National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

20 November 2018

“Tremendous” and “knowledgeable” is how judges described the YFC finalists at this year’s national finals of the Beef and Pigs Live and Carcase competition at the English Winter Fair (17-18 Nov). 

Twenty teams from across England and Wales judged and gave reasons at the Staffordshire County Showground in the first of NFYFC’s national finals of its 2018-19 competitions programme.

Competing on their home turf proved to be advantageous for Staffordshire FYFC as the team was declared the overall winner of the competition, winning the much-coveted John Spear Trophy, as well as the Senior overall team winner. And for team member Harriet Wilson from Eccleshall YFC, the win was even sweeter as this is her final competing year in YFC. For a second consecutive year Harriet won the individual Beef Live and Carcase Senior award too – this year in joint place with Steven Crimp from Devon.

“I am over the moon. I have enjoyed being involved in this competition so much and made so many friends through it,” said Harriet who also credits the competition with influencing her career in meat retail as she is now ALDI’s Corporate Responsibility Manager with responsibility for farming, fish, deforestation and fair trade. “It has always been my favourite competition and if I hadn’t got into stockjudging, I wouldn’t have joined young farmers and as a result ended up working in the meat industry. Stockjudging really set me on my path for what I wanted to do.”

While Harriet grew up on a family farm, her job doesn’t see her interacting with cattle on a daily basis – unlike James Hodgkinson from Derbyshire FYFC the intermediate winner at beef live and carcase and a farmer on a dairy, beef and sheep farm.

The 21 year old is currently Club Chairman of Hope Valley YFC and instigated stockjudging training for the juniors in the club this year to help them develop.

“A lot of juniors had never seen dairy cows before as we’re mainly a beef and sheep area so I invited them to my place to look at the cattle and sheep and then invited over some judges to show what they are looking for,” said James who is proud to be a winner. “You never know how it will go on the day as you never know what the judges want. I was shocked that I’d won as I thought I’d made a mess of it.”

The Smithfield trophy for the overall team winners at Beef Live and Carcase was presented to Chris Potter and Reece Howells from Shropshire FYFC. Chris’ dad won the trophy for the County back in 1973, and 45 years later it is back on the family beef and sheep farm.

“My dad got his glasses out to try and find his name on the trophy,” said 24-year-old Chris who has been competing since he joined YFC 12 years ago and is currently Vice County Chair. “I wasn’t very confident how I did on the day but I must have been ok! Reece is a junior (15) and is coming up through the ranks.”

Shropshire has its own Stockjudging Officer who organises the training and practices with different trainers and butchers.

“Stockjudging is the competition I have done the most in YFC,” said Chris. “The best skills I have learnt are knowing what’s fat and what’s not – especially useful being a beef and sheep farmer. I have also gained more confidence. It’s second nature to me now giving reasons to judges.”

The Smithfield trophy is one of four trophies that were given to NFYFC back in the 1950s when the stockjudging competitions were first held at the Royal Smithfield Show in London.

For brothers Tom (24) and Andrew Bennett (21) it was a successful day of judging pigs as the duo won the Smithfield trophy for Herefordshire for judging pork live and carcase.

Tom who has won a national stockjudging competition twice before said: "I’m really proud to win it as a team. It’s one thing to win it as an individual but to win it as a team of brothers feels really good," said Tom who rents a farm and has some livestock. "I’ve been stockjudging since I started at YFC when I was 13 – so that’s 11 years. Andrew has been doing it for for four years and it's nice to have him getting involved as well."

The annual competition encourages YFC members to judge two groups of live cattle and two groups of beef carcases. They must place a group of four cattle and carcases in order of merit and give reasons. They are also asked to judge two classes of live pigs and two classes of carcases.

Butcher Jonathan Maycock from Robin Maycock Butchers in Derbyshire was a judge on the day and was impressed with the standard.

“The standard of reason giving and judging was tremendous. The level of competence and confidence in their reason giving was excellent and their knowledge and expertise made me wonder if they were all butchers,” said Jonathan.

