National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 September 2019

Doug Avery – aka The Resilient Farmer – is touring the UK this month in partnership with The Farming Community Network (FCN) and Rural Support Northern Ireland and NFYFC has TWO tickets to giveaway.

Doug runs Bonavaree Farm in South Marlborough, New Zealand, along with his wife Wendy. He has faced numerous challenges over the years, including spiralling debts, drought and earthquakes, all of which led to him experiencing mental health issues. But in the face of all of that, the farm’s income has increased tenfold in the past 10 years and it is now one of the top performing beef and sheep enterprises in New Zealand.

To help other farmers in a similar position, Doug and Wendy set up a company called “The Resilient Farmer” aimed at promoting and assisting other farmers to make a similar journey to a more resilient future.

Doug documented his experiences in a book, also titled “The Resilient Farmer”, which was New Zealand’s largest publishers' second best-selling book in its first year of release. He has won several awards for his services to farming, the environment and mental health. He has also embarked on public speaking tours in New Zealand and Australia, as well as a hugely successful sell-out speaking tour of Scotland in 2018.

NFYFC has partnered with FCN for National Young Farmers’ Week to offer a pair of tickets to see Doug Avery on one of four dates at his amazing ‘Shift Happens’ show in the UK over the next month. There’s also an exclusive opportunity for the winners to chat to Doug after his show!

How to enter

To be in with a chance of grabbing a pair of tickets, just tell us in the comments on NFYFC’s Facebook post – before 10am on Friday 4 October – what question you would like to ask Doug.

The winner will be chosen by Doug Avery at the end of National Young Farmers’ week and announced on Friday 4 October.


The winner can choose from the following four dates/locations:

  • 15th October, 6:30pm – Harper Adams University, Newport, Shropshire
  • 16th October, 6:30pm – Rheged Centre, Penrith, Cumbria
  • 17th October, 6:30pm – Pavilions of Harrogate, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate
  • 18th October, 6:30pm – South of England Events Centre, Ardingly, West Sussex

To book tickets to see the show (which starts today 30 Sept) – visit here.


1. This prize is non-refundable. There is one pair of tickets for one of the four tour dates (listed) for Doug Avery’s Shift Happens show in the UK in October 2019.

2. The prize is for the tickets only – all other expenses, including travel, are at the winner’s expense.

3. Entrants will be required to share their full name and email address with FCN, so that tickets can be sent to them.

4. This competition is open to current YFC members who are affiliated to the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs only.

5. Closing date for entries is 10am on Fri 4 October 2019.

6. Only one entry per person

7. Entrants must leave a comment on the Facebook promotional post about what question they would like to ask Doug.

8. The best question will be chosen as the winner.

9. The winners will be informed by a Facebook message within one day of the closing date and will need to respond within 3 days or a new winner will be chosen.

10. The winners’ names will be available on request and published on NFYFC’s social media channels, the website and in any shared media FCN.

11. By participating in this competition, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

12. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

This is a paid-for promotion by 3 Donkeys.

30 September 2019

Chief Whip Mark Spencer has applauded the work of Young Farmers’ Clubs and stated their importance in rural communities in an exclusive interview for National Young Farmers’ Week 2019 (30 Sept-4 Oct), which is supported by NatWest.

It has been 20 years since Mr Spencer was the Chairman of The National Federation of Young Farmers Club’s (NFYFC) after which he embarked on a career in politics. After recently being promoted to the high profile position of Chief Whip, he agreed to share his views on the Federation with current Vice Chairman Dewi Parry from Clwyd Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs in his office in the Houses of Parliament.

Mr Spencer was clear about the role NFYFC had played in his own personal and professional development as well as its part in developing rural young people today.

“I think they’re absolutely fundamental,” said Mr Spencer when asked about the role of YFCs in rural communities. “I think young people need somewhere to go, social activities to enjoy, the ability to network and socialise with each other. Young Farmers is the perfect platform to do that in a safe environment, in a structured way. It gets you out having fun, it gets you meeting people and socialising. That’s what life’s about, isn’t it?”

As Chief Whip, Mr Spencer described his office as the “grease that makes parliament work”. His promotion comes at a critical time for the country – and he said that serving as NFYFC National Chairman gave him valuable experience in dealing with difficult situations.

Back in 1999, when Spencer became NFYFC’s Chairman, he had a demanding year in office as the Federation faced a deficit of £170,000, wide-spread redundancies and a resignation from the Chief Executive. Despite the challenges, Spencer said that being National Chairman was “an amazing experience” and one that has prepared him for his time in Government during one of the biggest changes in the UK’s history.

