National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 August 2019

A long-haul adventure with YFC Travel gave 21-year old Amanda Watson from County Durham the chance to see ‘real’ rural life in Canada when she stayed in Saskatchewan on a Canada 4-H exchange. 

How did you find staying with a host family in Canada?

Luckily for me I had already hosted Doug – who is a member of Canada 4-H (Canada’s equivalent of YFC) – and so I knew him before I flew out there. Doug toured the UK and stayed with different Young Farmers over here, whereas I stayed on his Grandparents’ farm for three weeks.

I got to know his family and went shooting with one of his brothers and ice skating with the other one who was into ice hockey. 

They kept calling me their British daughter and they treated me like one of the family.

Did you enjoy hosting someone in the UK?

Yes – I found I saw bits of my own local area that I normally wouldn’t bother to go and see. There’s an old mine I have driven past for years and I’ve never been, so I took Doug to see it when he was here. I also visited a lot of local farms I hadn’t seen for a while.

What did you do while you were in Canada?

We visited a few museums and looked at the history of the country. I went in a small aircraft and flew over the area where Doug lives. I also went to Alberta and Edmonton. I went riding a lot, visited a range of farms, including beekeeping, (apiculture) and went to a rodeo.

After I’d finished my three weeks with Doug I met up with my brother, my boyfriend and one of my best friends in Calgary. We drove over to Vancouver and I extended my trip for a further two weeks outside of YFC. It meant I saw two other provinces while I was there.

Did you learn more about the way they farm?

My family have an upland beef and sheep farm and so it was interesting to see the large farm where Doug lives as they have suckler and beef cows too. The proportions of farms over there are very different. In this country you think you have a decent farm if it’s 600 acres but in Canada they think nothing of 2,000 acres.

It was extremely interesting to see the differences in production systems on farms in Saskatchewan as they have much harsher winters than in England. Most cattle are never housed over winter and kept outside which I found interesting in comparison to the UK. Farmers in Canada have fewer regulations and subsidies, which also affects the management of many farms.

Did you find out more about Canada 4-H?

They don’t generally meet over the summer but I did meet up with one group for a Wiener Roast (cooking hot dogs on a camp fire). They work differently to YFC but they have a common goal. Our club meetings are for all ages and activities but in Canada they are separated into group meetings focused on specific competitions. So people who are interested in showing beef that year will all meet together and there will be another group for horse showing and so on. Occasionally they will all meet up.

They have groups for CV building, which I thought was a good idea to take back to my club. You get so much from YFC to put on to your CV but a lot of people don’t have CVs until they leave school.

There are fewer social events (including balls etc) in Canada 4-H and there is no tolerance for alcohol.

Would you recommend the trip?

It was all a really good experience. Even getting on a plane on your own is a good confidence booster when you’ve not been so far away from home before.

It only cost around £1500 for the whole trip and I got £100 from the Young Farmers Ambassadors (YFA) as well.

It was my first time going on a YFC Travel trip and I’d quite like to apply for another trip now. If you want to go away from home for a significant period of time, it’s an excellent opportunity.

What’s the benefit of travelling with YFC?

You’re well supported and you’re with like-minded people. It feels like a safe environment where everyone is willing to show and teach you new things whilst learning from you too.

The people you’re staying with also know what’s best in the area. If you go as a tourist, you never really know what’s there until you get there, whereas your hosts know you’re coming and have planned everything. You get to do things you would never experience as a general tourist.

*New trips for the YFC Travel programme in 2020 are now open for applications and the deadline for applying is 1 November 2019. 

Thank you to the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust for their support of the YFC Travel programme. 

29 August 2019

A new succession training module, developed by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and succession experts, is now available for the new membership year.  

The session, called Ready and Resilient, has been devised with Savills and Siân Bushell for Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) to include in their new 2019-20 club programmes.

The course, which has been designed to run during a club meeting and was piloted earlier this year with young farmers (pictured right), aims to highlight:

  • the concept of succession planning
  • the part communication plays
  • the process and skills needed to begin the conversation
  • the positive effects of succession planning within a variety of situations
  • the consequences of inadequate succession planning 

Charles Skelton, Food and Farming Consultant for Savills in Lincoln, said: “We want to help the younger generation of farmers to start a succession conversation. Often the whole topic seems too complicated and difficult to sort out so people ignore it, which leads to problems. Understanding, unpacking and talking about succession is a great start.”

The module, which has been supported by Defra and is part of NFYFC’s Curve training, complements the succession video and guide that were launched last year. The short film – We Really Need to Talk – was aimed at encouraging people to start thinking and talking about succession and was narrated by Siân Bushell from Siân Bushell Associates. The film showed a family struggling to communicate about the farming business and gave advice on how to resolve these issues. 

NFYFC’s Agriculture and Rural Issues Chairman David Goodwin said:

“Many young farmers are facing difficult discussions with their families and this training module gives a great insight to why the topic is so important, what can happen if the subject isn’t broached and also how it applies to any business or even a YFC.

