National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

22 October 2018

A letter from NFYFC Chairman Lynsey Martin to all YFC members

Hello everyone,

After a weekend of important discussions, I really wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts with you from the Council meeting.

Yesterday your democratically elected Council debated all the reasons why the Convention was cancelled and decided to support the Board in its decision.

A motion for a vote of no confidence was not passed with a clear majority (83%) supporting the Board. Two amendments made to this motion were also debated and defeated.

Your concerns were raised and discussed by your elected Council members during the meeting. At your next County Exec you should expect to hear more details about the Council’s discussions.

The Council is currently putting in place a group of YFC members to lead on the membership’s input into the strategic plan. Watch out for future opportunities to have your say.

As I saw throughout National Young Farmers’ Week, we all love this organisation and are proud of what it achieves. That was evident this weekend when YFC members represented your Counties and are helping to shape future plans. If you would like to read more about the Council meeting, please see here.

Finally, I am going to steal some words from a Life Vice President and former President of this organisation that were made at the AGM earlier this year. I think Poul Christensen’s following message about YFC is so appropriate for us all.

You have something really precious Young Farmers – nurture it, treasure it, grow it. You’re holding it in your hands. Don’t drop it because it is immensely important, not only to you, but to future generations.

Best wishes,

Lynsey

NFYFC's Chairman of Council 2017-18

A version of this letter was sent on 22 October 2018 to all YFC members who have registered an email address with NFYFC.




10 October 2018

NFYFC has released a new report that evaluates the impact of the community support given by Young Farmers’ Clubs during its Countryside Challenge project. 

The Countryside Challenge, with funding from the Cabinet Office and Pears Foundation, supported five community projects per quarter over two years.

YFCs could earn up to £400 to put towards their community and environmental project and NFYFC also offered tools, resources and training to clubs.

A total of 546 young people took part in projects funded through the Countryside Challenge and 36 projects were awarded grants totalling £14,400.

Dorrington YFC is one of the case studies included in the report as the club restored and resurfaced a play park – helping it to become a valued community facility.

One YFC member who took part in this project said: “It was a great day, with the village committee keeping us fed and watered and, although it was hard work, there was a great feeling of accomplishment.”

The report also shows the positive perceptions of YFC following the completion of a community project. It demonstrates that social action projects provided YFC with a valuable platform to showcase not only their capabilities to deliver high quality projects but also the important contribution they make to wider society.

Lynsey Martin, NFYFC's Chair of Council, said: "This report helps to show the true impact of the Countryside Challenge project and what YFCs achieved. The evaluation demonstrates how big a difference YFCs can make in their local rural communities and the positive impact it has on the wellbeing of those who take part in supporting their community."        

To read the report in full, which was prepared by Impact Consultancy and Research for NFYFC, download it here.



08 October 2018

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is celebrating the role its 619 Young Farmers’ Club play in rural communities during National Young Farmers’ Week 2018 (8-12 October), supported by NatWest.

Members of the leading rural youth organisation have been asked to share messages on social media about what YFC means to them and to promote the benefits of being a member of a club.

The wider industry has also been asked to answer the question ‘What does YFC mean to you?’ and messages of support will be shared online throughout the week. 

For one Young Farmer in Eccleshall YFC, Staffordshire, being part of a YFC meant vital support after a life-threatening spinal injury.

Dan Moseley, 21, was in hospital for six months earlier this year after a trampoline accident left him unable to walk but his YFC friends have been helping me through this challenging time.

“What is getting me through it is the support and friendship of everyone in YFC.

My friends took it upon themselves to raise funds so that I can get some specialist equipment to help me in this next stage of my life – they called it ‘Get Moseley Back On The Move’.

“They’ve done all sorts of things like long distance bike rides and have raised an incredible £20,000. I feel very lucky to be a part of YFC. If I wasn’t, I don’t know what sort of state I’d be in now.”

Dan is one of 10 YFC members who will share their stories throughout the week in a series of posts on the NFYFC website. 

The week-long celebration of YFCs and the work they do includes the opportunity for a YFC to win £350, courtesy of NatWest, for recording the best promotional YFC video. The videos are being judged by NFYFC’s President and Countryfile presenter Charlotte Smith and star of BBC’s The Hill Farm Gareth Wyn Jones.