“Stockjudging is an important skill for connecting farmers to the end product and allows them to hear feedback from the industry on what quality we want. My requirements are different to a large retailer as I’m an independent butcher. The cattle they were judging was top end, which is the type that we buy. Competitors pick up tips from the judges, such as the need for fat on an animal for dry hanging. The education YFC members receive at the English Winter Fair is very important.”

The competition is supported by AHDB Beef and Lamb, Rutland Electric Fencing and the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society.

The official presentation of awards was made by William Bedell from the Smithfield Club, Richard Lawrence, the Chairman of the English Winter Fair committee and Katie Thorley from AHDB.

The carcases were provided by Bradshaw Bros, the beef and pigs were from the exhibitors.


THE JOHN SPEAR TROPHY - Overall team results 

1st Staffordshire FYFC 

2nd Lancashire FYFC B

3rd Yorkshire FYFC  B

THE MARK MADDERS TROPHY – Intermediate team results 

1st Yorkshire FYFC

2nd Lancashire FYFC

3rd Staffordshire FYFC

THE BOB WILLIAMS TROPHY - Senior team results 

1st Staffordshire FYFC 

2nd Cumbria FYFC

3rd Yorkshire FYFC


1st Shropshire FYFC A

2nd Devon FYFC A

3rd Derbyshire FYFC A


1st Derbyshire FYFC A - James Hodgkinson 

2nd= Shropshire FYFC A - Reece Howells 

2nd= Yorkshire FYFC C - Ben Robinson 


1st County Durham FYFC - Joe Richardson

2nd Shropshire FYFC A – Reece Howells

3rd Lancashire FYFC C - Thomas Hartley


1st Lancashire FYFC B - Julia Wadeson

2nd Derbyshire FYFC A - James Hodkinson 

3rd Devon FYFC A - Rebecca Dennis 


1st Devon A - Steven Crimp

1st= Staffordshire A - Harriet Wilson

3rd= Lancashire A - Seth Blakey 

3rd= Shropshire A - Christopher Potter 

3rd=Yorkshire B - Simon Walton


1st Devon A Steven Crimp

2nd Herefordshire FYFC  B – Martin Williams

3rd Staffordshire A - Harriet Wilson


1st Cumbria A - Henry Knowles

2nd Staffordshire A - Harriet Wilson

3rd Yorkshire B - Simon Walton


1st Herefordshire A 

2nd Lancashire B

3rd Cumbria A

National Intermediate Pig Live and Carcase Judging Competition 2018


1st Yorkshire A - Evie Harrison-Bradley

2nd Yorkshire C - Elizabeth Elgie

3rd Herefordshire B -Lee Thomas


1st Yorkshire A - Evie Harrison-Bradley

2nd= Lancashire B – Anna Robinson

2nd= Staffordshire B - Meg Barnes


1st Lancashire A - Jack Pickup

2nd Yorkshire C - Elizabeth Elgie

3rd= Yorkshire A - Evie Harrison-Bradley

3rd= Yorkshire D - Kate Cockerill


1st Herefordshire A - Thomas Bennett

2nd Staffordshire A - Jake Manning

3rd Cumbria A - Hannah Storton


1st Herefordshire A - Thomas Bennett

2nd Cumbria A - Hannah Storton

3rd Staffordshire A - Jake Manning


1st= Herefordshire A - Thomas Bennett

1st= Staffordshire A - Jake Manning

3rd Shropshire A - Robyn Hardman

For all the results, see here.  


16 November 2018

NFYFC has launched a new Curve training module called Beat Bullying and three clubs in Leicestershire volunteered to pilot it during Anti Bullying Week.

What will you learn on the course?












This course encourages members to understand the different types of bullying, the effects and impacts of bullying and the importance of teamwork and cohesion within a YFC.

How do members learn?












Using an interactive online quiz, YFC members use an App on their phones to answer questions on a screen.

