National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

28 February 2019

Lucy Jeyes knows how to pull her weight as a member of the England under 18s Tug of War team and now as the new Chairman of Youth Forum. A member of Brandon & Wolston YFC in Warwickshire since she was 10 years old, she loves the part YFC plays in celebrating country life. 

When did you join YFC?

I aspired to be a Young Farmer from a young age so I could follow in the footsteps of my family and friends. After my first meeting with Brandon and Wolston YFC I was hooked and I joined in 2010 when I was 10 years old. I loved the meetings and meeting people like me; who live on a farm or like country life. I have been a member for eight years now and I have loved taking part in the competitions, activities and social events.

Why have you remained a member?

YFC continues to give me lots of different opportunities from competitions for the different age groups and now as the national Youth Forum Chairman. YFC always challenges me to better myself in lots of different areas.

Greatest achievement in YFC?

Four years ago I won the national Junior Floral Art competition, which was such a great achievement due to the high standard of entrants. Another achievement I am proud of was competing in stockjudging at the English Winter Fair. For the last two years we have won best overall competing team – beating 18 other teams from 16 different counties. It was an even bigger achievement as the team consisted of only two families.

Greatest achievement outside young farmers?

Through YFC I was recruited for the England Under 18s Tug of War team where we competed in Holland, Gloucester and Bedfordshire. We won gold and silver the following year in the national championships against Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Top skill you have learnt through YFC?

The top skill YFC has given me is public speaking and being confident.

The best thing you’ve ever made with YFC?

The Young Farmers’ community has enabled me to create long-life friends that have similar interests to me.

Three words to describe your club…

Active, competitive and fun-loving.

Has YFC helped you in your career/studies?

I’m currently in my first year of university at Harper Adams studying BSc Agri-Business. Taking part in YFC Farmers has given me lots of diverse skills that I could add to my personal statement to make me different to other applicants. YFC has given me confidence to do presentations and speak up in lectures and tutorials.

Someone you would like to thank in YFC and why?

My older sister Hannah. She has always pushed me to take part and do competitions to better myself. When I was younger she was always willing to give me lifts to take me to places, so I was able to compete and support young farmers. She urged me to take up leading roles such as Programme Secretary and County Stockjudging Chairman. She is always there for help and support when I need it. 


27 February 2019

His passion for YFC runs deep – so much so he skipped going to university just so he wouldn't miss out on anything with his club… Meet Delme Harries the new Chairman of NFYFC’s Board of Management, a dedicated YFC supporter and a firm believer in its ability to produce future rural leaders.

Why did you want to be Chairman of the Board?

I wanted to support the Federation after what has been a difficult 12 months for the Officer team. I thought my knowledge and experience of YFC that I have gained over nearly 40 years might help the NFYFC Officer team move the organisation forward.

What do you hope to bring to the Federation in your new role?

I see the Board’s role as giving the elected Officer team the support they need. They are the ones who do all the democratic elements and are the face of the membership. I’m here to look after risk, regulation and finances.

How do you feel about the decisions that were made last year?

The decision the Board made last year, had to be made. I fully understand how people feel about the loss of an event that we have all benefited from over the years, but YFC needs to change. It’s an exciting challenge now as we are going to have to reinvent ourselves for the current membership and the membership of the future.

How important is NFYFC?

NFYFC is an umbrella organisation that has the knowledge and expertise to provide a programme of activities and benefits to its members. Often the work NFYFC does is all the boring stuff that members don’t see – but it ensures County Federations can run legally.  Regulation is key – health and safety, risk assessments, safeguarding, GDPR – a county could find it difficult to afford to have the expertise in all of these areas and many more.

People mainly join YFC to make friends and to socialise and NFYFC enables the counties and clubs to run and deliver their activities and events in a safe environment.

We should be proud to be part of a national organisation that represents rural young people on a national scale, liaising with our farming unions and speaking out on rural issues.

Which club did you join and when?

I joined Llysyfran YFC back in 1980 when I was 12 years old. I have been a club leader and now I am a life member and always help with the Performing Arts productions. It’s frightening that I am now working with members whose parents I was in club with – I’m dreading it as it will soon be the third generation coming through!

My parents were farmers and I still live on the farm but it's no longer an active farm.

What have you achieved with YFC?

I didn't go to university because of YFC as I didn’t want to miss out on anything. I ended up getting a job with the NFU and NFU Mutual and have gained a lot of my skills through my YFC experiences.

I learnt leadership skills, public speaking, people skills, how to work with people and be part of a team.

