National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

23 December 2018

Young people will share their views on whether the next generation feel positively about the future of agriculture and rural life at a fringe event at the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) on 2 January at 4pm.

The closed session – Will there be a next generation? – is being hosted by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and the Rural Youth project (RYP). Sponsored by KUHN, the event will focus on the needs, challenges and aspirations of young farming and rural people.

The event comes off the back of a recent Rural Youth Project survey that found 72% of young people living in rural locations feel optimistic about their future, despite the challenges of transport, access to services, employment and connectivity.*

Facilitated by Farmers Weekly columnist and OFC Director Matt Naylor, the session will involve young people sharing positive experiences of being involved in the industry. There will also be an open debate to discuss the future opportunities and what the NFYFC and RYP are doing to encourage greater engagement from young people.

This will be the first time that NFYFC has hosted a fringe event at the OFC, despite YFC members always attending the event through scholarship places. This year Amy Panton from Cumbria FYFC, who attended the Rural Youth Project Ideas Festival in 2018, and Lee Pritchard from Glamorgan FYFC are recipients of two YFC scholarship places through the Worshipful Company of Farmers. Both YFC members will also take part in the fringe event.

Colin Ferguson, a former member of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs and its AGRI and Rural Affairs group, will also take part in the fringe event. Colin, a dairy farmer from the west of Scotland and now part of RYP, sits on the NFU Scotland Next Generation committee and is attending the OFC as an Emerging Leader.

James Hutchinson (pictured), Chair of NFYFC’s AGRI Steering Group and a member of Wiltshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, said:

“This fringe event promises to be a lively debate about the future of young people in our farming and rural economies. As well as research findings, we will hear from young people involved in the sector, who will share insights to the challenges they face and the aspirations they have.

“We are looking forward to hosting this event with the Rural Youth Project and exploring ways that we can encourage more young people to be excited about investing their future in the industry and rural life.”

Jane Craigie, co-founder of the RYP said: “The Rural Youth Project aims to support and galvanise young people aged 18-28 to create meaningful change in their rural communities by improving their leadership and enterprise skills.

“We kicked off the project by surveying over 750 young people and were really heartened to discover that 71% of young people living in rural locations feel optimistic about their future despite the trio of woe of poor connectivity, limited employment options and poor access to housing. We are currently planning the next two years of activities, which include leadership training, a series of learning journeys and multiple Ideas Festivals in the UK and further afield.”

Kate Bennett, KUHN’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator, said: 

"KUHN are really excited to be supporting NFYFC and the Rural Youth Project with this fringe event at the Oxford Farming Conference. This session promises to be a highlight at one of the most respected conferences of the year as young farmers will share their experiences and challenges of trying to forge a career in the industry today. KUHN are proud supporters of NFYFC's AGRI Steering Group as part of our commitment to backing the next generation of farmers."

The Fringe Event, Will there be a next generation? is from 4pm on Wednesday 2 January 2019 in Room 11 at the Oxford Farming Conference.

* The Rural Youth Project survey was conducted between January and June 2018. It collated the opinions of over 750 young people living or working in rural areas both in the UK and in Australia, Canada, Sweden and the United States.Initiated by Jane Craigie Marketing (JCM), with other industry partners, including NFYFC, in the UK and Europe, to find out more about the opinions and attitudes of 18-28-year-olds with a view to informing wider industry and policy-makers and consequently to support the future of young people in the rural economy. Copies of the report can be downloaded at www.ruralyouthproject.com.


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