National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

26 June 2019

If you’re looking for competitive spirit then 21-year-old Victoria Sercombe has bags of it – especially when the challenge involves sheep! As a finalist in this year’s Situations Vacant competition on 6 July, Victoria says she owes YFC a lot for her public speaking skills and for nurturing her passion for stockjudging.

When did you join YFC?

When I was 12 years old. I grew up on a sheep farm and my parents were involved in Young Farmers and I really wanted to get involved in the stockjudging competitions. I joined Melton Mowbray as that’s where my parents were involved but when the club lost a lot of members and hit hard times a few years ago, I moved to Rearsby YFC for a couple of years as I wanted to be competitive.

Three years ago Melton Mowbray put a girls’ Tug of War team together and made it to third place in the nationals. It was enough of a kick start to make us want to get the club going again so I went back to help. This year all our public speaking teams have made it through to the Area round, which is quite an achievement. 

Three words to describe your club?

Enthusiastic, eager (to learn) and competitive

Three years ago it would have been social, social, social – it’s a completely different and more stable club now. We do two socials a year to raise funds for the club and we take part in more of the programme.

Best thing you have done with YFC?

Stockjudging is definitely a good skill for someone from a farming background but it’s also helped my public speaking. When I moved into doing public speaking comps the stockjudging helped me be confident about talking in front of people.

I also went to South Africa with YFC Travel last year, which was an amazing experience where we helped create community vegetable gardens. It was great to meet other young farmers from across the country and to find out about their journey through YFC but also to be exposed to a different culture in South Africa.

Greatest achievement in YFC?

Winning the Live Lamb stockjudging competition in 2017 at the Staffordshire County stockjudging competitions at the English Winter Fair. It was a proud moment for me because that’s where my YFC journey began.

Greatest achievement outside of YFC?

Winning the Young Handlers competition at the Royal Welsh twice. That has always been a very proud moment.

Has YFC helped you in your career/studies?

Public speaking is such a useful skill. I am through to the national finals this year in Situations Vacant and this competition has proved really beneficial when I have been going for real-life job interviews and definitely helped me get my new job!

I have just finished a degree in Agriculture and Livestock Science and am about to start a new job at AHDB in the animal genetics team. I have always been really interested in the science behind agriculture and the ways we can improve and become more efficient. The population is expanding at a rapid rate so we are going to have to become more efficient to feed everyone.

Agriculture in general is such an amazing industry to be involved in. YFC creates a community amongst the younger generations. Everyone knows that farming is an isolating place to be and the weekly YFC meetings with like-minded people are a valuable part of Young Farmers.

Best thing you’ve ever made with YFC?

Creativity isn’t my forte but when I was a junior, loom bands were a big craze and I used them to make sheep and a border collie dog. The sheep had a toy wooden gate and the collie dog was rounding the sheep up. My efforts came second at County. I still have the loom band sheep somewhere!

Who would you like to thank in YFC and why?

Amiee Mahony from Leicestershire FYFC for inspiring me to achieve more at stockjudging. I remember scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a few days before I was off to compete at the English Winter Fair and I saw Aimee had shared an old post about winning one of the classes a few years before, and I thought if I could join that ‘elite’ group of people one day I would be a very happy person. Then when I achieved that goal two years ago, I sent Amiee (who was our County Chairman at the time) a message to tell her that I’d won and that I’d finally joined her ‘group’. Amiee told me that my message had reduced her to tears.

Sadly, Amiee lost her dad last year and her family donated a new junior stockjudging trophy for this year’s County Rally. Our Club managed to win it, which I thought was really fitting. 

If you would like to take part in a YFC profile or want to nominate another YFC member, contact Cheryl Liddle.  

26 June 2019

A chance to experience rural life in Northern Ireland was the perfect escape for 23-year-old Hannah Mason from Herefordshire in May this year after she successfully applied for the trip through the YFC Travel programme. Hannah reveals why every YFC member should take advantage of the YFC Travel programme and what she discovered on her journey. 

Why did you choose to apply for Northern Ireland?

I thought it would be a good one to go for as it was my first time travelling with YFC as it’s not too far away. I live on a small beef and sheep farm in Herefordshire and I was interested in comparing how the farms operate in Northern Ireland.

Where did you stay?

