National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

27 April 2018

Panto punch lines will entertain a packed Opera House theatre at the Winter Gardens next Saturday 5 May when three YFCs take to the stage to battle it out for the national Performing Arts' title.  

YFC members from Brampton YFC in Cumbria, Erwood YFC in Brecknock and Cheriton & Tedburn YFC in Devon will all be putting on a full afternoon of entertainment for Convention-goers and supporters from home.

Erwood YFC will be performing Return to Neverland – a story about how things have changed when Wendy and her brothers return to Neverland. The pantomime has been written and produced by Samuel Powell and this small Brecknock club are delighted to be performing in the national final for the first time.

“We have lots of family and friends coming to support us as well as many Brecknock YFC members,” said Club leader Wendy Powell. “We have been busy fundraising and have been very fortunate to receive sponsorship from local businesses to help with the cost of getting the set and cast to Blackpool. We can’t wait to perform Return to Neverland and we hope everyone enjoys it as much as we have enjoyed doing it. Oggi, Oggi, Oggi.”

Brampton YFC will be performing Dick Whittington in a production that has been written by Brampton YFC, produced by Club Leader Anne Laird and directed by Gordon Brown. The performance tells the tale of how Dick Whittington tries to find fame, fortune and love on his travels to London.

Brampton has made it to the national finals of Drama before but this will be their first time performing in a Pantomime on a national stage. This is the first competition that some of the cast have ever taken part in too so to the club have said it will be an ‘amazing experience’ for them to be at the national final. 

Anne said: “Parents, family and friends will be travelling with us to Blackpool and with over 700 Cumbrian members attending the AGM weekend I’m sure the support in the theatre will be amazing – not just for Brampton YFC but for all the clubs who are competing.

“Thanks to the generosity of our local primary school and livestock auction we have been able to hold our final rehearsals in space of comparative size to the Opera House so the cast can get used to entrances and exits taking longer.”

Cheriton and Tedburn YFC only found out they were through to the national final two weeks before the Convention due to the weather causing a delay to the Southern regional final.

The Club will perform Aladd-out of Town, which has been written by Richard Tucker and produced by him and Dan Grist. The story is about Port Rummikin being left in the ‘not so’ capable hands of Aladdin’s son Toni. Expect to see Gary the Great, fairy dust and doughnuts in this lively performance from Devon.

Dan, who won best actor at the Southern Regional Final, said the club are excited to be returning to the Opera House after competing there in the national final of the Entertainments competition a few years ago.   

“We know how amazing the atmosphere is on the day, but it is so nice to be able to do it again with a whole new wave of members experiencing it for the first time. We’ve had to make it through four rounds to get to the finals so we are all very keen to perform it one last time and try and do Southern Area proud! 

We’ve had a lot of rehearsals in our village hall over the past few months – putting on charity performances in local venues, so that we get to practise with full audience participation, which is of course crucial in making a great panto!

The Panto would never have been able to happen without everyone helping behind the scenes – parents and supporters – so it is great to see them all coming up with us to Blackpool. We are hoping a big crowd from Devon will come to support us on the day!”

Find out more information on tickets and timings for the national final in Blackpool.


26 April 2018

Innovative community ideas have catapulted Worth Valley YFC into the limelight as the winners of NFYFC’s Club of Convention 2018. 

The 50-strong club, based in Yorkshire, is sending 15 of its members to the Convention in Blackpool this year, to enjoy a weekend of fame and glory.

The YFC was chosen from all of NFYFC’s competition entries as judges were impressed with their commitment to not only their local community but wider rural communities too.

The enterprising YFC recently launched a rural crime busting initiative using WhatsApp groups to help rural communities work together in reporting suspicious activity in the local area.  The Fields of Vision project, which is running in Worth Valley and also now in Kent, was shortlisted to win Rural Youth Europe’s Rural Youth Project 2017. The club came runners up in the competition in a Facebook voting poll.   