There is also an interactive video section – where members are shown a video of someone being bullied and prompted to make a decision about what actions they should take. Whatever decisions the group decides to take determines the next part of the video that is played, which helps to show the consequences of the choices made.

What’s the feedback like?











Enderby and District YFC was the first club in Leicestershire to pilot Beat Bullying. Club member Gemma Mooney said: “We loved the interactivity of it. We were learning as we were going – some of the facts and figures were quite shocking.

“It was good to have an element of competition but learning at the same time. It got people to talk. People who had been on the receiving end of bullying, or who knew someone who had, were willing to share their stories.

“It made it a lot more personal and made people stop and think about their own behaviour – things they might have thought were just fun and banter might be unacceptable."

The photos are from Market Bosworth YFC's training session. Watch a video from Market Bosworth YFC showing their session in action.

15 November 2018

Exciting teenagers about a career in agriculture is the aim of a new joint project between The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and LEAF Education that launched at Ag Careers Live in November.  

A new training resource, supported by Defra, has been developed to help inspire young people to discover and research subject and career options in the food and farming industry.

The resource, called Future Farming, will be available for YFC trainers to deliver to YFC clubs and in schools, as well as being accessible to teachers on the Countryside Classroom website.

Aimed primarily at schoolchildren in year 9, the Future Farming project aims to break down misconceptions that a career in farming is just about livestock and tractors.

The project will support the work of the AGRI Food industry Workforce Skills and Development strategy.

Recent research findings by LEAF Education with 1,000 12-18 year olds across the UK, in June this year, showed that almost a third of respondents would consider a career in farming but only 22% have ever been given information about jobs in the industry.

87% agreed that young people should be more interested in how food is produced and where it comes from.

Future Farming is an interactive session that will also help learners to achieve a greater understanding of importation, exportation and production.

The project supports Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education by developing critical thinking, encouraging learners to discuss and explore living in the wider world while encompassing economic and environmental wellbeing and aspects of agricultural, food and retail careers education.

On completion of the session, learners will understand the role that agriculture plays in solving global challenges and where British food comes from. Future technologies will also be highlighted and promotion of the associated industries, extending into the food and retail sectors.

One of the goals for NFYFC’s Chair of Council Lynsey Martin, during her term of office, was to encourage YFCs to play an active role in promoting the food and farming industry and its career options.

Lynsey, a member of Kent Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, said: “There are so many misconceptions about pursuing a career in agriculture and I am so proud that YFC is helping to break those down with this new resource. This is an exciting industry to work in that needs skilled, technical people to keep up with the advances in technology and changing global food demands.

“We are delighted to have worked with LEAF Education to develop the Future Farming resources and we hope that this project starts to make a positive impression on young people who are making those important decisions about their future career.”

Head of LEAF Education Carl Edwards said:

“Integral to our work as LEAF Education is inspiring and educating future generations about farming, food production and the countryside. Our young people are missing out on being part of a dynamic and vital industry, because they simply do not know about it. The Future Farming project with NFYFC will address this issue and ensure that we communicate directly to those young people about the many career opportunities that are open to them in the sector.

"We are excited to be working with NFYFC, being two leading organisations that deliver and deliver well; it was a natural fit to ensure a successful and targeted programme.”

NFYFC will be at Ag Careers Live on Stand 39 on 15 November 2018.

02 November 2018

“You don’t need to own wellies” to be a young farmer, according to Melton Mowbray YFC who have won £350 from NatWest in NFYFC’s video competition for National Young Farmers’ Week.

Melton’s video showed lots of lively footage from competitions, community work and farm tours together with interviews with club members who explain what YFC means to them.

The video was chosen by two judges who know what it takes to make a media hit – broadcaster and NFYFC President Charlotte Smith and Gareth Wyn Jones, star off BBC TV show The Hill Farm.

Both judges agreed it was the club that they would most like to visit having seen the video.

