National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

16 August 2017

An overwhelming majority of the public support investment in farm businesses for future generations, according to the 2017 results of the Farmer Favourability survey released by the NFU.

In the first of these annual surveys since the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the NFU has said the findings powerfully demonstrate the public’s strong recognition of British farming’s contribution to the country.    

The survey showed that three quarters of people agree that farmers should receive assistance towards protecting the environment and for dealing with climate change (75%); investing in farm businesses for future generations (73%) and ensuring a fair standard of living for farmers (73%).

Ed Ford, NFYFC's Chairman of Council said: “What encouraging feedback for young farmers in the NFU’s Farmer Favourability survey. Knowing that the majority of the public want the Government to invest in farm businesses for future generations will give young farmers a real boost and help NFYFC in its case to government. We want this industry to thrive and ensuring a fair standard of living for farmers is key to making that happen, so we are pleased this has public backing

“Young farmers are also concerned about the environment and keen to create a sustainable future. We hope that MPs and decision makers will listen to public opinion on these matters too, as highlighted in the NFU’s survey.”

The survey also highlighted:

  • 68% of people have a favourable or very favourable view  of British farming
  • 90% think farming is important to the UK economy
  • 89% think it is important to have a productive farming industry
The role farming plays in proving safe, traceable food through supply chains independently audited by assurance scheme like Red Tractor has also been recognised by the public.

  • 64% trust British food more than the rest of the world
  • 66% often or always specifically look for British food when shopping

Government support post-Brexit for the sector is also something the public feels strongly about.

  • 68% of the public feel that farmers should receive support to both produce food and look after the environment in equal measure;
  • preserving the countryside (82% agree);
  • ensuring reasonable food prices  (81% agree).
NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “The results of this survey will make for welcome news for the farming sector. It’s clear the public recognise the strategic importance of farming in feeding the country, looking after the countryside and contributing to the economy.”

07 August 2017

Young Farmers in Devon proved that strength was on their side at the national Tug of War finals when both their men’s and ladies’ teams won first places in the competition.

Haldon YFC ladies and Anstey YFC men’s teams were thrilled to finally pick up the winning shields at the Tenbury Show on Saturday 5 August, after competing in the final in previous years but not making it into the winning positions.

The Haldon YFC Ladies team have made steady progress to reach the winning spot this year after coming fifth in 2014, third in 2015 and second in 2016. The team agree that the key to winning is the harder you train, the harder you are to beat!

Team member Emma Davie said: "After being so close to winning last year, we came back even more determined to pick up that trophy. Getting as much live pulling as we could in the lead up to the competition certainly helped. We train twice a week and compete in the Friday night league."

The team also qualified to represent England at the British and Irish Tug of War Championships, which Emma said has helped as they have had to compete against some of the best teams in the country.

"When the team started out five years ago, our aim was to represent Devon at the national finals. We may have to try and come back next year to defend the title! This is also the thrd year we have been to the finals with Anstey men's team, so to see them win their final in the same year as us feels pretty incredible."

Chris Porter, from Anstey YFC’s winning men's team, advised never to give up on your goal after his team were defeated in 2015 and came third last year.

“We trained very hard and gained a lot of experience by competing in the GENSB competitions as well as NFYFC ones,” explained Chris. “We’re a tight team as well; we all go out together. You couldn’t do this sport if you didn’t get on. A few of our team will be stepping down next year as they will be out of membership age but we’ll be handing the baton to the younger members now!”

In the junior mixed teams, Trecastle YFC from Brecknock were victorious and the club tweeted: “Well done to our junior team coming first!”

The Tug of War finals attracted a large crowd of spectators at the Tenbury Show, which helped to cheer the teams along.

Each team pulled a match of two ends against every other team in the league and points were awarded accordingly.

The winning placements for the 2017 Tug of War are:


1 - Trecastle - Brecknock
2 - Crucorney – Gwent Y
3 - Hope Valley – Derbyshire
4 - Grayrigg - Cumbria Young Farmers A


1 - Anstey YFC - Devon
2 - Whitley Chapel - Northumberland
3 - Bridgewater YFC – Somerset
4 - Dolfor YFC – Montgomery


1 - Haldon Group – Devon
2 - Tenbury Ladies – Worcestershire
3 - Melton Mowbray YFC - Leicestershire & Rutland
4 - Hermon YFC - Pembrokeshire

07 August 2017

He was once a DJ and wants to learn more about Fence Erecting... Meet NFYFC’s new Deputy Chief Officer Matt Caldicott who has a career in youth work and charities and was more recently with the charity The Farming Community Network (FCN).  Matt will be helping to ensure NFYFC builds on its solid foundations and delivers a service that meets the needs of today’s membership.  We grilled Matt on his YFC credentials...

Why did you want to be involved with Young Farmers’ Clubs?

I have been involved in youth work for the majority of my life, whether in a voluntary role or in full-time employment. I was a member of beavers, cubs and scouts – as well as a leader later in life. I have been involved in church youth groups and have always volunteered my time to work in the local community. I have helped to develop small local charities as well as worked in a national development role with The Farming Community Network (FCN).

My work with FCN brought me back in touch with Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFC) after knowing quite a few members when I was younger. I was first introduced to YFC many years ago in my DJ-ing days when I was booked to DJ at many Young Farmers’ events in Warwickshire! I had a few farming friends back then and hung around a lot of farms. It was a big part of my life when I was growing up.

The opportunity to work with NFYFC and help develop this fantastic organisation seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

The song that would get everyone on the dance floor?