I travelled with Emma Topham from Derbyshire FYFC and we stayed with two families. The first family was a young couple in County Down who were actively involved in the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) – Northern Ireland’s equivalent of NFYFC. The second week we stayed on a small dairy farm in County Armagh with a family who also had a tea room. People would come from miles around to drink tea and eat cake in their converted conservatory! It was a real community hub and one of the reasons why the owner had wanted to open it.

We also spent the second week with other exchangees from around the world.

What activities did you get involved in?

We did around eight farm tours, visited museums and landmarks and spent two days at the Balmoral Show, which was amazing. We went to a few pubs and parties and helped set up our host club's barbecue (what we would call a barn dance). We visited the Giant’s Causeway, a cider apple orchard and bottling plant and saw a vegetable packing process as well as ate lots of lovely food.

We also watched the farmers making silage – it was fascinating to see large groups of people pulling up in cars to sit and watch the contractors at work. We occasionally get a small child popping their head over the fence to watch us at home but nothing like this! There’s a genuine appreciation of the work, which was satisfying to see.

What was their version of YFC like?

Their clubs were full of young farmers who were actively involved in farming. In Teme Valley there aren’t that many members who actually farm. They also had large numbers at their events. One club's barbecue attracts 1300 people! They’re huge events in Northern Ireland and massive fundraisers too that help the club keep going.

Their membership age is up to 30, which I really liked – especially for someone like me who only joined YFC when I was 19.

What did you enjoy about your experience?

Doing a YFC Travel trip is completely different to going travelling on your own. You get to see inside the people’s lives and experience their world for a while. When we were watching the silaging, I was chatting to the contractors whilst sat in their vehicles and these are things I doubt I would have done had I gone to Northern Ireland on holiday.

I also met other exchangees from America, Canada, Germany and Scotland who are all part of my Snapchat group now.

Would you recommend YFC Travel?

Absolutely. I would definitely apply for another trip now and will probably try going further afield next time. It’s a relatively easy application process and a brilliant way to meet new people and gain new skills. I’m someone who likes to have a go at everything and I am so glad I did this.

A huge thank you to The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust for supporting YFC Travel. New YFC Travel opportunities for 2020 will be advertised in September 2019. 

26 June 2019

More than 5,000 sapling trees have been ordered so far in support of NFYFC’s #ProtectYourFuture campaign.

Reporting back at NFYFC’s June Council meeting, Marcus Bailey said it was great to see so many Counties getting behind the campaign but that there was definitely still time for others to get on board.

“This is a great opportunity for YFCs to not only safeguard the environment for the next generation but also to get some positive promotion for YFC locally and nationally,” said Marcus. “Supplies of sapling trees from The Woodland Trust are reducing rapidly now so please order your sapling trees soon if you want to be part of this national campaign.”

While orders for the sapling trees need to be made now, the national planting will not take place until November 2019. Clubs and counties are also reminded to put NFYFC after their name when applying for sapling trees as The Woodland Trust receives thousands of applications and it can help identify how many have been ordered to support the Protect Your Future campaign.

Nottinghamshire FYFC have recently ordered 420 wild harvest sapling trees that they are using to plant in a community care farm that is open to the public. The farm has a nature trail that is used by lots of community groups and the owner is passionate about growing trees and agroforestry. As the sapling trees will be planted near existing chestnut trees, the County wanted to add to the edible theme by using harvest saplings. The County also plan to plant hedging to protect the saplings while they grow.

Callum Kendall, Nottinghamshire FYFC County Chairman, said:

“As young farmers we need to be looking at protecting our future and the environment and this edible woodland will really give us the opportunity to do that.” 

If your club or county is interested in getting involved in the campaign, follow these steps to getting started:

  1. Identify an area where you could plant your sapling trees and gain permission of the landowner. Make sure the spot you’ve picked is accessible to the public and more than just in sight of a footpath.
  2. Choose the tree packs that best suit your area and read the FAQs on The Woodland Trust website.
  3. Apply online on The Woodland Trust’s website and let your County and NFYFC know you’re getting involved. Make sure you add NFYFC at the end of your Club/County name so The Woodland Trust knows your order is for the Protect Your Future campaign.
  4. Complete the following NFYFC form below once you have applied we can track how many projects are underway!
  5. Please tell NFYFC when your have successfully had your application approved.