“Overall I loved the enthusiasm and use of music in all of the videos but Melton Mowbray YFC’s stood out as the club I’d most like to visit,” said Charlotte. “Thanks to all the clubs who took the time to produce their videos – hopefully you have gained lots of new members by recording them and have learnt some new skills along the way.”

The judges also highly commended Aberdew YFC and Harmston YFC for their efforts too as close runners up to the winner.

Melton’s Junior Secretary Leah Niamh created the video and was thrilled with the judges comments.“What a nice thing to say, they’re more than welcome to visit!”

Leah says that the video has been shared quite widely and that it has resulted in one new club member who joined up after seeing the video.

Melton will now receive a prize of £350 courtesy of National Young Farmers’ Week sponsor NatWest, which Leah says the club will use to either put on a fundraising event or buy team kit for an event that junior members would like to take part in.

The video win was not the only highlight of Melton’s National Young Farmers’ Week. The club put on a barbecue for a new members’ night which saw 25 people join up.

And Leah is hoping that all those new members will be able to get just as much fun out of YFC as she has had. “It has been a great experience,” she says. “My confidence has just rocketed.

I’ve made friends for life and had so many new experiences. When I joined I was extremely nervous and shy. Now I’m the loudest one in the club!”

Melton Mowbray YFC is also the winner of NFYFC's Club of the Month for November and you can read more about the club here. 

01 November 2018

Performing Arts competitors can now dream of treading the boards at the national final in Leamington Spa on 11 May 2019.
The final will take place during the same weekend as the Annual General Meeting and the Senior Member of the Year finals at the Royal Spa Centre.

This purpose built theatre, close to the centre of Leamington Spa, has 667 seats in the main stage auditorium and 188 seats in the studio.

Competitions Steering Group Chair Fay Thomas, from Herefordshire FYFC, announced the date during the Council meeting in October and also confirmed that the Choir and Ballroom Dancing will take place in July on Competitions Day in Staffordshire.

“We’re really excited that the Performing Arts and Senior Member of the Year finals will take place in a central location and during the same weekend as the Annual General Meeting,” said Fay. 

“Having the Choir and Ballroom Dancing competitions on Competitions Day in July will also mean there is plenty for spectators and YFC members to enjoy during this special weekend.”

A full competitions calendar has also been released and details for each competition can be found in the Competitions area of the website.


01 November 2018

Two YFC members are looking forward to getting an insight into the future of farming thanks to the Worshipful Company of Farmers’ NFYFC scholarship.

Lee Pritchard from Glamorgan FYFC and Amy Panton from Cumbria FYFC will be attending the Oxford Farming Conference in January where they will get the chance to be a part of the debate during a crucial time for the industry.

This year’s event is called a World of Opportunity and both Lee and Amy will get to hear from inspirational speakers, take part in fringe sessions with industry leaders, listen to Government speakers and network with people from across the sector.

Every year, the Worshipful Company of Farmers supports two YFC members to attend the conference – and any YFC member can apply. 

Judges said that this year’s field of candidates has been exceptionally strong and that they were impressed with their backgrounds, enthusiasm and involvement in the industry.

Amy, who is a Technical Manager and Livestock Procurement Manager for Dunbia Cumbria, said: “I’m really pleased to be able to attend this event. I want to get a greater understanding of how we can all work together to share our knowledge and collaborate as an industry.”

Judges said that Amy’s application showed that she is focused on the need to plan for the future and the changes that the industry must face up to.

Lee didn’t grow up on a farm but has now been made a partner in the farming business he has worked at for ten years and the judges were impressed with the diversity this background represents.

Lee said: “It’s going to be a good opportunity for us to learn from other people. With Brexit coming up, this will hopefully be a gateway to learning what the future might hold.”

Lee and Amy both said the application process was really simple. Amy said: “I saw it advertised on social media and then I just had to answer the questions and send in my CV. It didn’t take very long.”

The Oxford Farming Conference takes place between 2-4 January and a full conference ticket costs £295. For more information about the event, visit the website.


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