National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

17 May 2019

An original script and handmade costumes helped Eardisley YFC steal the show at The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (NFYFC) Performing Arts final, sponsored by Isuzu UK.

The national competition – which was a sell-out – was held at the Spa Centre in Leamington Spa on 12 May, and followed on from the NFYFC’s Annual General Meeting, which was held at Stoneleigh Park. Five teams competed at the national final after making it through County and regional rounds.

The Herefordshire club has reached the national final five times before but this is the first year Eardisley has clinched the top trophy. The club’s 40-minute performance of Down the Garden Path was written by former members of the club and involved a cast of 31 members ranging from 10 to 24 years old.

Eardisley YFC’s Club Secretary Zoe Whittall said: “We are absolutely buzzing, we can’t believe it. Everyone who wanted to be in the play was in it. Everyone who wanted a part had a part and we’ve had an absolutely fantastic time doing it. We’ve been to five national Entertainments Finals and we have finally won one!

“Everyone has been fantastic and so enthusiastic and keen to get involved and that’s what our club’s all about and we’ve loved every second of it!”

Eardisley YFC faced stiff competition from four other teams in the Final including Caldbeck YFC in Cumbria, Buxton YFC in Derbyshire, a team from Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) and Guilsfield YFC in Montgomeryshire.

It was a tough decision for the three NODA adjudicators who admitted the standard was extremely high.

West Midlands NODA Regional Councillor Ian Cox told a packed auditorium: “Any performance that begins with Vivaldi’s Spring is to be admired and we saw that in Eardisley with their particular performance. The puppetry in that show was of the absolute top quality and it impressed us enormously.”

It was a special moment for Buxton YFC when the winners of the best actor and actress awards were announced. The two awards went to brother and sister Samuel and Lydia Slack for the characters they played in the production When I Grow Up that was written by their father Peter Slack – a former Buxton YFC member.

Sam played a comical granddad figure that he says was based on his own Granddad who sadly passed away six months ago and Lydia took inspiration from her idol Victoria Wood to play her comedy role as a sheep farmer.

Buxton YFC’s production also came second in the competition and Sam said they were delighted to have reached the final.

“We are absolutely overwhelmed that we even got this far,” said Sam. ”It’s dad who has helped us and pushed us to get here really. But it was an overall team effort from everyone in the club who pulled together to make this such an amazing performance.”

George Wallis, Isuzu Head of Marketing, said: “Isuzu (UK) Ltd are proud to sponsor such a fantastic competition with such talented young farmers. Congratulations to Eardisley YFC on picking up the win. All the clubs that made the final were a credit to the farming community with their amazing performances. We wish all of them every success in their farming careers.”

The aim of the NFYFC Performing Arts competition is to encourage YFC members to work together to produce and perform an act using skills learnt through training and practice. It encourages skills in teamwork, writing and communication – as well as developing dancing, singing and theatrical talent.

The Performing Arts competition was also supported by the William A. Cadbury Charitable Trust.

Eardisley YFC will be staging their performance of Down the Garden Path on 7 June in an Open Air Theatre style production at The Dairy House, Eardisley from 7pm. Tickets available on the door - £6 for adults and £3 for children. All proceeds will go back into supporting the club. 

15 May 2019

A positive attitude and a great idea to help support YFC members, helped Cumbria’s County Chairman Eamon Monaghan win NFYFC’s Senior Member of the Year competition, supported by Tama. 

The 24-year-old from Skelton YFC successfully sourced a £10,000 grant from the Cumbria Community Foundation to deliver alcohol and drugs awareness sessions to YFC members in the County over the next three years.

Eamon recognised a need for more education around drugs and alcohol abuse and wanted to do something proactive to support younger members. The project works in partnership with The Well Communities, a not-for-profit community service provider specialising in supporting people with addictions and mental health issues.

Eamon explained: “Cumbria FYFC is very proud of our proactive approach to drug and alcohol use in our County. In modern day society it is a very naive attitude to think that drugs aren’t around you and it is important that everyone is aware of the effects and how to deal with them. It’s important that County Federations take a pro-active stance against drug and alcohol abuse.”

