National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

16 July 2019

Finding your rhythm is one of the essentials for being a successful auctioneer says the winner of NFYFC’s first ever auctioneering competition, sponsored by SAI Global.

Daniel Lynn, 21, from Cambo YFC in Northumberland, was awarded the trophy for being the best auctioneer at NFYFC’s national final. Despite being a semi-professional auctioneer at Darlington Farmers Auction Market, where he can sell up to 2,000 sheep in a week, Daniel was still surprised to win.

“It was a bit of a shock,” he said after he found out he was a winner during the Competitions Day awards ceremony in Staffordshire.  “I was grinning like a Cheshire cat! I couldn’t wait to tell everyone as I’d been given a lot of support.”

Daniel had initially set out to have a career in the army after he left school but just before his 18th birthday, after completing army training, he decided that he wanted to return to agriculture.

“I missed farming. I joined Cambo YFC when I was 14 years old and while training in the army, I still used to come back for rally days and so on. I had grown up on farms and I just wanted to get back to doing something with agriculture.”

After a successful interview at Darlington Market to be a trainee auctioneer, Daniel discovered a passion for selling. Despite being terrified the first time he got up to sell, he now loves the adrenaline of being in the box on market days.

“I have been stood in the box for three hours constantly selling – you get an adrenaline rush and you don’t want to get out!”

Although becoming an auctioneer has improved Daniel’s confidence, he confesses that the YFC competition rounds have been nerve wracking.

“It’s different getting up in front of other YFC members – even though this is my day job. I could barely speak before the national final I was so nervous.

“The key is to find your rhythm – everyone sells things differently.”

Daniel is currently in the second year of a Livestock Auctioneering and Management degree at Harper Adams, which will improve his skills in on farm valuations and basic animal welfare. He also owns 50 breeding sheep of his own, which he keeps on a friend’s farm.

“I am always practising my selling,” said Daniel. “I record all of my sales at market and listen to them on the way home to see where I made mistakes. It’s a fast-paced job but I love it.”

SAI Global, sponsored the competition, and Agriculture Manager Robin Levin said the company was delighted to support a competition that taught key skills.

“The ability to value something and the ability to sell it and try and maximise that value for people is so important in all aspects of farming, and in life.

“SAI Global are really proud to be part of the auctioneering competition and to help get it off the ground for Young Farmers. We hope people take it on board and prove to be successful later on in life.”

Robin is a former member (and past president) of Wormleighton YFC in Warwickshire and says the skills he learnt through the competitions programme have supported his career. 

“Young Farmers always meant a great deal to me. All of the competitions I have been involved in have stood me in great stead in later life. At SAI Global in my role heading up the Agricultural Technical team means I am using the skills from my days as a Young Farmer – ie.  presenting, debating, public speaking, crops & stock judging  etc – all really helpful.” 

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.  


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