The Yorkshire club’s Fields of Vision project was launched in 2017 following a spate of crime in their local area. The club set up a local WhatsApp group to help be the eyes and ears of the countryside and to put a stop to rural crime. The plan is to roll the scheme out nationally and have a network of WhatsApp groups operating.

The club also has a Fields of Vision business that produces land art for organisations. This started when the YFC did 12 artworks for the Tour de France festival in 2014. Worth Valley also went on to win a competition for a 80 x 65m Branwell and the Bicycle artwork installation, which they created for the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire.

Vice Chairman Joe Holmes, said: “We’re very excited to be the Club of Convention this year. We are always coming up with new ideas on how to raise funds for the club or support our local community so it’s exciting to be promoting our efforts on the national stage at Convention.”

Joe has been invited to present the Fields of Vision project at a European Network for rural development in Brussels in the days leading up to Convention and will land back in the UK just in time to attend the weekend event.

As winners of the Club of Convention, the club will enjoy backstage passes and a chance to meet the DJs, tickets to the guest bar in the Winter Gardens and be photographed throughout the weekend.

You can follow Worth Valley’s adventures throughout the weekend on NFYFC’s social media channels and the Annual Convention website.

Worth Valley YFC factfile 

AGE: 80

NO. OF MEMBERS: 50

YOUNGEST MEMBER: 10

OLDEST MEMBER: 25

CHAIRMAN: Ella Bunton

VICE CHAIRMEN: Joe Holmes and Chris Penny

MEETINGS: Every Tuesday at 7.30pm, at a local pub’s function room.

STRONGEST COMP: Public Speaking

ENTERPRISING IDEAS: Award winners for land art, which is now a money-making business, alongside a wedding marquee hire business!



26 April 2018

YFC members will be asked to vote on a proposed increase to the NFYFC membership fee at the Annual General Meeting in May that will help invest in the future of the Federation.

The decision to increase the national levy by £5 – the amount YFC members pay to be members of NFYFC – was approved by the NFYFC Council in February. The decision was made after Council members reviewed the budget for the year ahead and discussed the need for increased investment in the running of vital services.

Plans are ahead to create an online centralised membership system, which would allow members to join and pay for their NFYFC subsriptions through the website. It would remove the job of membership administration away from all county offices, giving County Officers more time to support YFCs.

The centralised system would require an additional member of staff at NFYFC’s offices to coordinate the work. There are also requirements for another member of staff in the Development team at NFYFC to ensure YFCs and County offices are receiving enough support – especially where counties only have part-time staff.

The £5 increase per member would make the September 2018 fee £21.38 per YFC member (based on membership numbers remaining the same). To deliver NFYFC’s services it costs £62.78 per YFC member and the new proposals will mean YFC members will pay just £21.38 towards those services.

NFYFC Chairman of Council Lynsey Martin said: “This proposed increase in the levy is a positive step to help support our Federation and ensure we can deliver ongoing services such as our competitions programme, as well as continue to develop our Federation. So many of you have requested a much easier and centralised system to joining or renewing your membership and we can deliver that with your support. NFYFC membership is still remarkably cheap compared with many other youth organisations. Let’s make sure we can still deliver the high quality services we have all come to expect and vote through this increase on Sunday 6 May at the AGM.”

NFYFC is still a very competitively priced youth organisation compared with others that range upwards from £75. The gross national levy is payable by the whole of the NFYFC membership and the total annual fee is £369.757.73. This figure is divided among the total number of members to give an exact fee per member. If membership numbers increase, the national levy payable per member is naturally reduced.

Information about the proposed increase in the national levy has been circulated to counties and all YFC members are encouraged to speak to their Council representatives to find out more about these changes.


26 April 2018

Time is running out for young farmers to have their say on the future of British farming as the deadline for submitting views to Defra's consultation on a British Agricultural Policy closes on 8 May 2018.

Defra’s command paper “Heath and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit” lays out the Government’s views on the future of agricultural policy, and sets out specific proposals and questions for public consultation. 