Eamon made it through his Club, County and Area rounds before competing against the six other Area finalists at the national final of the Senior Member of the Year competition in Leamington Spa on 12 May.

The final involved a formal interview with the judges as well as stage interviews during the Entertainments finals. On stage, in front of a packed auditorium Eamon was asked his opinion of social media, to which he replied positively about the improvements it can make to communication with members when used effectively.

On winning the competition, Eamon said: “I set off with a goal to come and do my best for Cumbria and our members and I went and smashed it, so I’m absolutely over the moon! Hopefully it encourages others to give it a go – anyone can do it.”

Judge Bryce MacKellar explained why he and the other judges had chosen Eamon as their overall winner. 

“All the finalists had really positive examples to talk about and are offering so much to Young Farmers but Eamon had just gone that little bit further,” explained Bryce.

“He took some difficult decisions with issues that were affecting his County and he did something about it instead of just pushing it under the carpet. He has done a lot for his club and County Federation and in the Northern Area.

“Eamon is a very well-rounded character with a positive attitude who doesn’t shy away from difficult decisions – and that really impressed the judges.”

As supporters of the competition, Tama’s UK Commercial Manager Warren Tatton said: “Eamon is a worthy winner of this year’s award.

“These issues have a huge impact on our farming community and to see him and Cumbria FYFC take such a proactive approach in tackling these subjects is a positive sign for the future.”

To see all seven Senior Member of the Year finalists visit here

13 May 2019

Farming Today and BBC Countryfile presenter Charlotte Smith urged YFC members to unite during her third and final year as President of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC). 

Charlotte, who has represented the organisation for the past two years, chaired NFYFC’s 87th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 12 May and stood for re-election for what she says will be her final year.

The TV and radio presenter said the year ahead was going to be challenging – both within YFC and the wider farming industry – and urged Young Farmers to join forces.

NFYFC President Charlotte Smith said:

“I’m really proud to be involved with an organisation which facilitates the sharing of very significant differences in such a positive way.

“The membership needs to work together now to provide the change that this organisation needs to grow and thrive. I look forward to being a part of those changes over the coming year.”  

13 May 2019

YFC members have voted against a motion to determine appropriate meeting spaces for YFC business meetings.

The motion, proposed by Katie Davies, from Pembrokeshire FYFC, was intended to formally state that the main body (bar area) of a public house was not an appropriate meeting space for YFC business meetings.

Katie explained in the proposal during the meeting. “As a democratic youth organisation where nearly half of our membership is under 18 it is vital that all of our members feel entitled and able to give their opinions.

“We all know that our membership age range is 10 to 26 meaning that some of our membership are still in primary school. Is the bar area really the best place to bring those junior members?”

Thomas Oatey from Cornwall FYFC seconded Katie’s proposal before speakers from the floor voiced their objections.

Daniel Graham from Northumberland said: “The local village hall would cost me £22.50 per night and I know which local enterprise I would rather support.” 

When put to the vote, YFC members present at the AGM voted against the motion.

Speaking after the meeting about the defeated motion, NFYFC Chairman Katie Hall said:

“This motion was never intended to suggest that YFC members could not gather in their local pub. With nearly half of all members under the age of 18, we wanted YFC members to consider the most appropriate spaces for their club meetings to take place.

“It was a positive discussion and interesting to hear the varied views of our membership. We hope that YFC members will still be mindful of the places where they hold club business meetings, as is set out in the YFC handbook, to ensure that we create proper environments for all ages.”

To get more guidance on club meetings see The Source.

13 May 2019

YFC members have voted to safeguard the future of their national federation by agreeing to an increase in the national subscription fee.

The original motion, put forward by NFYFC’s Chairman 2019 Katie Hall, was to increase the national membership fee by 50% (equivalent to an £8.96 increase per member). Five amendments to the motion were put forward and each was debated before it was concluded that the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (FYFC) amendment was passed.

Yorkshire’s amendment will increase the national subscription fee by 20% from September 2019 with a further 20% increase each year for the following two years. The amendment also includes that from September 2022 the national subscription fee will be increased by the Retail Price Index (RPI) for the subsequent two years.

