National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

22 February 2018

Young farmers from across Europe will visit the UK in March to discuss the impact of potential trade and policy changes post-Brexit at a seminar organised by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and the NFU Next Generation Forum.

The visit, which involves members of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), will see young farmers from Europe and the UK meet to debate and establish the next generation’s position on Brexit.

The two-day event, supported by Massey Ferguson and the Crop Protection Association, will involve workshops, a tour of Squab Hall – an AHDB monitor farm in Warwickshire and conclude with a crucial seminar called Brexit and Beyond. 

NFYFC and the NFU share joint-membership of CEJA, and with policy and trade changes imminent, opportunities and collaboration for next generation farmers both at home and in Europe are rife for discussion.  

CEJA ‘s President Jannes Maes said: “In these times of change, it is of paramount importance that we keep an open dialogue among young and future farmers across Europe. British young farmers have been longstanding and valued members of CEJA and we look forward to continuing this fruitful collaboration, regardless of what Brexit might bring.”

The bid to host the event was approved by the NFYFC Council, the NFU and CEJA last year and NFYFC Chairman Lynsey Martin said it was essential to get young farmers talking. “Collaboration and forward-thinking discussions with European young farmers are important during this time of change. 

“Our CEJA membership has stood the next generation in good stead for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) considerations and we relish mutual support during the consultation and implementation of a British agricultural policy.  Brexit is as much of a concern for European young farmers as it is for us, so this is a great opportunity for scene-setting, debate and discussion.”

Richard Bower, Chair of the NFU Next Generation Forum said: “Our organisations have always enjoyed a close relationship and the joint-membership of CEJA has been productive and enjoyable.  We want to ensure future next generation collaboration and to maintain a close, working relationship with European young farmers.”

The event is supported by Massey Ferguson and Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson, Director Marketing Services and PR, Europe and Middle East said:

“Massey Ferguson is fully-focused on the requirements of the new generation of farmers and promoting the growth of their farming businesses. As a principal partner of CEJA and a key sponsor of the Young Farmers movement in the UK and Eire, we are very pleased to support this collaborative discussion forum at Stoneleigh Park.”

Sarah Mukherjee, Chief Executive of the Crop Protection Association, said:“We are delighted to be working with NFYFC. Young farmers across Europe are using innovation and best practice to ensure productive crops whilst looking after their unique and beautiful landscapes.  It’s always a pleasure to listen and learn from the next generation.”

22 February 2018

AHDB Beef and Lamb is launching an awareness campaign with shoppers to promote thin cut steaks and the benefits to the consumer and the industry.

Early trials with an electronic bite test show the meat industry could save more than £7 million, turning cuts graded as slower cook into thin cut steaks.

As part of work to increase carcase value, AHDB experts have used equipment known as a texture analyser to measure the force needed to ‘bite’ through a small sample of meat, placing a kilogram value to measure its tenderness.

Using this science, muscles within the British beef carcase have been tested and found to be suitable for use as quick cook thin cut steaks. During the summer months, cuts used for winter dishes may lose value, needing to be frozen, exported or put through the mincer.

Early tests indicate industry could reap more than £5.2 million creating thin cut steaks from Chuck and £2.5 million from the Leg of Mutton Cut (LMC). Extensive analysis has also been carried out on beef in the US.

AHDB Beef and Lamb has also identified thin cut steaks as a new means to get consumers to eat more beef any day of the week.

Mike Whittemore, Head of Trade and Product Development at AHDB, said: “British pride lies in the quality of the beef that’s produced. The ‘bite test’ uses shear force to measure tenderness, meaning that retailers could quantify quality and charge accordingly. It also helps to ensure consistency and boost consumer confidence in beef steak.”

Within the AHDB strategy, a target to increase the value of the English beef category by three per cent has been set. Quality is also identified as a key driver of choice for consumers.

To raise awareness with shoppers, thin cut steaks will now be promoted with consumer marketing campaigns in 2018, including Great British Beef Week organised by Ladies in Beef, which starts on Monday 23 April until 30 April.

Find out more about the research and the thin cut campaign here and

22 February 2018

The Ladies Tug of War weight limit will reduce from 580kg to 560kg for the 2018/19 competition.

The decision to change the weight was made by YFC members in the Competitions Steering Group following consultation with members.

The change in weight was agreed so that the competition rules would fall in line with Tug of War Association weights for Ladies’ competitions, which are 520kg and 560kg. The decision makes it be easier for YFC teams to practice and compete in Tug of War Association competitions across England and Wales.

Chairman of the Competitions Steering Group Fay Thomas said: “We asked all member representatives to consult about the weight change with their Areas and counties prior to the Competitions steering group meeting in February. The decision of the group was that from the 2018-19 competitions year the weight for the Ladies Tug of War competition will be reduced to 560kg. It’s a really positive move and means more YFC teams can compete in even more Tug of War competitions!”

See a list of Tug of War fixtures in England or the list of fixture for Wales. .


18 February 2018

The new Chairman of leading rural youth organisation The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) wants to see more food and farming education in schools.

Lynsey Martin, 29, a member of Ashford and District Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) in Kent, was elected by members at the Council meeting on 18 February in Coventry. Lynsey is a self-employed livestock worker and wants more young people to consider the career opportunities available to them in the agricultural sector.

Lynsey will be supported in her role by calf nutritionist and Regional Sales Representative for Bonanza Calf Nutrition Katie Hall from Gloucester YFC in Gloucestershire who will serve a second year as Vice Chairman. Laura Elliott from Gower YFC takes on the position of the second Vice Chairman alongside her role as a Project Officer for Specific at Swansea University and as Wales YFC’s Chairman.