For more information and details visit the Protect Your Future area of the website

26 June 2019

YFCs are taking part in Vision:2023 club sessions and sharing their views about the type of programme of events and activities they want to see NFYFC develop.

One session held in Collingham YFC in Nottinghamshire has inspired the club and helped them understand more about the role of the national organisation.

Collingham YFC’s Social Secretary Josie Troop said the club found the session very useful: “We don't have any direct involvement from our club with national and so it was a brilliant opportunity for us as a club to have that one-to-one conversation.

“There had been a lot of confusion between our members about what we get and what national provide to us so having someone come in and explain it to us was really helpful. A lot of them didn’t realise there was a link and some of the juniors found it really interesting and said they would quite like to be involved at national.”

 Josie explained that she has always held an interest in holding a national role but said she’d struggled to find a link to help her achieve that aspiration.

“Nottingham is quite a small county so we don’t always feel as if we have as much of a voice. It has definitely pushed our members to think a bit more about where they would like to progress in YFC. Our members have some brilliant ideas and we need to go and push them forward.”

The club discussed ways they thought the organisation could improve, which involved advances in digital technology and reviewing the offer for different age ranges.

Josie added: “The session has really made us look at ourselves and given us quite an insight. We’ve opened a door to having a bit more communication with national. Other counties and clubs should definitely consider holding a Vision:2023 session.”

The sessions, which have been created and delivered by YFC members who sit on the Vision:2023 strategy team, will use the views of grassroots members to help guide future plans. Clubs can register for a session between now and September.

In Chorley YFC in Lancashire, members discussed the structure of YFC, how they think it can improve and what they would like to see from the future of the organisation.

Rob Partington from Chorley YFC took part in the session and said: “I enjoyed the meeting because it has taught us a lot about the national structure of young farmers and what our club can do to be a part of it and where we can look to be in the next five years.”

NFYFC Council members also got involved in a Vision:2023 strategy session during their June meetings to share their views on the organisation.


Feedback from the Vision:2023 club sessions will be used to help develop the new strategy for the Federation. Plans that are being developed will be introduced over the next four years so YFC members do not have to wait until 2023 to experience the changes.

Vice Chairman of NFYFC Council and member of the strategy group Rachel Goldie from Yorkshire FYFC said: “This current stage of the process is about speaking to clubs and getting their input into the plan as we want the new vision to be led by the members. We will be presenting our findings to the October Council meeting and plans will start to take shape from there.

“My advice to members is to ensure you get involved in these sessions where you can as it’s your voices that matter. We need your help to make the changes necessary to keep YFCs relevant to rural young people today and in the future.”

Following this period of consultation, NFYFC will start delivering the new strategy from 2020 onwards.

YFCs can still register for a Vision:2023 club session between now and September. Visit here for more information and to register.  

26 June 2019

Being open and honest were highlighted as key priorities for farming families during a debate about succession, organised by NFYFC and supported by Defra at Cereals 2019. 

The event, which involved experts from Savills, succession facilitator Siân Bushell and young farmers, was held on the first day of Cereals in June. The panel and audience discussed personal challenges they had faced with succession and the experts offered tips on ways to move forward.

Speaking during the debate, Siân Bushell explained why succession was a conversation all family businesses needed to have.

“It’s the future of the business but it’s the future of the family as well, so it’s incredibly important to sit down and have that conversation,” said Siân. “If you can’t manage it yourselves get some support as there are lots of organisations out there that can help. Don’t bury it and think it’s going to go away because it won’t. Treat it positively – another generation wants to carry on the business. Be open and honest from an early stage and keep on talking about it.”   

Ashley Lilley who is a director in Savills’ Food and Farming team encouraged everyone to make those first important (and often free) enquiries to help get started with succession issues – and highlighted the guides available on the NFYFC website. Georgina Sweeting, a farm business consultant from Savills, and a former member of East Riding of Yorkshire FYFC, joined Ashley on the panel and highlighted the importance of future planning for young farmers.

“It’s important to discuss with your parents and grandparents from the very beginning what you want to get out of farming, if you even want to farm or if you want to do something completely different,” said Georgina. “That way, everyone knows where they stand and what’s going on. Then after that you can consider bringing in the professionals.”