This will be the fourth National Young Farmers’ Week and the aim of the week is to promote YFCs to more rural young people so they are aware of the benefits the clubs can offer them by providing an active social network and developing skills.

There are 24,500 members of NFYFC who are all offered opportunities to take on roles in their YFCs as well as get involved in the organisation at a County, Area and national level.

The skills developed through NFYFC’s competitions, training, travel and agricultural activities are the true benefits of being part of a YFC and the organisation will be using the hashtag #TrueYFC during the week.

NFYFC’s President, Charlotte Smith, said: “This National Young Farmers’ Week we are posing the question, ‘What does YFC mean to me?’ The organisation means so much to so many people so it will be interesting to see the diverse range of answers that are shared.

“For me, I am loving being involved with one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK. It plays such an important role supporting young people in rural areas and I am proud to be its President.”

Ian Burrow, Head of Agriculture from NatWest, official sponsors of National Young Farmers’ Week 2018, said:

“NatWest is really excited to be helping Young Farmers’ Clubs’ raise awareness of the brilliant work they do in their rural communities.

“We have been supporting YFCs with cash management training for a number of years and for the NatWest team YFC really does mean fun, learning and achievement.”

National Young Farmers’ Week 2018 runs from 8-12 October. 


05 October 2018

NFYFC sprinkled a little bit of magic during British Food Fortnight in what judges described as one of the highest scoring years at the national Cookery finals.

A total of 36 teams from across England and Wales served up four course meals to a theme of magic and mystery at the Malvern Show but it was the Herefordshire FYFC team whose dishes dazzled the judges the most. 

Their four courses were inspired by an ancient Egyptian theme and included:

  • A  starter of smoked pigeon with beetroot cooked three ways, red hot tuile and garlic and fennel panna cotta
  • A main course of rolled goat parcels with a spicy stuffing and a pearl barley salad.
  • A fish course of tilapia with a spicy tomato and radish salad.
  • Dessert - Umm Ali, a traditional Egyptian dish with apricot puree and chocolate.

The winning trio of Hope Farndon, 25, Millie Jones, 17, and Harriet Hughes, 18, were all ecstatic to win the top award and have been doing a lot of rehearsals in Millie’s mum’s kitchen. 

“My mum will be so pleased that she can get rid of the temporary table we have been using to practice on in the kitchen,” said Millie who enjoys cooking. “We took inspiration for the presentation of our dishes from a friend who has a catering business and we used YouTube a lot!”

The judges, former Masterchef finalist Ben Axford and Hetty Ziegler-Jones, both watched the preparation of the dishes and tasted all of the food.

Both chefs were impressed with what was achieved by YFC members in such a short time frame and with only the use of a two ring gas hob! One team managed to cook a sponge cake, while another made intricate chocolate detailing that the judges said they wouldn’t even have attempted in the conditions and time they had to work in.

Ben said: “We loved the interpretation of the theme this year. And we were thrilled by some of the creation – people making starters look like cupcakes and desserts look like starters. The technical presentation and the execution of the dishes get better each year. This year, we have awarded some of the highest marks we’ve ever awarded. Competitors are really pushing themselves and raising the standards.”

Herefordshire’s winning dishes ‘wowed’ the judges the most on the day though and Ben added: “It was all really supremely balanced. It was a really interesting dish. If I’d have had that in a top restaurant I would have been thrilled by it but I had it by people who had made it in an hour on two little gas rings.”

All the results can be found on the website here.


05 October 2018

Winning the NFYFC national final of the Floral Arts competition felt even more magical for Emma Hawke after a difficult 18 months. 

An illness caused Emma, 24, from Cornwall, to stop working as a florist and after three years of making it to a YFC national final, she took time out from competing last year.

But proving that if you’re determined you can succeed, Emma decided to get back into competing again, while managing her condition, and was delighted to bring home the 26 and under trophy for her solar eclipse design.

“I am still in shock,” said Emma who joined Cornwall FYFC when she was 19, now representing Wadebridge YFC. “I was shaking when they called out my name. Winning at a County round is great but to win a national competition is a phenomenal feeling.”

