National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 January 2019

The next generation of farmers came out in force to support their place in the industry at the NFYFC’s and Rural Youth Project’s Fringe event at the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) in January.

It was the first-time that NFYFC had held a fringe event during this high profile conference and it provided the perfect platform for young farmers to get their voices heard.

Sponsored by KUHN, the session was chaired by Farmers Weekly columnist and farm businessman Matthew Naylor and included presentations from the Rural Youth Project’s (RYP) Jane Craigie and NFYFC’s Sarah Palmer. Both outlined achievements of their organisations, including the Rural Youth Ideas Festival and research from 2018 and NFYFC’s role in representing YFC members over major agri issues such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and next generation considerations for the new Agriculture Bill.

Opening the session Sian Pritchard, from sponsors KUHN, emphasised her pride in the industry, the career opportunities available and KUHN’s commitment to supporting young farmers.

Young farmers from England, Scotland Ireland and Wales, including OFC scholar Lee Pritchard, a livestock farmer from Glamorgan, shared their stories about the challenges involved in progressing a career in the industry today.

Lee said: “The NFYFC fringe event opened my eyes to just how bright our future is when you saw how full the room was with people – and not just young people – wanting to see the younger generation getting on.”

There was standing room only during the session, which attracted OFC scholars, emerging leaders, industry CEOs, university principals, farmers young and old, NFU Next Generation Forum chair, vice and NFU economist and politicians. 

Ben Thorley travelled to Oxford from Derbyshire to explain how he had achieved success without a farming background. College, work experience and a lot of hard work helped him to become a farmer – but not without sacrifices as he confessed his wife Dawn is often ‘a single parent’ due to his work schedule.

There was also opportunity for young farmers from Radnor FYFC to air their future policy wishes via a video they had recorded to show their passion for farming and food production.

AGRI Chair James Hutchinson said: “Coupled with NFYFC’s work from the EU Referendum result to the present day, young farmers’ opinions, concerns and future policy requests have been shared far and wide. This fringe event, supported by KUHN, has provided another way for young rural people to get their views heard. Young people living and working in a rural environment have been well-represented, but there’s a lot still to be done.”


Designed by Kevyn Williams