I think club officers forget they are actually leaders. We need to recognise the skills they have learnt in that year and give some recognition for it. We are producing the rural leaders of the future. These are some of the people who will sit on local councils, agricultural societies, local educational authorities and be the future leaders of our farming organisations.

I have learnt a lot about the arts after working with people on productions. I have produced about 23 productions for the club over 20 years. The club has won 13 out of 23 at County level so we have a successful formula.

I was a member of the winning national After Dinner Speaking team in 1994 and I was in a national final for the Entertainments competition when I was a youngster.

I also learnt that I am not very good at some skills – such as making pancakes! As a junior member, I forgot to measure the milk and I just put it all in and they wouldn’t work. Apparently you have to toss them but mine were just liquid!

Where do you see the future of NFYFC?

NFYFC is here to support its members, to listen, to work with them and achieve what they want. We have to move with the times – the members of today are different to those 10 and 20 years ago. That’s where NFYFC, with the support of Council and sub groups, can move forward. Members have the opportunity to feed into the future plans and I urge you to do so – we need your ideas so we can progress and keep YFC going for the generations to come.

 





27 February 2019

YFC members have been officially appointed to the new Vision:2023 working group to help shape NFYFC’s new five-year plan. 

The group, made up of 10 people, will seek input from the wider NFYFC membership, Board members, County and NFYFC staff and external stakeholders and consultants.

Seven of the group are YFC members who applied to be part of the planning process. They include Tom Foulger from Cambridgeshire FYFC, Harry Madin from Cumbria FYFC, Marcus Bailey from Essex FYFC, Rachel Goldie from Yorkshire FYFC, Fay Thomas from Herefordshire FYFC, Polly Baines from Staffordshire FYFC and Laura Rimmer from Lancashire FYFC.

David Heminsley, a Life Vice President from Staffordshire, has been named as a member of the working group too.

Over the coming year, the group will be responsible for drafting a five-year strategic plan for NFYFC and will be seeking input from the wider NFYFC membership. The strategy represents a significant moment in the history of the organisation as it will ensure the Federation is fit for purpose and has clear objectives to achieve as it develops in the future.

The group plans to release the second membership survey soon, which will gather feedback on communications.

Throughout the year there will also be presentations made to NFYFC Council, consultations with members at key events such as Competitions Day and roadshows throughout the counties.

The aim is to present a final report to Council in February 2020.

Harry Madin, a relatively new member of Lamplugh YFC, applied to join the Vision:2023 group as he felt he could bring a fresh perspective. He urged YFC members to get their voices heard.

“Members really need to share their views on the organisation, as without their opinions the group wouldn’t be able to run and positive changes won't be made.”

To read more about the Vision:2023 team visit here

For more information on Vision:2023 visit here.






25 February 2019

Montgomeryshire Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs (FYFC) has been successful in securing a grant from the Welsh Government's Wales for Africa programme to undertake a project titled ‘Active Global Citizens: Young Farmers in Fairtrade’. The project supports the YFC aim to ‘improve the condition of the lives of young people and adding sustainability in rural communities’.

The project will engage YFC members (in Montgomeryshire and beyond) with Fairtrade and put a focus on the work of farmers who produce our food - wherever they are in the world. As part of the project, a Fairtrade producer will be hosted in Montgomeryshire and will take part in a series of events during Fairtrade Fortnight (25 February - 10 March). The programme aims to include:

  • Visit of Fairtrade producer to a local school
  • Visit to a local farm with the Fairtrade producer
  • Presentation by the Fairtrade producer and a Welsh producer at an evening event followed by a panel discussion, Q&A and a Fairtrade tasting session (cocoa, coffee)

How can you be involved?

Montgomeryshire FYFC is aiming to hold events during the week beginning 4 March. Although these would be YFC events, in the spirit of partnership, the county is interested in hearing from anyone who would interested in supporting these events by:

  • spreading the word about events through their communication channels
  • providing speakers or contributors
  • helping to gain media attention
  • sponsoring the catering at events
  • or anything else you think would benefit the project and help it reach its aims.

At a time when trade and agriculture faces unprecedented challenges, these events will provide an opportunity to engage a predominantly young group of people with topics including: sustainable food production/ agriculture, local farming, Brexit, short supply-chains, climate change, trade, rural life in Wales and Africa, cocoa or coffee production, sustainable consumption, nutrition and healthy eating.

Please contact Ffion Storer Jones by email at montgomeryyfc@gmail.com or phone 07903001293 to discuss how you would like to be involved.

Applications for partnership opportunities will be considered until 28 February and confirmed by 1 March 2019.


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.”  


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