NFYFC's AGRI steering group is responding to the consultation of behalf of YFCs - and has used the NFYFC AGRI final position paper for a future agricultural policy, and findings from the NFYFC Brexit survey 2016 as well as various YFC discussion events to inform its response. The final draft of NFYFC's response will be available from 10am on Friday 27 April and YFC members have until Wednesday 2 May to comment on it by contacting  Sarah Palmer or AGRI Chair James Hutchinson


In addition you can respond directly to the Government’s consultation in your own capacity. You can do this in the following ways:

  • The government’s “Citizen Space” which can be found here. This involves completing a web based questionnaire.
  • By emailing or writing to Defra with your views at: agricultureconsultation@defra.gsi.gov.uk
  • Or write to: Agriculture Consultation Team, 1b - Future Farming Directorate, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR

The deadline for making a response directly to Government is 8 May 2018.

It’s worth noting that if you reply via the Citizen Space website: you do not have to reply to all of the questions posed. You may wish to read through the command paper and the NFU’s summary before selecting which questions to respond to.

If you are emailing: you can either address the specific questions set out in the command paper, or instead provide more general views and feedback. If you respond providing more general views,  stick to the themes and areas of questioning in the paper as much as possible noting that  the paper has distinct sections:

  • Moving away from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
  • Implementing a new agricultural policy in England 
  • The framework for a new agricultural policy

You can also help shape responses by emailing your views to NFU HQ team by Friday 27 April 2018. You can also use a simple online form that the NFU has created here for members and a public facing version will also be available on the Countryside website too here.   


19 April 2018

Advanced ticket sales to The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (NFYFC) Annual Convention in Blackpool are the highest recorded in the last decade, and organisers are anticipating a record number of young farmers to flock to the seaside town this May.

More than 5,700 tickets have already been sold to the annual event, which will be held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from 4-6 May for the 24th time, and organisers are predicting more sales on the doors over the weekend. Tickets are no longer available to be purchased in advance and members can now only buy a wristband on the door during registration times at the Winter Gardens.

A record number of YFC members attended the Convention in Blackpool in 2016 with 6,000 young farmers enjoying a weekend of entertainment, competitions and debate. It is now anticipated that this year’s event will be even bigger after impressive sales of the early-bird packages.

The flagship event has attracted sponsorship from leading industry organisations, including KUHN Farm Machinery UK, Isuzu and Massey Ferguson.

Farming Today presenter and NFYFC President Charlotte Smith will chair the 86th Annual General Meeting during the weekend. Smith will also facilitate at the AGRI Big Ideas Brunch on the Saturday, where three leading entrepreneurs will impart their advice on establishing a successful future career in the industry.

As well as national competition finals for Pantomime performances, Senior Member of the Year, Jump Rope and Disco Dancing, there are also guest DJs entertaining young farmers in the evening.

Weekend highlights include:

  • AGRI Big Ideas Brunch, sponsored by Kuhn Farm Machinery, involving guest speakers Rob Boole, qualified agronomist and owner of Boole Crop Specialists, Chris Cardell, successful tenant farmer and Sir John Campbell – founder of Glenrath Farms.
  • Chris Stark from BBC Radio 1 will DJ on Saturday night, and rugby union player James Haskell will hit the decks on Sunday night.
  • Three live bands will perform including Groovesonix, Ministry and The Tzars.
  • National competition finals of NFYFC’s Pantomime (which will be held in the Opera House on Saturday 5 May), Jump Rope, Disco Dancing and Senior Member of the Year will also take place throughout the weekend. 
It’s a welcome boost for Blackpool when YFC members stay in the town as it’s estimated that young farmers will contribute £4.3m to the local economy during the weekend.

The increase in numbers of members attending the Convention is also good news for a local charity as a donation from every ticket sale will be given to the Lancashire Air Ambulance.

This year, more than 100 Young Farmers are planning to cycle or walk a combined total of nearly 1,000 miles to get to Blackpool – all in aid of raising money for causes close to their hearts. YFC members from Essex, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cornwall and Pembrokeshire are all training for their challenges, which should see them raise more than £10,000 for local causes.

