokeshire’s success could be due in part to its training programme that has been put in place to support members through each competition. After winning at County level, the winning members and teams for each competition are allocated a personal trainer to help them through Area rounds and in preparation for the NFYFC final.

“The trainer comes to the competitions and watches the team compete and is involved in the process all the way through,” explained Alwyn. “Our success is credit to the calibre of the members really, as you can train them as much as you want but if your members aren’t willing to work hard it doesn’t bear fruit in the end. But they did and it’s all worked out very well!”

Yorkshire FYFC also had a successful weekend, winning the team trophy for Junior Speaking as well as Best Speaker (Rebecca Pickles). They also claimed victory for Junior Member of the Year after Thomas Barley won the title beating off stiff competition from the six other finalists.

Rebecca Pickles from the winning Yorkshire Junior Speaking team said they had been practising ahead of the competition: “Look happy and be yourself! You will be more relaxed that way,” advised Rebecca from Lothersdale YFC whose Yorkshire team was for the first time made up of the winners from the County rounds. Rebecca’s team mates were Anna Booth from Rathmell YFC  and Rebecca Stapleton from Silsden and Skipton YFC.

“You gain confidence as you do it more,” added Rebecca whose parents are former YFC members and were there to see her win the trophy for her team and for Best Chairman. “As you gain more confidence, you tend to talk to more people in other teams and you gain friends that way as well.”

The Southern counties came out top in Clay Pigeon Shooting – Alex Drake from Hampshire FYFC won the 17 & under and Henry Mitchell from Buckinghamshire FYFC won the 26 & under. Devon FYFC also brought home the silverware in Fence Erecting and Situations Vacant (James Gould) and Gloucestershire won the Junior Reading award.

For all the photos from the NFYFC Competitions Day 2017, please see the album on Facebook.

03 July 2017

With the importance of land-based industries coming to the fore, there’s a recognised need to ensure our workforce education, training and skills are highly developed and championed.

That’s the remit of the National Land Based College (NLBC), established as a virtual college to address our farming, growing and land based industries’ workforce training and skills challenges. NLBC’s work was highlighted at the recent NFYFC AGRI Steering Group meeting with a recommendation for all YFC members to view their on-line digital hub, which is the one stop shop for land based skills.

NLBC has strong links to the majority of the specialist land based colleges and universities, whilst being employer-driven. The virtual college aims to develop collaborations and partnerships across the sector, and maximise the use of learning technologies and high quality blended learning.

With future aims of being a portal for ‘all roads to careers, skills and training’, it’s just what we’ve all been waiting for.

NLBC will specifically:

  • Attract and guide more talent and advocate the sector as a profession offering STEM careers.
  • Create an NLBC careers information portal and registration scheme, linked to existing sector initiatives - including NFYFC training.
  • Collaborate with other bodies to create careers frameworks and joint promotional tools.
  • Endorse and showcase high-quality training and development across the land based sector.

NLBC can provide you with information, opportunities, resources and career connections that will be invaluable to you throughout your land based journey.

You can register with NLBC and stay up-to-date with latest developments. Register me now!


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