National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

16 July 2019

An opportunity to represent YFC at The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) Conference was snapped up by Nia Borsey, a Graduate Planner at Fisher German.

Why did you want to go to the conference?

I applied for the opportunity to attend CAAV’s Conference and AGM in June as I knew it would be an excellent opportunity and an insight into the workings of CAAV.

Fisher German (my employer) are actively involved with CAAV, and in the future I would like the opportunity to take my CAAV exams. Attendance was useful for me and to make contacts with other valuers (I actually bumped into a few of my colleagues at the event!)

What happened at the conference?

The day involved various talks from academics at Harper Adams and Keele Universities, industry professionals and those who work on a daily basis in the agricultural sector.

The most inspiring talk and one which I found engaging came from Philip Maddocks and how his business, PDM Produce Ltd, had grown over the past couple of decades. It is now one of the UK’s leading specialist lettuce and baby leaf growers and processors. The ambition, passion and drive they have for the business and its innovation is really encouraging for the sector.

The professional update from Jeremey Moody, Secretary of CAAV, finished the Conference prior to the AGM beginning, along with an electronic communications code update from Kate Russell and a ‘back to the future’ Post-Brexit farm support session from Alice De Soer.

What did you find most useful?

These updates from CAAV were useful in understanding the organisation and how the professional body supports its members. The Post-Brexit talk was very useful for me to understand the proposed new system of Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) that will replace the British Payment Scheme (BPS).

The whole event was a good learning opportunity, which additionally contributed to useful CPD. I would like to thank NFYFC for allowing me to represent the organisation for the day

Representing NFYFC at NFU Council

Kate Wainwright from Derbyshire FYFC currently represents YFC members at NFU Council meetings and reports back from the June meeting.

Who was at the meeting?

We had some interesting discussions with Tony Juniper from Natural England and Chairman of the HSE Rick Brunt who were both very keen to listen to the NFU’s views.

Did you talk about YFC?

The evening is always a great networking opportunity and I have been lucky enough to be seated next to someone different each time I have attended. This time I was sat next to Guy Smith, Vice President of the NFU and we had some brilliant discussions about the educational work NFYFC is doing, which complements NFU’s work in this area.

Guy was pleased that NFYFC are represented at these meetings and is keen to keep links between the two organisations strong.

Is it good for YFC to be part of this?

It’s a great opportunity to go and represent all YFC members. If any one ever wants anything discussing or raising please do get in touch before the next meeting via Sarah Palmer.

A more detailed report will be available via the AGRI steering group minutes in October 

16 July 2019

As the winner of Junior Member of the Year 18–year-old Alaw Jones believes the organisation has given her the skills and support to succeed. Alaw will be studying Journalism and Welsh at Cardiff University from September but says she’ll still pop back to support Felinfach YFC in Ceredigion.

When did you join YFC?

I joined Felinfach YFC back in 2012 and have held quite a few roles in the club since then. I am also a member of the Youth Forum in Wales.

In our community, YFC is very strong. Once you come of age, it’s something that everyone joins. The fact there’s so many opportunities and experiences to benefit from the YFC is one of the main reasons I joined. I am not from a farming family but I am from a very strong farming community. It’s very much the backbone of our community in Felinfach.

Three words to describe your club?

Young, enthusiastic and friendly.

We’re the biggest club in Ceredigion at the moment with nearly 60 members. It’s a very young club. We have a lot of younger members from 12-15 years old.

Best thing you have done with YFC?

There are so many! I do love competing at County level at the Eisteddfod but the best thing is probably competing at Junior Member of the Year. I wasn’t expecting to win at Ceredigion so to then win at Wales and then national was a great experience. I am very grateful for it.

It’s great to be part of Ceredigion and Wales but to know the organisation broadens out to a national level as well is fantastic. I will definitely look forward to joining the national Youth Forum now.

Greatest achievement in YFC?

On a club level I was very proud to be a part of Felinfach YFC when we won the Eisteddfod this year but on a more personal level, winning the Junior Member of the Year at a national level was fantastic.

I was also proud to be part of an initiative in Ceredigion to boost our membership numbers. We introduced Young Ambassadors within every school in Ceredigion to help attract new YFC members. As an ambassador I did presentations about YFC throughout the year and also did activities every Wednesday to promote the Welsh language and YFC.

