National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

18 February 2019

The new Chairman of leading rural youth organisation The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is calling on young farmers to support the environment in their local communities during the Government’s year of Green Action. 

Katie Hall, 30, a member of Tewkesbury Young Farmers’ Club, Gloucestershire, for 12 years, was elected as the national Chairman of the Federation at the Council meeting on 17 February at the Quality Hotel in Coventry. Supporting Katie in her role will be two newly elected Vice Chairmen Dewi Parry from Clwyd FYFC and Rachel Goldie from Yorkshire FYFC.

Katie, a calf nutritionist and Regional Sales Representative for Bonanza Calf Nutrition, officially launched the #ProtectYourFuture campaign during the Council meeting and set all YFCs a goal of planting a tree per member in 2019.

The tree initiative has been set up in partnership with the Woodland Trust and was instigated to support the Government’s Year of Green Action and the #iwill4nature campaign. It could see thousands of trees being planted across England and Wales.

With the launch of the Government’s 25-year environmental plan, the #iwill campaign, Defra, and a group of 25 environment and youth-sector partners, of which NFYFC is one, want to keep young people at the heart of environmental social action.

NFYFC’s Chairman of Council Katie Hall said: “This year is all about YFCs putting their green feet first and supporting the environment and our local rural communities. I am excited to be spearheading this campaign and ensuring the next generation is making the environment and sustainability a priority.

“I am a proud supporter of what Young Farmers’ Clubs can achieve when they work together and I am ecstatic to be leading our 615 YFCs during my year as Chairman. This organisation inspired my career in agriculture and I hope that I can inspire more people to join what I consider to be the best youth organisation in England and Wales.”

NFYFC’s President and Farming Today Presenter Charlotte Smith said: “This campaign is a great way for YFC members to support the environment and their local communities. We want to show how passionate young farmers are about sustainability and the environment and to demonstrate how much we care about the rural communities where we live and work.”

Vicki Baddeley, Senior Project Lead for Woodland Outreach at the Woodland Trust said: “We are delighted that NFYFC has chosen to plant trees through our free trees scheme. These trees will allow a host of young people, who are already connected with outdoors, to see the added benefit that trees can bring the environment – reap the rewards of seeing the trees grow up and thrive."

YFC members have until August to order their sapling trees from the Woodland Trust. The tree planting will then take place across England and Wales in November 2019.

NFYFC will also be developing a range of resources to help YFCs proactively engage in a wider campaign to look after the environment.

Katie and her two Vice Chairmen will be responsible for leading the Federation’s Council and ensuring its members continue to develop their local clubs and enhance the image of YFC.

New members of NFYFC’s Board of Management were also officially elected during the meeting. Delme Harries from Pembrokeshire was elected as the new Chairman of the Board.  He is currently a Life Vice President of NFYFC, Life Vice President of Wales YFC, Life Member of Llysyfran YFC and Vice President of the Pembrokeshire FYFC. Delme brings a wealth of professional experience to the Federation’s Board as a senior manager with a track record of delivering training, developing and supporting staff and volunteers, working with young people at local, national and European levels. 

Fay Thomas from Herefordshire FYFC, Alice Longmire from Cumbria FYFC and Laura Elliott from Glamorgan FYFC were also all formally appointed as YFC representatives on the Board during the meeting too.

More than 100 members gathered in Coventry over the weekend to pass motions that affect the running of the organisation and to elect the new officers of NFYFC’s Council. Five steering groups represent the views of the members and include: Competitions; Events and Marketing; Personal Development, Agriculture and Rural Issues and the Youth Forum. 

The National Council is made up of 63 members, associate members and co-options from across England and Wales and is elected by YFC members to represent their views.

Through steering groups, the National Council also decide and shape the programmes of work at NFYFC - planning events, competitions, projects and training for members.

STEERING GROUP CHAIRMEN ELECTIONS: 
  • Agricultural and Rural Issues Steering Group: David Goodwin from Warwickshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC)
  • Competitions Steering Group: Dewi Parry from Clwyd FYFC
  • Events and Marketing Steering Group: Lucy Stowell from Norfolk FYFC
  • Personal Development Steering Group: Marcus Bailey from Essex FYFC
  • Youth Forum: Lucy Jeyes from Warwickshire FYFC
 
For more information about getting involved in the #ProtectYourFuture campaign visit here.  
 