Emma trained as a florist and says her passion for flowers was passed on to her by her grandad, who sadly died when she was 13.

“My grandad loved to grow flowers so whenever I am working with them I think of him,” said Emma. “He saw me doing flowers and he was very proud of me and so when I create arrangements I know he’s looking over me and it’s my way of always having him with me.”

The theme for the 26 and under floral art was A mysterious phenomenon of your choice. Emma’s arrangement included orchids, calla lilies, chrysanthemums and hypericum – all in shades of reds, yellows and oranges that were in keeping with a solar eclipse.

Emma has previously won a Bronze medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and says her experience there helped with her technique at the final.

“I bound the flowers, placed them in test tubes and used a lot of glue to get the flowers in the right positions on the frame. You need to use a lot of technique and discretion in your work though to achieve the right effect and I learnt a lot of that at Chelsea.”

Two other age categories competed at the Malvern Show in NFYFC’s national final. Mari James from Carmarthenshire won first place in the 21 and under category and Harriet Preece from Herefordshire FYFC won first place in the 16 and under category.

 For all the results from the Floral Arts finals please see here.  




04 October 2018

Research findings by The University of Warwick’s School of Life Sciences’ research team shows that scald and under-running footrot cause 70-80% of lameness in sheep. 

The research team have been exhibiting at YFC events this year to help share messages about footrot to support young farmers.

Treating individual sheep within three days of becoming lame is the most important factor to reduce the level of scald and footrot.

Where farmers treat all sheep within three days of onset of lameness, lameness falls to less than 2% and the number of sheep requiring treatment reduces within six to eight weeks. Prompt treatment improves productivity by 10-20% and improves sheep welfare.

Advice for footrot includes:

  • The best treatment is one long-acting antibiotic injection recommended by a veterinarian (e.g. oxytetracycline), correctly dosed for weight of the sheep and antibiotic spray on all four feet.
  • Do not trim the feet, it doubles the time to recovery.
  • Using antibiotics only on affected sheep will minimise antibiotic use and the associated risk of antibiotic resistance. Long term use of antibiotics will be reduced with reducing lameness levels.

For more information visit www.footrotinsheep.org and for further information on lameness, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) produce a “Reducing lameness for better returns” manual through their Better Returns Programme (BRP). The manual is available online and hard copies can be ordered through the AHDB BRP team via bpr@ahdb.org.uk or calling 024 7647 8834.

Recognising and treating footrot in sheep

Footrot causes lameness

Nearly a million sheep are lame at any one time in England. Lame sheep are less productive and have poor welfare. Scald and under-running footrot account for 70%-80% of all lameness and are caused by the same bacteria and so need to be managed together as one disease - footrot. Control of footrot can reduce lameness levels to under 2%.

How to recognise footrot

It is important to name the causes of lameness correctly to make sure the treatment is correct and will be successful.

Avoid foot trimming when you inspect and treat footrot

Clear away mud and grass to see the skin and claws to see what is causing the sheep to be lame but do not use water or trim the foot. Your eyes and nose will tell you if a sheep has footrot.

Treating footrot

The best treatment for footrot is a long-acting antibiotic injection and antibiotic spray on all four feet. This treatment leads to 95% of sheep recovering from lameness in 2-10 days. Avoid foot trimming because it slows down recovery from footrot.Trimming also causes pain if you cut into living tissue and leads to misshapen feet.

Pedicures

If you show sheep and want to tidy their feet to improve their appearance this is fine so long as feet are not over-trimmed and the living tissue of the foot is not damaged.

Does using antibiotics to treat footrot cause antibiotic resistance?

Footrot is caused by a bacteria and so antibiotics are an effective and appropriate treatment. Only treating sheep with footrot within three days of becoming lame and using the correct dose of antibiotic minimises the use of antibiotics and so minimises the risk of resistance. Treating sheep within three days of becoming lame reduces the spread of footrot to other sheep and so minimises the number of lame sheep you treat with antibiotics.

Authors: Dr Emma Monaghan and Professor Laura Green, University of Warwick.



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