National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

02 April 2019

It might be a rubbish job – but a litter pick by Vale O Lune YFC in Lancashire brought the club together and made a difference to their local community.

The club wanted to do something positive to support NFYFC’s Protect Your Future campaign and took inspiration from the fact the Great British Spring Clean ran from the 22 March – 23 April.

Thirty members cleared litter along three miles of cycle track that runs between car parks in Bullbeck and Denny Beck.

The areas are used regularly by YFC members and the local community and are now looking a lot smarter since the club filled bags of rubbish using litter picking tools donated by David Hartley Towing and Training.

Club Chairman Steve Taylor said: “It was a good team building exercise and you can see we’ve made a difference. It also promoted YFC as being here to make a difference. We had a strong turn out of over 30 people, which was very good for such a ‘rubbish’ job.”

If your club wants to get involved in the Protect Your Future campaign, visit the campaign pages. 

01 April 2019

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) – the largest rural youth organisation in the UK – has identified three major issues to focus on that are having a detrimental impact on rural young people’s lives today.

Three key areas of concern affecting rural young people are inconsistent and poor levels of connectivity in rural areas, the pressures associated with the future succession of a family business and the high level of unspoken mental wellbeing issues. NFYFC has responded to these issues with programmes of work to support its network of 24,500 members that live and work in rural areas across England and Wales.

NFYFC has collaborated with industry organisations and government to develop training and materials that help raise awareness of the problems and highlight where to access support.

Katie Hall, NFYFC’s Chairwoman of Council, said: “Connectivity, succession issues and mental wellbeing are three key issues we believe are having a detrimental impact on rural young people today. Our 615 YFCs offer a social network to many rural young people and are focused on helping their members to have fun, learn and achieve through our varied programme of activities and training support.

“NFYFC collaborates with government, youth organisations and leading agricultural industry organisations to help raise awareness about these areas of concern so that rural young people are given fair opportunities to succeed.”


Limited access to vital services in rural areas is impacting rural young people’s development. A recent State of Rural Services report from Rural England highlighted that inadequate phone signal and 4G connections, rapidly declining transport networks and ‘contracting’ public sector services are having a serious impact on rural people’s daily lives.**

The report showed that a basic phone call cannot be made inside 33% of rural buildings on all four mobile networks (EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone).

It’s an issue that NFYFC’s Agricultural and Rural Issues (AGRI) Steering Group has included in its AGRI Manifesto. Broadband connectivity is a major issue for rural and agricultural businesses – especially those wanting to advance their systems with new technology.

A lack of public transport also reinforces social isolation – especially for those who cannot drive or do not have access to their own vehicle. Many of YFC members live in remote locations, often miles away from the nearest town.

Kate Wainwright, Derbyshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs member and a member of the AGRI Steering Group said:  “Connectivity is an issue that has been raised time and time again by rural young people. It’s still a problem and there’s still a lot of work to do in this area.

“Living in a rural area can leave you isolated and vulnerable if you do not have access to basic services that those in urban areas take for granted. Poor or no internet connection can have an impact on working lives as well as social connections. Coupled with the fact that public transport has been reduced and other local services are being cut – it can make living in the countryside very difficult and stressful. YFCs support their members by having regular meetings and providing that social connection in areas that are often cut off.”

Rural well-being

An NFYFC and Farming Community Network (FCN) survey in 2014 asked young people with a farming background about their hopes for the future and, among the major concerns highlighted were low incomes (50%), an inability to save for the future (45%), the limited opportunities for them to start farming (32%) and the lack of rural housing (55%).

Social isolation and a lack of opportunities in rural areas are both contributors to poor mental health.

To help raise awareness of mental health issues, NFYFC worked with FCN to develop a session called Rural+ that YFCs can deliver at a club level. The sessions, delivered in conjunction with trained professionals from mental health support organisations, aim to get young people talking about the stigmas associated with mental health, to recognise the signs and symptoms, and know where to get support.

The club sessions were launched off the back of a mental health awareness campaign that was launched by NFYFC in 2014 called Rural+.

Alice Giles, a YFC Trainer from Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs said: “This course is a brilliant way to encourage young people to talk about their mental health and be aware of where they can get support.

“In Devon we are aiming to deliver Rural+ to all of our clubs this membership year and so far we have received a positive reaction. It has been really eye opening to see how many people have said they have suffered or are suffering with their mental health.”

Succession planning

A quarter of farm businesses do not have a nominated successor,*  which can be a cause of stress for everyone invested in a family business. NFYFC released a video We Really Need to Talk and support guides in 2018 to help young people start the conversation about succession and highlighted the importance of financial and business planning.

NFYFC is now set to launch a new training module called Ready and Resilient, in conjunction with Savills and Siân Bushell and supported by Defra. It has been developed for YFCs to deliver; helping to raise awareness of the issues surrounding succession and generational renewal. The project aims to encourage more families to start succession planning in their family businesses – and not just related to farming.

NFYFC is also keen to promote the opportunities available to young people to farm – and not just through succession of a family farm. New business opportunities such as share farming and many roles within the food and farming industries are all considerations for those with an interest in agriculture.

A new NFYFC project with LEAF Education called Future Farming is also focused on promoting the wide-range of jobs available in the agricultural sector – and not just those related to working on a farm.

AGRI Steering Group Chairman David Goodwin from Warwickshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs said:

“NFYFC is focused on supporting the industry with a culture change in farming. Succession can be a key area of concern for young farmers or any young person involved in a family business. Planning ahead is vital so everyone in the business understands and agrees on the best future possible.

“Families can make assumptions without speaking to each other and NFYFC hopes that the new training module and the video, released last year, will help young people feel confident about getting that conversation started in their family.”

*(Defra Farm Business Survey 2017/18)



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