National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

31 January 2019

Grow Wild has teamed up with NFYFC to promote two opportunities for individual young people and YFCs to lead projects that are inspired by and celebrate UK native wildflowers and fungi.

The funding is for young people aged 14-25. Individuals can apply for £500 to run a project in their community or with their YFC.

Projects should be creative, actively engage other people in their delivery, and be inspired by UK native wildflowers or fungi. 

Beyond that, anything is up for grabs – the more creative and innovative the better! Applicants are asked to make a short video (no more than two minutes) explaining their idea and what the £500 would pay for.

Grow Wild youth funding is a great way to develop new skills, build confidence, improve your CV, and make a positive contribution to your community.

Applications close at midday, 1 April 2019 – for late spring and summer projects

Got a great idea? Want to know more? Visit the Youth Funding page on the Grow Wild website for everything you need to know.

31 January 2019

NFYFC is supporting a new Government initiative to put young people at the heart of environmental social action during the Year of Green Action. 

As one of 25 partner organisations, NFYFC is supporting the #iwill4nature initiative that was officially launched on 31 January by Secretary of State Michael Gove in conjunction with the Government’s 25-year environmental plan.

Throughout the year, activity around #iwill4nature will draw together local and national initiatives in order to inspire green action.

In support of #iwill4nature, NFYFC will be launching its own exciting environmental campaign for YFCs to get involved in during 2019. Details will be made available after NFYFC’s Council meeting in February.

2019 is the Year of Green Action, which is an opportunity to encourage connection to the natural environment and collective action to improve it. One year ago the UK Government  published “A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment”, setting out its approach to protect and improve the environment and demonstrate leadership on conservation, climate change, land use, sustainable global food supplies and marine health.

The 2017 National Youth Social Action Survey, commissioned to run alongside the #iwill campaign, found that 44% of young people who had not been involved in social action in the past year were interested in addressing environmental issues (including animal protection).

Examples of green action include:

  • Taking part in environmental volunteering such as litter picking or planting pollinator-friendly flowers
  • Fundraising for to maintain or enhance green spaces
  • Campaigning for the zero plastic waste agenda. 

At the launch event the Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

“As the future stewards of our planet, children and young people have a leading part to play in tackling the biggest environmental challenges of our time. They have the energy, ideas and drive to address issues in their schools and communities and inspire their peers to do the same.

“That’s why I am delighted to today launch the Year of Green Action – to inspire change across the UK. I praise the work of the #iwill campaign, its partners and its young ambassadors in supporting us to do this. I now invite and challenge every person to consider how they can get involved.”

24-year-old Step Up To Serve Trustee Pauline Meyer, and chair of the launch event, said:

“#iwill4nature recognises the impact young people already have on improving the environment and challenges them and others around them to make an even bigger difference. Whether it is looking after and appreciating their local green spaces, encouraging friends and family to make different shopping choices or choosing a commute that pollutes less. In the process you also get to develop skills, experience and boosting their mental health and wellbeing. I hope young people all over the UK can be inspired and supported to connect with the natural environment.”

About the #iwill campaign

The #iwill campaign is a collective effort involving over 900 partners (including NFYFC) from across the public, voluntary, education and business sectors with a vision to make meaningful social action part of life for 10- to 20-year olds by the year 2020, wherever they live and whatever their background. 

31 January 2019

Three YFC counties are celebrating after being awarded gold in recognition of their training achievements in 2017-2018. 

Devon, Shropshire and Leicestershire have all received a gold award certificate for offering a varied training programme to their members.

Every County has the opportunity to receive either a bronze, silver or gold award after completing a self-assessment form provided by NFYFC. The youthwork team then verifies the answers with each county before issuing the awards at the end of each membership year.

Gold achievers are counties that are delivering more than 10 courses a year with links to external trainers and accredited training opportunities, have a training budget and training toolkit, train club officers, and evaluate needs in their clubs. 

In Leicestershire, the county delivers roadshows to gather feedback from clubs about their strengths and weaknesses so a training programme can be planned 12 months in advance.

County Organiser Emma Lovegrove said: “We deliver a lot of Curve modules in Leicestershire and the members enjoy them and take a lot from them. They need to go away having gained some skills. It’s important they have these to put on their CV.”

In Shropshire the county team also responds to the needs of its members and offers a wide variety of courses depending on interests and skills needed.

Lucy Taylor, a member of Bridgnorth YFC, said:  “The training has been run ever so well. It’s well-advertised too – there is always something in the mail shots to chairmen and secretaries, and everything is on the website.”

Six counties also picked up a silver award with seven counties gaining a bronze award for their training efforts.

Silver awards

  • Cambridge and Peterborough 
  •  Essex
  •  Lancashire 
  •  Norfolk  
  •  Staffordshire 
  •  Worcestershire

Bronze awards

  • Bedfordshire
  • Derbyshire
  • Dorset
  • Lincolnshire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Sussex 
  • Wiltshire

Cath Sykes, NFYFC’s Development and Training  Manager, said: “These awards are aimed at recognising the amazing achievements by YFC counties for the investment they put into developing their members’ skills.

