National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

11 February 2019

NFYFC is supporting this year’s Mind Your Head campaign (11-15 Feb) organised by leading farming charity the Farm Safety Foundation to raise awareness and tackle the stigma of the growing issue of mental illness in farming. 

The Federation is encouraging its 615 YFCs to raise awareness of mental health issues during the week and to organise a Rural+ training session for their club this membership year. The Rural+ Curve module, developed by NFYFC with the Farming Community Network, helps rural young people understand more about mental health and where to seek support.

Recent research by the Farm Safety Foundation reveals that 81% of farmers under 40 believe that mental health is the biggest hidden problem facing farmers today and 92% believe that promoting good mental health is crucial if lives are to be saved and farmers kept safe.

Throughout the week, the Farm Safety Foundation will be reminding farmers and farming families that Valentine’s week; when we are supposed to celebrate love and togetherness, can sometimes highlight how different, alone, or low we feel and if that is the case, help is available.

The Foundation will bring together key people, organisations and other charities to raise awareness of this mounting issue in the industry and build a community of support for those affected.

NFYFC’s Chairman of Council Lynsey Martin said: “NFYFC is backing Mind Your Head as it’s important to raise awareness of the issue in the industry. NFYFC’s new Rural+ training session is proving to be helpful for clubs across England and Wales who want to discuss the impact of mental health and where to get support. Young people living in remote locations face the added pressures of rural isolation and in some cases farming stresses. YFCs can help breakdown the stigma around mental health and encourage people to seek support when they need it.”

Stephanie Berkeley who leads the Farm Safety Foundation said: “This Mind Your Head, we will continue to raise awareness of what the next generation consider the ‘biggest hidden problem’ in the industry and highlight the help available. This year we will also put a special focus on building personal resilience for farmers at this critical time. As an industry, we have a collective responsibility to do something about the issue of poor mental health and the risk of suicide and we believe that every one of us has a role to play.”

For more information on ‘Mind Your Head’ visit www.yellowwellies.org or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook. Read more information about the Rural+ Curve module here..



07 February 2019

What does it take to be the Chairman of one of NFYFC’s five steering groups?

In February, each group will elect a new Chairman and Vice Chairman to help lead the groups. The positions are open to anyone who sits on the steering group. If you’re interested in getting involved or standing for Chairman, why not speak to your County Chairman about the opportunities? Co-option positions are also available too, see here. 

NFYFC asked the five steering group chairmen from 2017-18 about their experiences.

Competitions Chairman

Fay Thomas, Herefordshire FYFC 

Why did you want to be a Steering Group Chair for your group?

I have achieved so much from YFC I wanted to give something back and Competitions is one of my favourite parts of YFC.

Describe the goal of your Steering Group in one sentence.

To deliver a full competitions programme.

What has been your biggest challenge in the role?

Snow! It has created such a massive impact on my year! The most important thing was ensuring members’ safety.

What has been your group's best achievement in the last year?

Delivering a competitions programme, which offers new skills to members whilst having fun and meeting new people.

Would you recommend being a Steering Group Chair to others and why?

Absolutely. Seeing all those members attending the NFYFC’s competition finals and competing in what our group organised with the NFYFC staff team is such a great achievement.

What have you personally gained from the experience?

Now my year has come to an end I have had a fantastic year being NFYFC Competitions Chairman and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would achieve this in YFC.

Events and Marketing

Michael Wood, East Riding of Yorkshire FYFC

Why did you want to be a Steering Group Chair for your group?

Young Farmers has been a large part of my life and I felt it was only right to give something back. I always have something to say so it was time I backed my chat and commit to a role! But mainly the people at Council are so much fun so getting to spend a year in their company (in NFYFC Council terms) was a no-brainer.

Describe the goal of your Steering Group in one sentence.

Events and Marketing’s goal is to promote NFYFC to its members and take part in organising the national Young Farmers’ social activities and events.

What has been your biggest challenge in the role?

Being able to accept the hierarchy of the organisation when there was an overall feeling of disappointment from the membership about the end of Convention. I also had to learn that sometimes it’s better to say nothing than to say the wrong thing.

What has been your group's best achievement in the last year?