Stephen Jarmuz from Boroughbridge YFC proposed the motion, which was seconded by Rob Beale from Rillington YFC.

Stephen said the 50% increase would ‘ruin grassroots young farmers” but said it was no secret that “NFYFC has a massive funding deficit.”

In response to the amendment, members gave passionate speeches from the floor both for and against the motion. The amendments included one amusing speech from Ed Dungait County Chairman of Northumberland FYFC, which won the Sidney Fawcett trophy for the best speech given during the 2019 AGM. 

Ed shared his experience of the first AGM he attended eight years ago where the levy was also being debated.

“A few guys did some speeches and one of them was really good, so I thought I’d vote for that one. Then one of the senior members in Northumberland shouted down the line – ‘Ed put your hand down.’ 

“I’ve been looking forward to this day ever since. I’m finally now County Chairman, I’m in charge and I’m going to tell the young’uns how I want them to vote. But I couldn’t get any of them to come. So my message is, don’t just vote for whoever someone above you told you to vote for, make your own mind up today and vote for whoever you want to vote for.”

Among the arguments for an increase to the levy was Katie Court’s from Wales FYFC where she revealed she was saddened to see people not valuing YFC to its true extent. She said: “I urge you to all support an increase today because YFC means a lot more to us than any price we could put on it.”

After all amendments had been debated and voted on, Yorkshire FYFC’s amendment was formally passed. Stephen Jarmuz thanked all the proposers and seconders for presenting their motions.   

Stephen added: “Looking at the finances, yes there are cuts to be made but the amount of money needed to be found to close that deficit is huge. I think the support for Yorkshire’s amendment is tremendous to see and I think it will really help to cement the future of national young farmers but also our young farmers at a club level, which is really important to me.”

In response to the motion being passed, NFYFC Chairman Katie Hall said:

“The membership of the NFYFC has now laid down what it is prepared to pay as its subscription to the national body this year, next year and the year after. The levy increase means the national Federation can plan the future knowing what the membership will pay, and the debate today gave clear signs of where the membership would like to see spending efficiencies to be made.

“This planned approach, approved by the membership at the AGM, will build a more secure financial base for the Federation. This decision does mean the NFYFC will need to make further spending efficiencies to close the budget gap.

“It was positive to see so many young people speak passionately about their organisation and I hope we can now work together to safeguard its future.”

10 May 2019

A bank holiday weekend of fundraising activities has helped YFC members in Staffordshire raise an impressive £9,000 for charity.

The fundraising started on Saturday at the County Rally, where members of Uttoxeter YFC went for the chop to raise £1,100 for Cancer Research UK. Club Chairman Mark Whitehurst had his head shaved by the High Sheriff of Staffordshire Ashley Brough while four of the clubs’ female members had their long locks cut off. The hair was donated to The Little Princess Trust so it could be used to make wigs for children living with cancer.

Mark said: “A massive thank you to those that took part in our fundraiser and to everyone who was so generous to donate. It was fantastic to raise so much for this worthy cause!”

It proved to be a successful day for Uttoxeter as they also won the overall rally trophy for the fourth year running.

More than 250 members, sponsors and supporters joined in Staffordshire’s rally, which was held at Blore Farm near Market Drayton. There were more than 30 competitions including a bungee challenge and potato launching as well as the more formal floral art.

Building on their fundraising for Cancer Research UK, County Chairman Polly Baines hosted a charity lunch called Give Cancer the Boot on the Sunday after the Rally and raised a further £8,000.

The lunch, which was inspired by Polly and her family, included canapés and a delicious meal of roast beef followed by apple pie or pavlova. And for those that could still move after their Sunday roast, there were five races sponsored by local companies for people to place bets on as well as a raffle that helped to boost funds.

Polly said: “This weekend has been a true representation of everything YFC! From teamwork and competitions to multiple incredible skills and best of all, fundraising for Cancer Research! Having been directly affected by my mum having the disease, it made the urge to raise funds for Cancer Research even more important.

“Being a part of the Staffordshire YFC is fantastic, the support is amazing and I cannot thank everyone enough for their hard work, time and backing throughout this weekend!”


Designed by Kevyn Williams