“We’re delighted so many counties have already been awarded a bronze, silver or gold award in the first year of running this recognition scheme. We hope now that other counties will be inspired to improve the training they offer too.”

For more information about how to reach a gold, silver or bronze training award in your county, speak to your County Organiser or email Cath Sykes.

Read more about the Gold award winners in the latest issue of Ten26

31 January 2019

What’s it like when you’re asked to represent YFC at a meeting with external organisations? Two YFC members share their experiences. 

Stephen Taylor, Chair of Vale O’ Lune YFC shares his views after attending an NFU Business Symposium in London 

Where was the meeting?

In London and I had to set off from Botton Head Farm in Lancashire at 5.30am in the pickup. I had to use some of my brew to thaw the lock to get into the pickup as it was -4c.

I got the 6.30am train to London and had to navigate the Underground, which was hot, stuffy and over-crowded!

I received a warm welcome from anyone I spoke to at the event though and they were keen to see the next generation coming through to NFU. Especially when I was from such a great area of the country, which was otherwise not represented.

What happened at the meeting?

Guy Smith, NFU's Deputy President, gave the welcoming address, before Paul Aplin President of the ICAEW talked about the autumn budget and Brexit (uncertainty and investment). Paul gave advice about resilience in the event of interest rates rising and said to ensure that all costing and figures are up to date and in place. He also advised that pushing for productivity should mean increasing efficiencies rather than just producing more and more.

The most inspirational talk of the day was from Patrick Hook of P.D. Hook (Hatcheries) Ltd. They hatch 9.5 million chicks per week over eight UK sites after starting out from Patrick's grandfather’s small chicken shed. They employ 2,000 people and I was interested to hear how positive he was about using people to do the work as opposed to robot technology. However, he did outline some areas they have been able to mechanise.

Jane King, CEO of AHDB, spoke about the work the AHDB is doing for the levy fee, promoting productivity and efficiency. They are working with farmers, identifying what holds us back with online tools and interactive forums such as ‘what works’ and the ‘Brexit calculator’ and ‘farm bench’. She also explained how they are investing in a programme for training and inspiring the next generation and new entrants.

The final speaker of the day was Nick von Westonholz, NFU director of EU Exit and National Trade. He highlighted lots of threats, but also possible opportunities for the next farming generation. However, what will actually happen is still unknown. There are three possibilities Deal, No Deal and Remain and the prospects for British farming are very uncertain. (See more information here about the government’s advice regarding a no-deal Brexit).

To end the meeting there was open discussion with questions from the floor to a panel of speakers that included Tim Mordan, Deputy Director, Farming Productivity at Defra.

They answered a number of questions, including those about legislation to support tenant farmers in the Agriculture Bill. They also discussed what drives confidence in the industry and investment. The question was posed: ‘what would you ask Santa for Christmas to boost confidence to invest in farming?’ The answers given were along the lines of: Knowledge of what will happen in the future, plans of trade deals and pricing structure along with security.

Did you meet anyone?

In the breaks I was able to chat to people from the NFU and was able to network with people and ask their thoughts on the day.


AGRI Steering Group member and deputy CLA rep Greg Colebrook also represented YFC last November at the CLA Rural Business Conference.

What was the conference about? 

A day that focused on rural diversification. Secretary of State Michael Gove spoke about future food and farming policies and there was a wide range of business case studies. These included restaurants, agroforestry, commercial letting, residential development, motorway service stations, a wedding venue, a cookery school and organic veg box schemes.

What was the highlight of your experience?

An inspiring presentation from Henry Dimbleby, founder of LEON fast food chain about his company’s business model and a fast food ethos that’s good for you, giving an interesting insight into the way we might eat food in the future.

Did you enjoy representing YFC? 

It was a very worthwhile conference and I left feeling very inspired. I would recommend it to anyone in the future.

Find out more about representing YFC and getting involved with the AGRI Steering Group.  

30 January 2019

Young Farmers will be discussing their agricultural futures at an NFYFC AGRI event in February organised with NFYFC’s East Midlands AGRI group. 

The weekend event, called Take Control of Your Future, will include debate on topics around the environment, sustainable conservation agriculture, food security and agri-schemes. There will be five themed workshops, including speakers from Defra, the Chatsworth Estate, A Focus on Nature and the NFU – as well as young farmers.

AGRI’s Steering Group Vice Chair David Goodwin will be hosting one of the workshops with Rosie East from Defra’s Environmental Land Management (ELM) Scheme Design team to discuss conservation farming.

Other workshop topics include:

  • From farm to retail – led by Chatsworth Farm Manager David Howlett
  • Start farming from scratch but be resilient – new entrant Ben Thorley
  • Conservation collaboration – Peter Cooper from A Focus on Nature
  • What lies ahead for farmers? – NFU East Midlands Regional Director Gordon Corner

On Sunday, delegates will be given a tour of the Chatsworth Estate’s farm and shop.