Find out more information about the #iwill4nature campaign here.


15 February 2019

Challenges such as environmental land management, changing markets and entering the industry have been discussed by young farmers and industry representatives. 

The YFC East Midlands AGRI event, called Take Control of Your Future, brought together YFC members, conservationists, and representatives from the industry and Defra to take part in a series of workshops and discussions looking at different areas of farming in the future.

The debates looked at the commercial realities farmers face – including starting in business, food security and the eating habits of the nation. Discussions also focused on the responsibilities farmers have as land owners and managers to the environment, including conservation and climate change, and how that can be managed alongside commercial pressures.

The removal of the Basic Payment System was a hot topic, with young farmers questioning if landlords might lower rents. The future Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMS) could be key to answering that question and discussions between delegates and Rosie East from Defra’s ELMS design team was a chance for all sides to share views.

Greg Parkes, a member of Market Bosworth YFC and a farmer in beef, sheep and diversification, said: “Two of the things that came out of it for me was the need to educate farmers to become better communicators to sell their story to the general public. Running alongside that was the need to educate consumers to understand farming and where food comes from.”

Andrew Clark, an independent ecologist and film maker, showed his short film, The Carbon Farmer, which presented a positive view for farming on peatland and its contribution to lowering atmospheric carbon levels.

“We’ve had some brilliant discussions. It has been really great to hear from so many people in farming and to learn from them how things can be better. They are the best authority on how we can make a viable environmental land management scheme in the future,” said Andrew.

The weekend ended with a tour of the Chatsworth Estate Farm, where manager David Howlett showed his high welfare cattle and sheep that are grazed on the farmland and moorland surrounding Chatsworth.

Chair of A Focus on Nature and conservationist Pete Cooper said: “Today has been absolutely fascinating and I have loved it. There are new challenges ahead in terms of how we give advice on land management and how we apply farming conservation but by getting each other’s views and working together we can make great things happen.”  


14 February 2019

There’s so much to love about being part of one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK. 

The friendships.

They’re the only mates who understand what it means to win your County Rally or why you’re still wearing a faded club shirt from circa 2008. 

 

 

 

 

The activities.

One week you might learn about the importance of heel depth on a dairy cow while the next you could be starring in your Club’s production of Cinderella. There’s never a dull moment in the countryside and YFC members usually have a go at most competitions in a bid to boost their Club’s trophy haul.

 

 

 

 

 

Farming talk.

You’re pretty much guaranteed to find someone in your club that will be going through the misery of sleepless nights during lambing or who will be happy to talk about the quality of your crops during harvest.

via GIPHY 

The marriages.

We don’t have the figures but we’re pretty sure the numbers of YFC marriages over the years are high! We’re not the countryside’s dating agency but we do have a lot of happy couples.

 

 

 

 

County Rallies.

Club rivalry is at its best at these fun annual events – where you can usually expect to be soaked at some point during the day through one of the water-based competitions! It’s your club’s chance to show off your skills to the rest of the county and bag a few homegrown trophies to boot. 

 

 

 

The contacts.

Need a great speaker for your AGM or want to practice on a quad for a competition, there’s always someone who knows someone, who knows someone, who errr knows someone… Plus you get to mingle with industry bods at some of the larger NFYFC events. 

The fundraisers.

With an average of £1.2m raised for good causes every year by YFCs, ‘giving back’ is a way of life for members. You’ll find yourself roped in to doing a sponsored cycle ride, a tractor run or entertaining the local village with your carol singing at some point during the year.

 

 

 

 

The wellies.

There aren’t many clubs where wellies are practically part of the uniform. Whether you’re going on a farm tour or just fancy keeping your feet dry at a club meeting – no one will notice if you turn up in your mucking out boots (unless you’ve got a new pair of Le Chameaus on for everyone to envy). 

via GIPHY 

The skills.

One year you could be Club Secretary, the next Club Chairman – there’s a chance for everyone to take part in running their Club and making it a successful charity. There’s training on offer along the way too, giving you a load of skills to add to the CV and dazzle future employers.

 

 

 

 

The memories.

From the age of 10 to 26 – YFC membership offers 16 years worth of good times and far too many photo opportunities that will eat up all the storage on your phone. Whatever way you choose to use your membership with NFYFC, you’ll have the time of your life. There is no other youth organisation quite like it.

What do you love about YFC? Share your answers on Twitter using hashtag #loveyfc 



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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