The best achievement must be the overall outlook of the decision which was made to cancel AGM. We did not dwell on what had been decided but instead looked towards the future. We have also focused on ideas to help the wider membership understand the reach NFYFC has and how we can champion all aspects of YFC – not just events.

Would you recommend being a Steering Group Chair to others and why?

For the right person the role can be a great achievement. It’s nice to be associated with other people who care about the organisation as much as I have done. Our group faced a difficult year and I think my advice to others interested in the role of a steering group chair is to be prepared for both successes and challenges that may come your way.

What have you personally gained from the experience?

I have learned some diplomacy. And learnt that outspoken people who always have an opinion are not always valid. It’s time to build the organisation and not tear it apart.

Agriculture and Rural Issues

James Hutchinson, Wiltshire FYFC

Why did you want to be a Steering Group Chair for your group?

I wanted to give something back to the membership for all the opportunities I had gained in YFC.

Describe the goal of your Steering Group in one sentence.

To be the voice of all members on agricultural and rural issues, relay members' views to Government and industry bodies and to help educate YFC members on these matters. 

What has been your biggest challenge in the role?

To try and encourage more members to take part in events and make the most of the opportunities to enhance their future.

What has been your group's best achievement in the last year?

Putting together a balanced response to the Government’s Health and Harmony Consultation paper, which took into account members' views and needs across all sectors and areas of England and Wales. 

Would you recommend being a Steering Group Chair to others and why?

Yes! It allows you to enhance the opportunities members have in the future. 

What have you personally gained from the experience?

The networking opportunities and also enhancing my leadership skills.

Youth Forum Chair

Meg Watkins, Herefordshire FYFC

Why did you want to be a Steering Group Chair for your group?

After joining the Youth Forum in 2016 I was struck by the passion for Young Farmers that all individuals shared. After helping with some fantastic projects and seeing what the Youth Forum could achieve, I felt it would be an honour to lead a group of such enthusiastic and knowledgeable individuals striving to improve the organisation for junior members.

Describe the goal of your Steering Group in one sentence.

To champion junior members within the Federation and ensure their voices are heard at National level.

What has been your biggest challenge in the role?

Communicating with the fast-changing membership spread over such a large area and understanding what they really want.

What has been your group's best achievement in the last year?

I feel that the survey launched to investigate County Youth Forums and understand how juniors have a say at County level will be really valuable. The findings will help to shape the next steps of the group. 

Would you recommend being a Steering Group Chair to others and why?

I would thoroughly recommend being a Steering Group Chair. It is extremely rewarding to see the outcome of your group’s hard work.

What have you personally gained from the experience?

I have been able to work with National staff along with other Steering Groups, allowing me to see the hard work that goes into NFYFC. Throughout the year I have also gained lifelong friends from all over the country.

Personal Development

George Goodwin, Staffordshire FYFC

Why did you want to be a Steering Group Chair for your group?

The motivation behind me standing for Steering Group Chair was as a result of my interest and involvement in NFYFC’s Training Programmes. Travel and youth work were both important pillars that encouraged my development within NFYFC from an early age, therefore it was something I wanted to give back.

Describe the goal of your Steering Group in one sentence.

The Personal Development Steering Group oversees the travel, training and youth work that is offered to members.

What has been your group's best achievement in the last year?

Given the size of our membership, it is encouraging to see delivery of the Curve training modules increasing. It was a record year as 2946 YFC members took part in a Curve module, beating our target of reaching 2,500 members in 2017-18. We also beat our target of delivering the Curve in 25 counties as we reached 26 during 2017-18.

What has been your biggest challenge in the role?

Time! No one has enough of it and especially true for a YFC member! Make the most of the time you have in YFC, have a go at taking on a club role, see where it takes you!  

What have you personally gained from the experience?

I have thoroughly enjoyed my role as Personal Development Chairman over the last 12 months and taking the skills I have learnt at County level to NFYFC. This year has been monumental for NFYFC - one that will go down in history - and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be involved in shaping the future of our organisation.

Would you recommend being a Steering Group Chair to others and why?

Yes of course, don’t assume someone else will do it! NFYFC needs members to come forward and step up. You can influence the direction YFC takes by leading and looking after the future of YFC.


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