Greatest achievement outside of YFC?

Being elected as Head Girl for my school last year. I wanted to try and raise some money for the school to give back to them for the positive experience I’d received. I organised our first ever Christmas Fair and managed to raise £3,600 for the school. Along with school teachers and other officials I also helped to organise a concert for elderly people in Aberaeron and we performed pieces from our school Eisteddfod.

Has YFC helped you in your studies?

YFC has 100% helped me. The public speaking competitions have definitely helped– I would never have been able to compete on a national level or become head girl without those skills.

I’ve held jobs within YFC such as secretary, press reporter, chairperson – and you have to be organised, punctual and independent. I have definitely developed a range of skills that I will keep developing.

Best thing you have ever made with YFC?

I was quite proud of a cupcake I decorated for a competition we ran in club! We had someone coming in and I didn’t realise it would be as good. It was just a cupcake but then we had to do the icing and I did a tractor. I just cut it out myself – no cutters used – and I won!

Who would you like to thank in YFC and why?

I would like to thank Felinfach YFC as a whole as they have given me so many opportunities and we all support each other. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the support and the friends there. I feel part of a family.

I would also like to thank Ceredigion’s County Organiser Anne Jones for pushing me forward and supporting me on a Ceredigion level – and I think she’s absolutely fantastic at her job!

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

16 July 2019

The promise of an armchair encouraged three junior members of Culm Valley YFC in Devon to strive for the winning position at the national final of Junior Reading.

Zara Maynard, Daisy Cligg and Lauren Parkhouse read a passage from The Book Thief and said their task master trainer Jill Persey had promised them a new armchair each if they won.

The girls had been given an extra chair at their club meetings after winning the South West Area round and Jill said she would get them each an armchair if they won the national final.

“We’ve been practising for the last two weeks 24/7,” said Daisy. “We read from the Book Thief and it was quite a hard book.”

It was the first time all three of the team had been to a national final and they said despite it being a little “overwhelming,” at first, they had enjoyed the day.

“It was nerve-wracking, and we met a lot of new people but it was really good,” said Zara who was eager to encourage other younger members to enter the competition. “Try your best and work hard,” she advised those who were considering entering the competition next year.

Yorkshire A and Montgomery both came joint second in the competition.

The Junior Reading competition was one of a range of Public Speaking contests that ran throughout Competitions Day.

Devon also picked up the Best Chairman award for the Junior Speaking, which was won by Rachel Stevens. Jacob Ryder from Yorkshire A won the Best Speaker and Emily Davies from Radnor won the Best Vote of Thanks.

It was a triple win for Brecknock FYFC in the Brainstrust competition as they picked up the team trophy as well as Best Chairman (Elin Harvard) and Best Panelist (Raiff Devlin).

In After Dinner Speaking Ceredigion won the overall trophy and team member Carwyn Blayney won the Best Speaker. 

Amanda Watson from Norfolk won the Situations Vacant competition.

16 July 2019

Top shot Toby Page has won the national final of NFYFC’s Clay Pigeon Shooting competition 2019, sponsored by The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).

His score of 47 out of 50 was enough to see him walk away with the top overall prize, as well as winning the 26 and under category. Toby won a year’s subscription to Field Sports magazine as well as The Game Fair Tickets and prize money from Oakedge Shooting Ground, where the competition was hosted.

Abi West from Lincolnshire won the ladies’ category with 40.5 and Sydney Simpson from Cumbria A and James Johnson from Shropshire A shared top spot in the under-17s with 43. They all won The Game Fair tickets as well as prize money from Oakedge too.

Toby, from Wormleighton YFC and representing Warwickshire, said he was delighted to have won – but was disappointed with the three that he missed.

“I’m pretty chuffed,” he said. “I knew I’d need to shoot well to do it.”

Toby has been shooting for 13 years, since his dad bought him his first gun when he was 12. He shoots regularly in local activities and at the occasional charity competition.

“I don’t enter any serious competitions – it’s for fun rather than competitive, but I do take it seriously.”

This was the second year that BASC has supported NFYFC’s Clay Pigeon Shooting competition and the sponsors were impressed with the standard of competitors.