KLF and the Jive Bunny mixes. They were all the rage back then...

Where do you live and who with?

In a village called Brandon in Warwickshire with my wife (Melanie) and three children Ben, Alfie and Millie.

Describe yourself in three words?

Self-taught. Practical. Motivated .

What do you enjoy about working with young people?

I had a poor educational start in life. I grew up being told I wouldn’t amount to anything. Thankfully, I had a great scout leader who believed in me and told me I could do whatever I wanted to do in life. I went into youth work because I’d had such a good role model showing me I could amount to something and I wanted to help other people to feel they could amount to something as well. Taking young people through life-changing experiences is a real privilege.

What do you hope to bring to the Federation in your role as Deputy Chief Officer?

I had only ever been exposed to the social side of YFC, so when I discovered the breadth of work the Federation does, I was amazed. I have worked in youth work for 25 years and YFC really is the best kept secret as people do not realise the quality of the work you do. That’s what impressed me, it’s so diverse and it’s rooted in really good values, which translate well for me coming from a church and faith background. NFYFC stands on solid foundations and I see my role as ensuring they are sustainable for the future. It is a privilege and an honour to be part of an organisation with such history and I want to help shape it for the next generation. I take that quite seriously. It’s not just a job.

If you could create a new YFC competition, what would it be and why?

I’d love it if there was a tractor pulling competition. I am really into machinery and motorsport so this would appeal to me on many levels!

Is there a farming skill you wish you could learn and why?

Fence Erecting. I am quite a detailed person and I like straight lines! I’d quite like to judge the Fence Erecting competition. I think I’d be quite a harsh judge.

Tell us something about yourself that not many people know

I can do fire breathing – a skill I learnt a few years ago at a circus skills class!

04 August 2017

Fourteen farming organisations, including NFYFC, have issued a joint statement on UK Government to provide short-term certainty for the industry as exiting the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy draws closer.
The 14 organisations say Governments across the UK need to work together with the farmers and land managers to prepare for a new long-standing free trade agreement which retains and grows opportunities for food trade with the EU and the rest of the world.

They also call for commitments on transition that will see the UK remain in the Customs Union until a full free trade agreement is in place with the EU.

NFYFC’s Vice Chairman of Council Lynsey Martin, from Kent FYFC, has been involved in the discussion groups leading up to this joint statement. Lynsey said: “The industry and government Brexit roundtable groups demonstrate the collaboration necessary to advise with a collective voice and I’m delighted to be able to represent the voice of the next generation.”

NFYFC’ s name was among the 14 signatories to the statement and others included the British Poultry Council, CLA (Country Land and Business Association), National Beef Association, National Farmers Union, National Farmers Union of Wales, National Farmers Union of Scotland, National Pig Association, National Sheep Association, Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers, Scottish Land and Estates, The Soil Association, Tenant Farmers Association and the Ulster Farmers Union

Deputy President Tim Breitmeyer said: “Farmers and land managers will benefit from new opportunities in trade and agricultural policy. However, we must take the necessary time to put in place the right trade agreements and to develop and robustly test a new policy that will support farming and the environment for the long-term.

“We need a period of certainty in which this work can be done and we will continue to work with fellow farming organisations to achieve this."

The statement in full is available here.

03 August 2017

Young Farmers in Devon have launched a new safety campaign to encourage the farming community to wear a seatbelt when they are driving a tractor.

The campaign, called #buckleupforiceman, was launched after the tragic death of YFC member Todd Riggs who was killed in a trailer incident in the week leading up to Farm Safety Week. Todd’s nickname was Iceman. 

Gemma Smale-Rowland, Todd’s friend, helped to launch the campaign and said: “We’ll never know if a seatbelt would have saved Todd’s life but it has certainly made people think about wearing one.

“Todd’s passion was for farming and he was always looking for a better and safer way of doing things. I’m sure if this had happened to anyone else he would have been in full support of this campaign.”
The challenge asks people to nominate friends and family to ‘buckle up’, take a photo or video, share on social media and tag at least two more people to do the same.
The campaigners are also getting stickers printed to stick on tractor doors and windows with the #buckleupforiceman hashtag.

03 August 2017

Thanks to online pledges from YFCs and County Federations, during Farm Safety Week in July, thousands of members will receive life-saving farm safety training.

NFYFC asked its 624 clubs to ‘pledge’ their commitment to putting the training on their Club Programmes during the 2017-18 membership year. Members took to social media to show their support by posting NFYFC’s pledge cards on their social media sites and registering their interest in the course on the booking form.

Culm Valley YFC (pictured) was one of the clubs to post a pledge online and tweeted: "#TeamCV are making the pledge to deliver the farm safety Curve training as part of #FarmSafetyWeek!"

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.

So far, only 173 YFC members have received the training in their club but thanks to the surge of interest in the course during Farm Safety Week it is hoped more members will be reached.

NFYFC Chairman Ed Ford said: “A huge thank you to all the clubs that have pledged to run the farm safety training course in 2017-18 - we need all our clubs to do the same. It's a fun and interactive training session with a serious message – it could save someone’s life. Farm safety is really important and as the next generation of farmers, we need to lead the way and make a difference.”

Farming continues to have one of the poorest safety records of any occupation in the UK and Ireland. 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.

YFCs and members also supported the week by sharing materials from Yellow Wellies and using the hashtag #FarmSafetyWeek. The Farm Safety Foundation’s message for the week was 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.

If you would like more information about the Farm Safety training module and to run the session in your club please visit the Farm Safety Week page.


Designed by Kevyn Williams