“I look back at that time and, while it felt pretty traumatic in the moment, it actually was a great experience and something that has prepared me for the bumpy ride that the nation is feeling at this moment in time. It’s one of the best roles I’ve ever done in my life.”

Mr Spencer is a farmer and lives in the Sherwood Constituency, near Nottingham. His farm, a former dairy farm, now grows potatoes, vegetables and produces free-range eggs, beef and lamb, which are sold at Spring Lane Farm Shop. His children are involved in their local YFC and Spencer says it was the Federation that inspired his political career. 

“I still think of myself as a farmer, I like to think that I’ve still got a little bit of farming although I don’t get a lot of time to do that, but I think Young Farmers pulled me into politics slowly.

“You sort of get drawn into young people’s issues, whether that is housing, rural transport, the issues around access into agriculture, succession planning… so you find yourself moving from thinking about rugby and socialising and drawn into those small ‘p’ political issues,” said Mr Spencer.

During the interview, Mr Spencer also shared a message of support for National Young Farmers’ Week and urged future chairmen to “make sure you leave YFC there for future generations”.

National Young Farmers' Week runs from 30 September until 4 October 2019. As supporters of the week-long event Ian Burrow, Head of Agriculture at NatWest and The Royal Bank of Scotland, said:

“It’s vital that we continue to develop and support young farmers which is why we are proud to back this year’s National Young Farmer’s Week through our established partnership with the National Young Farmers Federation. Every time I interact and work with Young Farmers, they never cease to amaze me with their innovation, determination and adaptability in the face of any challenging issue. We want to equip those that are just beginning their farming journeys with the right skills, tools and networks to succeed.”

Read more about why NatWest wanted to support National Young Farmers' Week here.  

26 September 2019

County Chairmen and Vice Chairmen will get the chance to boost their leadership skills at a dedicated training weekend in November.

The ‘Equipped’ training weekend, supported by The Henry Plumb Foundation, promises to be an engaging weekend of learning, designed to support County Chairmen and Vices in their new roles and includes key sessions and workshops.

Held at Mount Cook Adventure Centre in Derbyshire, from 22-24 November, YFC members will enjoy some outdoor team building activities as well as spend time understanding their new role.

Skills sessions will cover topics on equipping yourself for leadership, discovering your leadership style, recognising the challenges of your role and how to overcome them with peer, county and NFYFC support.

There are also ‘Tools Workshops’ that will focus on the topics of supporting, working with and managing County staff, drug awareness, inclusivity and equality in YFC and agriculture and rural affairs as your YFC USP.

NFYFC’s Chairman of Council Katie Hall said: “This is a great opportunity for chairs and vice chairs to get to grips with their new role and to network and share best practice with others in a similar role to them.

“The training is positive news for Counties too as they benefit from having a confident and skilled leader in post to help guide them through the membership year.”

For more information and to book a place if you are a County Chair or Vice Chair, visit EventBrite. 

26 September 2019

As a member of NFYFC’s Agriculture and Rural Issues (AGRI) Steering Group Greg Colebrook is often representing YFC members at meetings and discussions about the future of farming.

When did you join YFC?


What roles have you held in YFC?

Soham Club secretary and Chairman, Cambridgeshire county Chairman, Eastern Area Chairman.

Three words to describe your club?

Passionate, energetic, teamwork

Best thing you have done with YFC?

Sky Diving to raise money for Cambs YFC

Greatest achievement in YFC?

Competing in the Senior Member of the Year final, answering questions on the stage in Blackpool, with some very loud supporters, was a great feeling.

Greatest achievement outside of YFC?

Becoming a director of the business I work for – Greens Farming in Soham.

Best thing you have ever made with YFC?

A scrap metal owl that won first place at the Cambridgeshire Show!

What are your thoughts on the future of farming?

There is a lot of short-term uncertainty with the Brexit deadline looming but this is the chance to influence the future of UK agriculture, which many YFC members will benefit from. The AGRI group provides the perfect platform to voice members’ opinions to the Government and NGOs to ensure that future policies are being set with young farmers at the core. 

Who would you like to thank in YFC and why?

The friends I have made in my time in YFC have always kept it fun and keep me coming back to do more. 

26 September 2019

Helping a rural community in Nepal was a two-week YFC Travel trip with Projects Abroad that Hazel Stansfield from Lancashire will never forget.

Why did you choose a volunteering trip to Nepal?

I’ve always wanted to travel but I’ve recently bought my own house so I couldn’t go for a long period of time – the two weeks was perfect for me.  I liked the fact that it was split – it was half farming and half school work.

Where did you stay on the trip?