AGRI Vice Chairman George Baxter from Cambridgeshire reflected on his personal situation and advised other young farmers to talk to their families about their aspirations.

“Don’t be afraid to go off and do your own thing but make sure you have the conversations with your family beforehand in case you ever want to come back. If you don’t talk about it no one knows what’s going on and it could create a disconnect between you and your family.” 

The debate, which was chaired by AGRI Chairman David Goodwin, also included a showing of the video We Really Need to Talk, which raises awareness of the need for succession planning and was recorded last year with the support of Defra and AHDB.

25 June 2019

Ideas for future competitions, training achievements and National Young Farmers’ Week were among the discussions at the June NFYFC Council meeting.  

Elected YFC members from across England and Wales represented their counties over the two days by taking part in the five steering groups on the Saturday and then meeting as a national Council on Sunday.

Each steering group is focused on an area of the Federation’s programme of work and their input helps to steer future plans.

In the Events and Marketing Steering Group new event ideas were discussed, as well as exciting plans for National Young Farmers’ Week.

The group agreed to support clubs with more information and resources in the build up to National Young Farmers’ Week, which this year will be held from 30 September to 4 October.

Lucy Stowell, Events and Markting Steering Group Chairman, said: “National Young Farmers’ Week is a fantastic opportunity for all clubs to increase their membership numbers by hosting events and promoting what they do in their local communities. By using the resources available you can help to raise the profile of your YFC and the nationwide network of YFCs available to rural young people.”


Changes to Competitions were debated in the Competitions Steering Group and Council agreed that regional finals would no longer take place for Public Speaking and Performing Arts. Feedback had shown that YFC members were finding it increasingly difficult to spare an extra weekend for competing in the regional finals and so now this eliminator round has been removed.

The Competitions Steering Group, Chaired by Dewi Parry, was also delighted to report that more than 100 YFC members had benefited from the subsidised British Wool Blue Seal shearing courses.

Dewi said: “We are really grateful to British Wool for offering this discounted training and helping YFC members to learn new skills. The Blue Seal is a requirement of the NFYFC Sheep Shearing competition, which is encouraging more of our members to receive this professional training.”

The competitions for 2020-21 were also confirmed at the meeting and they include Pantomime, Street Dancing, Jump Rope, Cube Exhibit, Auctioneering, Rounders, Mixed Rush Hockey and Mixed Dodgeball.


The AGRI Steering Group was able to report positively about recent events and resources that had been developed and delivered and of industry partnerships and representation for YFCs. AGRI’s Vice Chairman George Baxter featured in a video about crop protection to highlight the role of agronomy. George was also part of NFYFC’s panel discussion about succession that was held at Cereals in Lincolnshire earlier in June.

George said: “It has been a busy and successful few months for AGRI and we’re proud that we have been promoting young farmers’ voices in agriculture. Our next venture will be launching a new training module about succession as well as regional engagement events and new business and tenancy training. Plans are also underway for next year’s AGRI Forum.”


Thousands of YFC members have benefited from training so far in this membership year with 2,772 Curve certificates being issued – exceeding the target set by the Personal Development Steering Group.

Marcus Bailey, Chairman of the Group, said: “It’s brilliant that so many members have been taking part in NFYFC’s training programme. These are skills that will help improve people’s personal and professional lives. We hope these numbers keep rising.”

In addition, the steering group discussed the new club resource called YFC on Track which is aimed at helping clubs fulfil their charitable obligations.  This resource will be available in September.

Members of the group also discussed the YFC Travel programme and have chosen Peru, Vietnam and Ghana as group travel destinations in 2020.

Younger voices 

The Youth Forum also met during the weekend to share the views of younger members of the Federation and explore more opportunities for under 18s.

The Forum is looking at how other organisations run large scale social and residential events that cater for young people. They will also be linking up with Psych-logical to take part in a project looking at the impact of devices on young people’s wellbeing.

The Forum will also be putting forward two motions to the British Youth Council’s Annual Council Meeting in September. One motion will raise awareness of the facts around agriculture and the environment and the other will highlight the importance of including food, farming and countryside education in primary and secondary school curriculums.

Council representatives are now tasked with filtering all of the information from Council back to their counties. Please contact your County if you have not been informed of the updates from the meeting.

For more information about NFYFC Council see here. 



Designed by Kevyn Williams