NFYFC Chairman of Council Lynsey Martin said: “It’s great that so many YFC members are attending our Annual Convention weekend. It’s the highlight of the YFC calendar and a chance for many of our members, who live and work in isolated rural communities, to unite with friends from across England and Wales.

“The weekend is growing in popularity every year and it’s due to the range of activities on offer for members across the three days. It’s also a chance to acknowledge all of the amazing fundraising work our YFCs do throughout the year to support not only our members but also our rural communities.

“We have built strong working relationships with the police, the local authority and businesses in Blackpool to make sure this year’s event is entertaining and safe for young farmers and local residents. Our members really enjoy visiting Blackpool and all it has to offer.”

The Annual Convention starts at 1pm on Friday 4 May and closes on the evening of Sunday 6 May 2018. 

For more information and to see the full programme of activity about NFYFC’s Annual Convention, visit www.yfcconvention.org.uk.




08 April 2018

Members of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) will discuss their hopes and fears for a rural future post-Brexit with Farming Today presenter and NFYFC President Charlotte Smith at the organisation’s AGRI Brunch in Blackpool on 5 May.

Joining Charlotte will be a panel of industry stalwarts who have enjoyed successful agri careers. They will offer critical advice to the next generation of farmers on diversifying businesses and tackling the challenges ahead. 

The event, called the Big Ideas Brunch, which is sponsored by Kuhn Farm Machinery UK and supported by Defra, will be held on Saturday 5 May in the Pavilion Theatre at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool from 10.30am.  

The AGRI Brunch is an important part of the Annual Convention weekend for YFC members and representatives from the agricultural and rural industries. This year’s discussion will highlight any concerns that young people are having about working in the industry now that Brexit negotiations are underway.

The panel includes Rob Boole, agronomist, owner of Boole crop specialists and founder of Greenway Training, Sir John Campbell, founder of the multi-million pound business Glenrath Farms and Chris Cardell, a Cornish tenant farmer.

NFYFC President Charlotte Smith, who will be facilitating the session at the Winter Gardens, said: “NFYFC’s AGRI Brunch is a great opportunity for young farmers to get a load of insider advice from people who have been there, done it and succeeded! 

“NFYFC’s panelists will offer crucial advice about developing businesses and embracing change. I can’t wait to hear their stories and learn how they have managed their careers.”

The AGRI Brunch is organised by NFYFC’s Agricultural and Rural Issues (AGRI) Steering Group and a new topic is chosen annually.

AGRI Chairman James Hutchinson, from Wiltshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, said it was important to give young farmers the opportunity to discuss their rural futures with experts who had achieved plenty in the industry.

James Hutchinson said: “There’s never been a greater need for a highly-skilled and efficient workforce to keep the countryside thriving, producing great quality food, sustainable tourism and natural habitats - and boosting brand Britain!

“Any YFC members who are into technology and training, food, farming and the countryside should join us for this event to share their views and questions about their rural future. Our panel of experts are a great example of what can be achieved in this vast industry and we hope that everyone will be inspired by their ideas and wisdom.”

Kuhn Farm Machinery also sponsor the AGRI Steering Group as well as the AGRI Brunch event.

Siân Pritchard, Managing Director at Kuhn Farm Machinery (UK), said: “As an active supporter and sponsor of the NFYFC Agri and Rural Steering Group, the Big Ideas Brunch is understandably one of the highlights in KUHN’s year with NFYFC. It’s the perfect platform for young farmers to learn from industry leaders, but also gives them an opportunity to share their point of view on today’s post-Brexit environment. We look forward to a lively discussion!”
 
The AGRI Brunch starts at 10.30am with free bacon rolls and a chance to network with young farmers and industry exhibitors before the debate begins at 11am.
 
Follow the discussion on Twitter using #yfcagribrunch. To find out more about the event and to see biographies of the panelists, visit the Convention website.


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