“This is just part of a suite of resources that we have created for our members which includes videos, guides and training.  We can’t emphasise the importance of communication enough for tackling succession issues.  It’s a new YFC year and timely to consider some of the tough topics that will be so necessary during what’s become quite uncertain times.”

For more information about Ready and Resilient and the downloadable guide, visit:

29 August 2019

With only FOUR weeks to go until National Young Farmers' Week 2019, NFYFC has created a new toolkit to help YFC members, clubs, counties and supporters get the most out of the week.

The toolkit is packed with graphics, sample social media posts and PR support to help everyone promote YFC and their connections to it.

The members’ pack also includes a section all about hosting new members’ nights with handy tips and advice for making sure yours event goes off without a hitch.

National Young Farmers’ Week, which is sponsored by NatWest for a second year, runs from 30 September until 4 October and aims to promote YFCs on a wider scale and encourage new people to join their local club.

YFCs are encouraged to use the hashtag #NationalYoungFarmersWeek and share their posts on social media – tagging @NFYFC and @NatWest – to help reach more people.

This year the week launches with a #GiveitSomeYFCWelly Day, where YFC members are asked to do just one thing to help promote YFC to a new audience. This could involve wearing your club shirt to work or giving a talk in school about your club.

There’s also the chance for YFCs to win £300, courtesy of NatWest, by taking part in a Meme competition. Deadline for entries 16 September so hurry if you want to try and win some cash for your club. More details here.

The week will include stories from YFC members and be focused on the themes of Food and Farming, Environment and the Countryside, Rural Skills and Community.

For more information about the week and to download a copy of the toolkit, visit here. 

26 August 2019

NFYFC is searching for YFC members to represent their counties' views on agricultural and rural issues. 

This role plays a key part in the effectiveness of ensuring that all YFC members’ voices are heard and should be enjoyable and fulfilling for anyone who has an interest in agriculture and rural issues.

What does this involve?

NFYFC invites your county office to nominate a county ‘AGRI link’ representative for the new YFC year in September who has the opportunity to:

  • Liaise directly with NFYFC’s Agriculture & Rural Issues (AGRI) department
  • Liaise with your AGRI Area representative
  • Keep in touch with agricultural and rural issues in your county
  • Instigate (with help from NFYFC/county staff & officers) agricultural/rural discussion groups or events
  • Link directly with relevant agricultural/rural organisations at a county level and find ideas and contacts within the NFYFC Source or AGRI page of the website.
  • Discuss national steering group work throughout your county and gain feedback from members
  • Feedback information, ideas and concerns to NFYFC   
  • Take part in NFYFC research for topics concerning young people and rural life
  • Be aware of training, resources and future events for YFC members

In return, AGRI members and staff will endeavour to:

  • Provide input to national and regional events to help AGRI link representatives in their roles
  • Supply information to link representatives to support their activities
  • Support link representatives with rural and agricultural discussion groups, workshops or training
  • Assist with relevant research projects pertinent for young people and rural life

Contact AGRI Manager Sarah Palmer on 024 76 857213 or email for further information or advice.

15 August 2019

Hundreds of rural young people from across Europe will be uniting in Cirencester from 18-25 August 2019 for Rural Youth Europe’s (RYE) European Rally, which is being hosted by NFYFC.

This year’s rally has the theme of Sharing and Caring in a Democratic and Inclusive European Community. The week-long event will involve workshops and sessions at the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), with a specific focus on mental wellbeing and inspiring healthy rural communities.

A team of NFYFC members are attending the conference and will share knowledge and learn more about different European cultures.

The event, which has been funded by the Erasmus+ programme, will help participants exchange creative ideas, methods and activities to positively combat the stigma around mental health.

Delegates will also explore the democracies of each country and youth organisation – and linking that to community life, pressures, methods of creating strategies/policies and how they are disseminated.

The RYE Rally team have set up social media channels for people to follow the events throughout the week. You can follow updates on Instagram and Facebook at @ryeuroperally 

15 August 2019

They might be nearly 200 miles apart - but when a crisis hits, distance is no object for YFCs.

After flooding in Reeth in August, members of Newport Pagnell YFC in Buckinghamshire Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs collected forage for farmers in the area, organised a lorry and travelled the 200 miles to deliver it!

The club finally met up with members from Reeth YFC in Yorkshire today too after making the forage donation arrangements with them on the phone.

Newport Pagnell YFC's President Kirsty Singer said: "So lovely to see two clubs so far away from each other getting together. I am a very proud president."

The charity Forage Aid that is supporting farmers during the recent flooding crisis has thanked YFCs for their invaluable support and says its current action plan will ensure that the goodwill of YFC members and their hard work provides maximum benefit to those affected.

Now that livestock safety has been secured, a storage and future distribution system for forage will be put into action.

To ensure that Forage Aid is not overwhelmed by YFCs’ generosity, please use the following weblink to pledge your intended support or use the Forage Aid contacts: 07967 219991 or email Forage Aid.

The charity will then be able to log, plan and contact you to ensure that they can successfully co-ordinate future work


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