National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

11 February 2018

Leading farming charity The Farm Safety Foundation is advising the farming industry to start looking after themselves mentally as well as physically and NFYFC is helping to raise awareness among its members.

Whilst UK farmers are renowned for the attention they give to their livestock, crops and machinery, it appears they do not have such a good track record when it comes to taking care of themselves and their own wellbeing.

Levels of depression in the industry are thought to be increasing and suicide rates in farmers are among the highest in any occupational group (ONS). In an industry with the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK, stress is often a key factor in many of the accidents, injuries and illnesses taking place on farms. Stress is something that many farmers face at some point and is an important contributor to mental health problems. It can come from many sources such as financial pressures resulting from market fluctuations, livestock disease or poor harvests, but concerns about Brexit, policies, administration and legislation can also take their toll.

The situation is compounded by the fact that farming tends to be an innately conservative culture and some still perceive a stigma attached to mental health. This can hinder people’s willingness to speak about the issue and to seek help for themselves.

The Farm Safety Foundation’s inaugural ‘Mind Your Head’ Campaign aims to encourage farmers and farming families not to neglect themselves, but to put themselves first, ‘open up’ and get some help and advice on whatever concerns they have.

The Farm Safety Foundation is bringing together key organisations in the industry to work together for this campaign in the hope that farmers and their families know where, when and how to seek help when they need it.

The campaign has many synergies with NFYFC’s Rural+ campaign, and the Federation will be promoting key messages throughout the week in support of Mind Your Head.

After an extraordinary journey from the depths of depression to one of the most universally respected international rugby referees, former president of the Wales Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, Nigel Owens (46), from Carmarthenshire, is all too aware of how easily things can get out of hand when you don’t open up and you allow stress to take over your life.

In his mid-twenties, Nigel lacked self-esteem about the way he looked and he was ashamed about being homosexual. Coming from a small farming community, he did not want anyone to know and did not know where to turn. This led him down a dark path where he became addicted to steroids and suffered from bulimia. On one particular occasion he tried to commit suicide at the top of Bancyddraenen Mountain, overlooking the village he had lived in all his life, Mynyddcerrig. Thankfully, he didn’t succeed and he received help to get him mentally well.

Nigel said; ““The mind is a powerful tool which can be positive and helpful, as well as negative and destructive. If we don’t open up and talk about how we’re feeling and what we are struggling with, we end up doing ourselves damage mentally and the longer that goes on for, the more there is the potential to become anxious and depressed as I well know. I’m delighted to support the ‘Mind Your Head’ Campaign because the farming community need to know they are not alone and that there should be no taboo about asking for help."

The Farm Safety Foundation is bringing together key organisations in the industry to work together for this campaign in the hope that farmers and their families know where, when and how to seek help when they need it.

For more information on ‘Mind Your Head’ visit or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook using the hashtag #MindYourHead

08 February 2018

The new Chairman of the national Youth Forum wants to see more counties introduce Youth Forums so that younger members’ voices are represented.

Megan Watkins, 18, from Crasswall YFC in Herefordshire, was elected as the new Chairman of the Youth Forum at the weekend during the group’s Residential Weekend to Edinburgh. Megan has been a YFC member since she was 10 years old and joined the Youth Forum after winning the West Midlands Area’s Junior Member of the Year award.

Megan, who is currently studying at Harper Adams, said she is “loving every minute” of being part of the Youth Forum.  She added:

“I am delighted to be elected as Chairman of such an enthusiastic group of people as I feel it is crucial that we get the voice of junior members heard at a national level.

“With over half of the membership under the age of 18, the Youth Forum is vital to making sure all members discover just how great it is to be involved in YFC. I am determined to encourage all counties to have a Youth Forum as well as ensuring ongoing and new projects thrive,” said Megan.

Charlotte Scott, from Somerset FYFC, was elected as Vice Chair of the group and will support Megan in her new role.

Also during the weekend, Freddie Wooton, Nick Bundy and Rachel Black were co-opted on to the group.

NFYFC Chairman of Council Ed Ford joined the Youth Forum on their Edinburgh adventure, where members enjoyed quad biking, clay pigeon shooting and a problem solving challenge at the Escape Rooms. 

The national Youth Forum was formed in 2010 as a way for younger members to have their voices heard within the organisation. The forum is made up of the finalists of the Junior Member of the Year competition plus an elected representative from each of the NFYFC Areas.

The Youth Forum meet up three times a year, run loads of exciting projects and feed into the NFYFC Council to make sure NFYFC continue to run great competitions, events and activities for younger members. 


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