The three women, who have all taken on roles throughout the Federation at local and national levels, are keen to promote food and farming in schools.

During her year as Chairman of NFYFC, Lynsey Martin is working with LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming and FACE (Farming and Countryside Education) on an exciting new initiative to help inform young people about how and where their food is produced as well as open their eyes to the breadth of career opportunities available in the farming sector.

The project involves the development of a new training module about food and farming which will equip YFC members with the necessary skills and know-how to deliver informative and inspirational lessons around farming and food production. Working alongside LEAF-FACE Regional Education Consultants, the initiative will be rolled out in schools across England and Wales.

Lynsey Martin, Chairman of NFYFC said: “The need for more food and farming education in schools is vital to help improve awareness about where produce comes from and how it reaches our dinner tables! Learning about food and farming from a young age will ultimately help our future generations make informed food choices.

“It's also important for young people to be aware of the many career opportunities within the industry. I am excited that in my new role as Chairman, I will be able to help promote these on an even wider scale and provide memorable learning experiences enabling young people to explore issues around food and farming and how it impacts on their everyday lives.”

In the week leading up to the Federation’s Annual Convention, which is this year being hosted in Blackpool from 4-6 May, Lynsey has set a personal challenge to visit a number of schools on the way. She has been given a Honda ATV to take into schools and so she can talk to children about the career opportunities available in the industry.

Lynsey added: “You don't need to have grown up on a farm to have a passion for this exciting sector – thousands of new entrants are needed, for example, to help fulfil technology and research roles associated with agriculture.

“You also don’t need to be currently involved in farming to join a YFC – many of our members don’t live or work on farms, they just share a passion for the countryside and a respect for the industry. I have been very fortunate to be a member of a successful YFC in Kent that has been a source of support, friendship, education and fun over the last 11 years. I am delighted to be able to give back to the organisation and help others take advantage of the amazing opportunities YFC can offer.”

Lynsey and her two Vice Chairmen will be responsible for leading the Federation’s Council, encouraging members of the Council to continue the development of the clubs that make up the NFYFC, to help them to meet the needs of YFC members and to further enhance the image of YFC.

More than 100 members gathered in Coventry over the weekend to pass motions that affect the running of the organisation and to elect the new Council. Five steering groups represent the views of the members and include: Competitions; Events and Marketing; Personal Development, Agriculture and Rural Issues and the Youth Forum. 

The National Council is made up of 63 members, associate members and co-options from across England and Wales and is elected by YFC members to represent their views.

Through steering groups, the National Council also decide and shape the programmes of work at NFYFC - planning events, competitions, campaigns and training for members.

Steering Group elections:

Agriculture and Rural Issues (AGRI)

Chairman: James Hutchinson, Wiltshire FYFC, Vice Chairman: David Goodwin, Warwickshire FYFC


Chairman: Fay Thomas, Herefordshire FYFC, Vice Chairman: Dewi Parry, Clywd FYFC

Events and Marketing

Chairman: Michael Wood, East Riding of Yorkshire, Vice Chairman: Lucy Stowell, Norfolk FYFC

Personal Development

Chairman: George Goodwin,Staffordshire FYFC Vice Chairmen: Fred Allen, Shropshire FYFC

Youth Forum

Chairman: Megan Watkins, Herefordshire FYFC, Vice Chairman: Charlotte Scott, Somerset FYFC

16 February 2018

Farm safety training for YFCs has seen a seven-fold increase since 2016 with more than 1,000 members attending an NFYFC Curve session on the topic.

The course, which is proving to be the most popular Curve module delivered in clubs so far this membership year, has been taken up so well thanks to an online campaign in 2017 that encouraged YFCs to pledge to deliver it.

The push to offer more farm safety training was driven by 2017-18 Chairman Ed Ford whose goal was for each Area of the Federation to deliver at least five Farm Safety Curve training modules. Ahead of Ed’s final report to Council on Sunday, the Chairman can report that all of the Areas in England have met this target and a total of 68 YFCs have delivered a session, with 15 more scheduled to take place. (The map on the right shows where all courses have been pledged and delivered in dark purple. The light purple areas are where the courses have been pledged but not delivered yet).

It’s a massive improvement on 2016-17 figures, where only 201 YFC members received the training in seven counties. Already this membership year, 20 counties have got on board with Devon FYFC taking the glory for delivering the most courses (10) closely followed by Yorkshire that has delivered six.

Feedback from YFC members following the training revealed that 97% of YFC members felt that the course has improved their awareness of farm safety. Of those members who completed the course, 78% of them live, work or have hobbies on a farm – meaning the courses are also reaching the right people.

“We wanted all our YFCs to commit to putting the training on their 2017/18 club programmes and show their commitment by sharing pledge cards on social media,” said Ed about the online campaign. “The pledges showed the industry that Young Farmers are dedicated to farm safety. It’s really encouraging to see that the pledges converted into actual training. Thank you to everyone for taking this issue so seriously."

Farming accounts for just one percent of the UK workforce however it is responsible for 15/20% of all UK workplace fatalities. It is hoped that NFYFC’s Farm Safety Curve module, which has been developed with The Farm Safety Foundation, will help to change the next generation’s attitude.

“To know that nearly 13% of YFCs have supported this campaign is a great start. There’s still a long way to go and we must continue to keep pushing for all YFCs to deliver this course. If your YFC hasn’t talked about it yet, why not ask them to get it on your programme today. Our industry must change and we, the younger generation must lead it,” added Ed.

Find out more details about running a Farm Safety Curve module.

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


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