National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

24 July 2017

"It was with great sadness that NFYFC found out that one of our YFC members died last week in a tragic accident in Devon. Our thoughts are with Todd Riggs' family and friends, including those in his Club Bradworthy YFC and those who knew him in Devon Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs. While the details surrounding Todd's death are still to be determined, we are aware the accident occurred whilst he was driving a tractor and trailer.

"We urge all our members to follow farm safety advice - and especially so this week during Farm Safety Week. As the next generation of young farmers - you can and must make a difference. Please ensure your club adds farm safety training to your Club Programme in 2017-18.Visit: www.nfyfc.org.uk/farmsafetyweek." NFYFC Chairman Ed Ford

Two of Todd's closest friends Roland Ley and Jon Cleave have written a moving tribute to him::

Farewell to a friend

It was with shock and disbelief that we learnt of Todd’s tragic passing on the 18th July, a young man at the centre of a close knit farming community, with friends in every corner of the county and beyond. His infectious enthusiasm, sharp wit and ready smile made him universally popular which has been evident in the outpouring of grief. Few could be said to have had such an impact on so many, in such a short amount of time.

We first met Todd through our time in Young Farmers which many would regard as his first love. Friends recall him being a shy young lad, something he would quickly grow out of as he flourished in speaking competitions, stock-judging and stage productions. His ‘have a go’ attitude soon meant he was as at home articulating his views in a debate as he was playing an ugly sister in the clubs’ performance of Cinderella. In time he was elected Chairman of his club Bradworthy and later Tarka Group, but there’s little doubt he would have said his best experience was his trip to Russia, having been awarded a Travel Scholarship in 2009. On passing the membership age, Todd continued to play an active role in YFC and served as leader for both club and group, offering support and advice whenever needed. His regular attendance of South West Area and National Conventions meant he was still very much a familiar face with the members, catching up with old friends and winning new ones with his trademark grin.

If Todd’s love was for YFC his passion was undoubtedly for farming and perhaps it was his early introduction to organic farming that fired his enquiring mind, but few could match his thirst for knowledge and desire to challenge convention in search of a better way of doing things. His love of dairy cows and regular stints in the cattle lines at agricultural shows earned him the respect of many a stockman who recognised his eye for detail and wonderful nature with animals.

Todd also knew the importance of looking after the land, and more recently had joined the Bude Grassland Society. He regularly attended meetings and became a well respected member winning consecutive titles for his big baled silage. It was little surprise when he was elected Chairman of the group in 2016 becoming both the youngest and only farm employee to hold the position.

He was also on the organising committee of Holsworthy & Stratton Agricultural Show to which he made a great contribution and where his fresh ideas and youthful enthusiasm will no doubt be sorely missed, even if (as he himself would admit) giving him responsibility for the bar, was a bit like putting a fox in charge of the hen house!

There’s barely space to mention all of his other interests, from his love of rugby and in particular the Exeter Chiefs to his keen following of politics and current affairs, Todd’s knowledge seemed to know no bounds. But it would be remiss of us not to mention his treasured John Deere 2140 with which he attended many a charity tractor run, including one that he and a friend organised in 2015 raising over £700 for the Devon Air Ambulance.

Perhaps what he will be most fondly remembered for was his love of a good party and he never passed on the chance to enjoy a few beers (and often many more) with friends. His ability to make a pint disappear before others had barely raised their glasses was legendary, and he was always the life and soul of any party. Despite this he was never known to have been late for work, even those early morning milking shifts, as many have commented “he worked hard and played hard” and that’s just how he would want to be remembered.

In his short time Todd touched so many lives and it’s been hard to find the words to do him justice, but to us he was good natured, good humoured and great company – what more could we have asked for in a friend? RIP Todd.


Roland Ley and Jon Cleave


23 July 2017

During Farm Safety Week (24-28 July) The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is calling on its 624 clubs to commit to delivering a potentially life-saving farm safety training course to its 25,000 members.

YFCs are being asked to ‘pledge’ their commitment to putting the training on their Club Programmes during the 2017-18 membership year and NFYFC has developed a series of ‘pledge cards’ for its 25,000 members to use on social media during the week.

The training, which has been developed with the Farm Safety Foundation – organisers of Farm Safety Week, has been created to ensure the next generation of farmers is more aware of the dangers and can help to instigate changes.

Farming continues to have one of the poorest safety records of any occupation in the UK and Ireland but all the main farming organisations are working together during the 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.

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. We want all our YFCs to commit to putting the training on their 2017-18 Club Programmes and show their 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 are also supporting the week by sharing materials from the NFYFC’s 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 – it’s a lifestyle not a slogan.

The farm safety training is part of NFYFC’s suite of training courses called the Curve. These sessions are delivered by NFYFC’s certified trainers in clubs across England and Wales and are aimed at developing skills and raising awareness on a range of topics.

For more information about the Curve training module, to download materials and find out more about YFCs pledging their support, visit here..


20 July 2017

The tragic death of a Devon FYFC member in March triggered a new farm safety initiative that has the potential to save up to three lives a year.

Devon’s pioneering scheme called Growing Safer Farmers, which was featured on BBC Countryfile on Sunday 23 July, involves machinery dealers and mechanics producing advisory notices to flag up any safety issues on PTO shafts and providing a discount for an annual health check on PTO shafts.

The idea came about after 20-year-old Lauren Scott – a member of Devon FYFC - was sadly killed in a farm accident.

“In spite of the health and safety training the county has organised, in the last 14 years five members have been killed or seriously injured and it’s just too many,” said Nick. “We found out about Lauren while we were at the South West Area weekend, which made it even more shocking as so many members were together at the time. It’s just a waste of a young life.”

Devon’s aim is to get the big manufacturers on board to influence their dealerships to use the safety paperwork. So far in Devon, over 20 dealers and mechanics have agreed to the scheme, and the County is now in the process of gathering feedback from participants on how well it has worked.

“We are potentially going to save two to three lives every year. A thousand pieces of machinery will be safer because they will be in a good state of repair. It’s got to be a winner,” said Nick. 

Photo courtesy of Emily Fleur



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.



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