We stopped at the Edu Farm in Kathmandu. We worked there half of the time. It was really nice actually but it was like going back in time. It was all made of mud and bamboo huts.

What activities did you get involved in?

All sorts – it was ram-packed for the two weeks! We worked in the rice paddies – that was good fun, but there were lots of big spiders!

We got to work with the animals, so we washed the cows, and hand-milked them. We did a lot of planting, lettuce planting and lots of digging as well. And then we spent three days in schools teaching the children about agriculture in England, and also English games, and they taught us Nepalese games.

Another activity we were involved in was creating a hedge for a local school to help keep them protected when they were playing outside. This was particularly rewarding as we knew it would help keep them safe which was a nice feeling!

Then at the weekend they took us to the city of Pokhara where we did a lot of sightseeing. There was always something to do.

What was it like doing this kind of volunteering experience with YFC members? 

When we were digging and planting stuff, it gave us a lot of time to get to know each other. I was with eight other girls and they were all absolutely lovely. We did have a lot of time together to bond. At night, we’d have tea all together and then we’d just sit around together for hours and chat. It was really nice and I got really close to them – we are looking to see each other again.

We all had a lot in common. We spent a lot of time talking about Young Farmers, but we also had a lot of different things in common, hobbies and interests – we were all like-minded, so we got on really well.

What did you enjoy about your experience?

The whole two weeks was incredible, I really am grateful I got to go on the trip.

When we were working in the school, we were teaching them about farming back home. The children were amazed at how big our machinery is over here as a lot of them had never seen anything like that before. It was so rewarding teaching them and I really was sad when it was our time to go!

The locals were really happy and impressed with the work in which we carried out, which was such a lovely feeling!

Would you recommend doing a volunteering trip through YFC?

I’d definitely recommend it to anyone – it’s so good to get out and see a different country. I would never have dreamed of going to a country like Nepal for a holiday, so it was really interesting to see the culture and to see how they farm differently. It was very different to the UK.

YFC members can apply to go to Vietnam, Peru and Ghana on volunteering trips in 2020. All YFC Travel trips for 2020 are now open for applications until 1 November 2019. Find out more here. 

25 September 2019

Michelin-starred celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli will be judging the ‘dish of the day’ at The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (NFYFC) Cookery finals at this year’s Malvern Autumn Show (28 September 2019).

The flamboyant Frenchman – who has picked up four Michelin stars in his 40-year career – will choose from the top dishes that have been cooked by Young Farmers during the competition.

The national competition is being held at the start of NFYFC’s National Young Farmers’ Week (30 Sept-4 Oct) and during British Food Fortnight to celebrate the best of British produce and producers.   

Masterchef finalist and Chocolatier Ben Axford will be joined by Jay Halford – an experienced chef who caters for events and businesses all over the world – to mark the teams’ overall performances throughout the day. The competition includes marks for practical cookery skills, appropriate clothing, display and interpretation of the theme as well as taste.

While Ben and Jay will choose the overall first, second and third place winners – they will ask Jean-Christophe to choose the ‘dish of the day’ from a selection of six finalists.

Teams consist of three YFC members and they will have just one hour to prepare, cook and display four courses, including at least one sweet course and one savoury course, that would be fit for a Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) Gala Dinner. As part of the competition, teams must also promote a rare or native breed in their displays as listed in the RBST Watchlist 2018-19 and RBST Conservation Coordinator Hannah Knowles will also award a certificate for the best promotion of RBST within a display.

YFC members have competed in County and Area rounds to make it through to the national final – all coming up with innovative ideas to impress the judges. It is a difficult challenge as each team will only have two butane gas stoves to cook on.

NFYFC’s Chairman Katie Hall said:

“We are so excited that Jean-Christophe Novelli has agreed to judge the dish of the day at NFYFC’s national Cookery finals. This will be such a reward for all the hard work of our Young Farmers competing in the final. It’s also an amazing way to start National Young Farmers’ Week, which celebrates the contribution YFCs make to their rural communities and the countryside.”

Alongside his restaurant empire, Jean-Christophe also runs a renowned cooking academy from his Hertfordshire home. He came to the UK in 1983 and went on to become head chef at Keith Floyd’s Maltster’s Arms restaurant in Devon before launching his own restaurants in London in 1996.

The aim of NFYFC’s national cookery competition is to provide an opportunity for YFC members to demonstrate their ability at preparing and cooking a nutritional meal whilst adhering to health and safety and food hygiene procedures.

YFC members will be cooking in the Wye Hall at the Three Counties Showground at the Malvern Autumn Show from 10am on Saturday 28 September 2019. 


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