Hannah Davies from BASC said: "We are very proud to support this event once again, the skill and enthusiasm displayed by the young farmers as our next generation of shooters is very encouraging.”

16 July 2019

Two upbeat and entertaining performances from Devon wowed the crowds and the judges during Competitions Day, earning a double win for the County in the Choir and Ballroom Dancing competitions.

The Haldon YFC Choir was made up of members from six different clubs within the Haldon group in mid-Devon. The team compiled their own arrangements and performed Hold Back the River by James Bay and A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman.

Fran Mobbs, who performed with the winning Choir, said: “We have been practising since January with a few ups and downs along the way – people having to leave or going off on holiday – but I think in the end we have obviously put enough work in. None of us were singers before we got involved in this competition.”

Devon’s united voices beat six other teams to the winning position, with Staffordshire and Brecknock coming second and third respectively.

One Choir in the finals from Cumbria FYFC said that singing had been good for their mental health and the Devon team agreed.

“I think it has helped us all come together,” said Fran. “We’re from different clubs so it’s just really lovely to spend some time together each week. It’s got new and younger members involved as well and it’s a fun thing to do and that’s got to be good for your mental health.”

Fellow choir member Vicki Griffiths said: “It definitely lifts the spirits just to all sing together and have a laugh when something goes terribly wrong.”

From vocal talents to fancy footwork – Devon’s winning streak continued into the Ballroom Dancing competition, despite a technical glitch with the music. The team were asked to perform their routine again after half of it was danced in silence when their music went off.

Dressed in bright blue and swirling rainbow umbrellas, the County performed a show-stopping routine that impressed the judges Neil Lunt, a fellow and examiner for the International Dance Teacher Association and Rachel Almond who runs a dance studio on the outskirts of Manchester.

The dance team was made up of members from Withleigh YFC – a club celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.

Team member Philip Palfrey said: “We’re over the moon. We’ve been practising since the end of September last year so to come this far is a great achievement and we’re very proud. None of us have ever done any type of dancing before – we have entered YFC dancing competitions but never got this far.”

One of the dance team had to attend her sister’s wedding on the day of the competition, so fellow club member Sophie Pratt stood in for her.

“I’m pleased that I didn’t let the team down,” said Sophie. “We’re going back to the wedding to celebrate tonight.”

To watch all of the Ballroom Dancing or Choir performances, see the playlists on YouTube.  

16 July 2019

A fantastic summer of YFC sport came to a climax last weekend with the NFYFC Sports Championships.

Athletic young farmers competed in netball, touch rugby and rounders at Stafford Grammar School.

Emma Stone, from Leighton Buzzard YFC, was part of the victorious Bedfordshire team that won the netball competition.

She said: “We were absolutely delighted to have our names on that huge trophy again for a second year! Especially as three of our members are in their final year of YFC and we all just wanted to do it them, as we knew we might not get the opportunity again.

“After winning Eastern Area we were confident, although one of our best players – who used to play u18 National League Basketball – was unsure on whether he’d be able to attend due to work commitments. He was bribed and blackmailed into playing, as frankly we knew we wouldn’t win without him!”

As well as their basketball star, the Bedfordshire side – who are all from Leighton Buzzard YFC and Woburn YFC – also have five regular netball players.

The sporty Bedfordshire team also won last year’s Ultimate Frisbee competition and came second in netball the year before.

But they’re not finished yet – after picking up the trophy on Sunday, they went straight back to Tug of War training, ready for next month’s national competition at Tenbury.

In the Touch Rugby event, Brecknock came from behind to win in the final. Connor Grannell from Troedrhiwdalar YFC said: “It was quite a hard match – we went down at the start but we upped the pace and I think our fitness had them in the end.

“It was our first year at national. We all just went for a bit of fun – we weren’t taking it too seriously. It was a good day, the weather was nice and all the other teams were really friendly too.”

Yorkshire A won the Rounders event. Jacob Ryder, from Farnley Estate YFC, said: “We didn’t expect to win it because it wasn’t as strong a team as when we won it two years ago. We just went out there to try our best.”

The team also won last year’s Dodgeball competition, so they know what it takes to win. “We’re quite a sporty club,” said Jacob. 


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