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:" 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


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