National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

20 July 2017

Applications are open to young farmers for study tours to China to explore the challenges faced in a different agricultural environment.

There are currently spaces for two groups of 10 European Young Farmers on two-week study tours to China in November 2017 and June 2018 and NFYFC members are encouraged to apply. The scheme is fully funded by the EU and China so there are no costs for the participants and the deadline for applications is 10 September 2017.

The trip is part of a new 18-month initiative called the EU-China Young Farmers Programme that is aimed at strengthening relationships and learning between young farmers across the EU and China. The programme has been set up by the European Union (DG AGRI and the EU Delegation in China) and the People’s Republic of China (Ministry of Agriculture), supported by CEJA.

NFYFC’s AGRI Steering Group Chairman Harriet Wilson said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for YFC members and I would encourage them to apply for one of these study tours to China. NFYFC is still a member of CEJA and therefore members should take advantage of opportunities such as these.”

The programme aims to give young farmers a chance to explore common [and very different] challenges that are faced in different agricultural environments, to support the personal development of the individuals that get involved, produce recommendations to policy-makers on sustainable farming practices, and ultimately to help with the strategic relationship between China and EU countries.

Study visits will involve young professional farmers and agricultural professionals from the EU and China. These exchanges will include training in agri-businesses, innovative farms, governmental entities and local agencies, research institutes and universities, cooperatives, in EU Member States and Chinese provinces.

Young Farmers will have to meet the following criteria to be considered for the study tours:

  • Farmer
  • Under the age of 40 years
  • Good knowledge of English
  • Availability for two weeks in November 2017 or June 2018
  • High level of experience and interest in sustainable agriculture
  • High level of interest in Chinese agriculture.

Both the EU and China face similar challenges in the field of rural development and agriculture, such as diversity of agriculture, pedo-climatic regions, natural environment and cultural traditions, diversity of socio-economic status, rural population ageing, difference between urban and rural development.

To apply for the trip, visit here.


20 July 2017

Two YFC members have been identified by Farmers Weekly as Rising Stars of the agricultural industry – with former members also among the top line up.

Agriculture and Rural Issues (AGRI) Steering Group Chairman Harriet Wilson from Staffordshire FYFC and Chris Manley, former NFYFC Chairman and associate member of Devon FYFC were among the 13 Rising Stars chosen by the judges.

Harriet’s achievements in her work as the Senior Agricultural Manager for the Co-op were highlighted by the weekly industry magazine. Judges were impressed by Harriet’s passion for and understanding of retailing and agriculture. Harriet describes her role as her ‘dream job’ and has already been identified as a future leader though the Co-op’s internal Shining Stars programme.

Harriet tweeted about the award: “Pretty lucky to have won this award!! Thank you @CoopAgriMatters @coopukpress @StaffsYFC for nominating me!”

It was Chris’s life plan that impressed the judges in his nomination. His goals personally and professionally have set Chris on a successful path.

At a professional level, he’s led the restructuring of the Sainsbury’s chicken supply chain from an agricultural perspective to deliver a greater level of trust and transparency, with farmers and processors working more closely together for mutual benefit.

Chris said: “I am delighted to be recognised as a Farmers Weekly Rising Star. So much of my success has been made possible thanks to the skills, experience and friends I have gained through Young Farmers.”

The Rising Stars 2017 competition invited nominations from across the country and Farmers Weekly selected 13 young men and women who are transforming the farming, food and environmental sectors.

All of the winners are 35 or under and are already making a massive difference and are considered to be the game-changers of the future in the industry. Among the 13, seven of the Rising Stars have been members of a Young Farmers’ Club.

The winners all received a free ticket to the Agroforestry 2017 conference at Cranfield University in June where Farmers Weekly hosted a dedicated photo shoot for a special Farmers Weekly feature, which was published in July.

Read more about the 13 Rising Stars here.

06 July 2017

YFCs are being asked to pledge their commitment to delivering NFYFC's Farm Safety Curve training module and to put it on their 2017-18 club programmes, as part of Farm Safety Week 2017.

The campaign week, which runs from 24 to 28 July 2017, is organised by The Farm Safety Foundation and has been timed to take place alongside the Royal Welsh Show.

NFYFC is asking all its YFCs to back the campaign by pledging to deliver NFYFC’s farm safety module, which was developed with Yellow Wellies, in their clubs.

YFC members, clubs and counties can show their support for Farm Safety Week by sharing NFYFC’s ‘pledge cards’ on social media, on their websites and in newsletters.

NFYFC Chairman Ed Ford said: “The Farm Safety Curve training module is a fun and interactive training session with a serious message – it could save someone’s life. Please encourage your YFC to commit to getting the training on your 2017-18 Club Programme and show your commitment by sharing our pledge cards on social media. We want the world to know that Young Farmers are dedicated to farm safety.”

YFCs and members can also support the week by sharing materials from the NFYFC social media pages, from Yellow Wellies social media pages and using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek. The Farm Safety Foundation’s message for the week is farm safety is a lifestyle not a slogan.

Farming continues to have one of the poorest safety records of any occupation in the UK & Ireland but all the main farming organisations are working together for this week to address this.

The latest annual figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that out of 137 people killed or fatally injured in workplace accidents last year, 27 worked in agriculture.

For more information about the Curve training module, to download materials and find out how to pledge your support, visit our Farm Safety Week page.

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.


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