AGRI Steering Group Chair James Hutchinson said: “We held a joint event with A Focus on Nature in 2017 and we're delighted that AFON's chair Pete Cooper will join us as well as a Defra ELM team member Rosie East so that we can all explore our farming and environmental future. With such a diverse range of speakers and the Chatsworth visit, it's a weekend not to be missed and devised to help with our farming future."

Book your place on the event here.


Saturday 9 February 2019

12.30 pm Arrival and lunch

2.00 pm Introduction

2.30 pm Themed workshops

Group 1 - Rosie East from Defra's ELM - Environmental Land Management - (Scheme Design team) and David Goodwin (Warwickshire FYFC) - conservation farming

Group 2 - David Howlett (Chatsworth Farm Manager) - from farm to retail

Group 3 - Ben Thorley (Derbyshire new entrant) - start farming from scratch but be resilient

Group 4 - Peter Cooper (A Focus On Nature) - conservation collaboration

Group 5 - Gordon Corner (NFU East Midlands Regional Director ) - what lies ahead for farmers?

3:45 pm Feedback from workshops

4:15 pm Tea

4:45 pm Panel discussion

5:45 pm Summary

6:00 pm Drinks and supper

10.30 pm End

Sunday 10 February 2019

8:30 am Breakfast at Agricultural Business Centre, Bakewell Market

9:30 am Coach to Chatsworth Estate

10:00 am Estate, farm, farm shop visit

12.00 pm Return to Bakewell Market for 12.30 pm - depart

30 January 2019

Meet Jacob Anthony – a Young Farmer from Bridgend YFC in Wales in the first of our monthly membership profiles! He may not know how to 'make YFC things' but apparently he does know how to throw some moves. Oh and he's got a pretty impressive trophy under his farming belt.

When did you join YFC?

I joined Bridgend Young Farmers club in 2007 at the age of 14.

Why did you join?

As my family have historically been heavily involved with Bridgend YFC (father, grandfather and grandmother are all past chairs) it was inevitable that I was going to want to follow in their footsteps and become a member of this fantastic club.

Why have you remained a member?

Once I joined there was never a fear of me not staying a member. I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of different competitions and appreciate the life skills they have taught me but to me the most important thing has been befriending likeminded individuals from across the county/country and being able to socialise with them at YFC functions/events.

Greatest achievement in YFC?

My greatest achievement in YFC was being Chairman of Bridgend when it was our family's turn to host the County Stockjudging competition and we welcomed members from across Glamorgan to our family farm. The day was a great success and ran like clockwork thanks to the army of friends and family of Bridgend YFC who kindly gave up their time to steward. The icing on the cake was when Bridgend won the overall Stockjudging shield – needless to say I was one very proud Club Chairman!

Greatest achievement outside of YFC?

My greatest achievement outside of YFC came in October 2018 when I was named the Farmers Weekly Young Farmer of the year, something I still have to pinch myself to believe, even to this day.

Top skill you’ve learnt from YFC?

Apart from the amazing dance moves that come in handy on a night out I would have to say that the top skill I have learnt in YFC is the ability to stand up and speak in front of people. The many public speaking and stage competitions that I have been lucky enough to participate in over the years has allowed me to gain the confidence to do this. It's a skill I don't think I would have gained if it wasn't for Young Farmers.

The best thing you’ve ever made with YFC?

Most people who know me, I am sure would say that 'making stuff' has never been my strong point in YFC competitions. I have entered the woodwork comps in the past just to help get entries for our club when needed, but with little success. So with that in mind I would have to say the best thing I have ever actually made in YFC is an hors d’oeuvre when I helped out two of our junior members to make up a team for the cookery competition. And even that was only a cherry tomato and piece of mozzarella on a stick! The judges must have been impressed though as they put us through to the next round. I think that decision was probably more to do with the delicious food the girls cooked up for the other courses though.

Three words to describe your club?

Hospitable. Enjoyable. Passionate.

Has YFC helped you in your career?

As a farmer I believe that YFC has helped me in my career by allowing me to meet people from across the agricultural industry who I have learnt many things from. I’ve taken these insights back to the business at home and some of these contacts have proved invaluable. Young Farmers has also given me the opportunities to engage with politicians and decision makers about the future direction of agriculture, something that I think all of us farming members should try and to do whenever the chance arises. 

Someone you would like to thank in YFC and why?

I would personally like to thank Robert and Gwyneth Williams, two members of Bridgend YFC's Advisory Committee, who always go that extra mile to help the club in any way they possibly can. Rob and Gwyneth have provided expert public speaking training for the full gambit of YFC competitions and not to mention always supplying copious amounts of tea and cake! If it wasn’t for people like Rob and Gwyneth giving up their time then YFC would be a very, very different organisation.These volunteers are the backbone of the best rural youth organisation in the world!

 If you would like to be profiled or you want to nominate a member of your club to be profiled by NFYFC, send an email request to Cheryl Liddle.  


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