National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

26 November 2019

After nearly 60 years, members of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs finally brought home the John Spear trophy after a joint win with Herefordshire at the national finals of stockjudging at the English Winter Fair, sponsored by Rutland Electric Fencing.

It was 1961 when YFC members from Yorkshire last won the overall trophy for the most points earned in both lamb and beef live and carcase stockjudging. This year, they claimed their victory alongside Herefordshire FYFC who scored the same amount of points.

Two brothers Charlie and Jacob from Farnley Estate YFC were delighted to be in the winning Yorkshire team with Jack Henshaw and Christine Lofthouse-Pratt.

“The reaction from the County was amazing because we haven’t won it for such a long time,” said Charlie, 12, who hasn’t done any formal training but picked up tips from his dad on the family farm and from going to auctions with his Grandad. “It was good as my brother was in the same team. My dad was impressed – he won a beef trophy when he was in YFC.”

Charlie, who has been in the national finals once before, encouraged other younger members to have a go at the competition too.   

“Don’t be scared – just give it a go. It was brilliant being at the national final. I met lots of members from other counties too and have made some new friends I’ll keep in touch with.”

Competition judges said the standard this year was impressive but reminded everyone to consult AHDB books and video guides prior to the competition.

Ed Albutt, judge of the lamb stockjudging, said: There was a lot of competent young farmers there and they represented themselves really well.

“The best competitors went through each carcase from the most expensive end to the cheap end. They talked for about 20 seconds and mentioned each point on each carcase. They didn’t just talk about the first two and forget the last two.

“My advice would be to look at the AHDB stockjudging books and videos as that will give YFC members the terminology and the extra points to look at on the carcase and ultimately improve their reasons,” added Ed.

Gareth Lewis from Dunbia judged the beef categories and was also impressed with the standard of competitors. He said: “A very talented bunch with great potential and a good understanding of the needs and requirements for the future of the agricultural industry.”

The national competition, which is sponsored by Rutland Electric Fencing, is also supported by AHDB and hosted by the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society. Carcases were provided by Bradshaws and lambs from Madders & Johnson. Exhibitors at the English Winter Fair kindly loaned their stock for the competition too.

To see all the results from the NFYFC finals at the English Winter Fair, visit here.

26 November 2019

A chance to learn ways to better connect food producers with the general population is on the cards for two YFC members who have been chosen to represent NFYFC at the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) in January.

Emily Smith from Buxton YFC in Derbyshire (pictured) and Georgina Radmore from Clunderwen YFC in Pembrokeshire will both attend the conference after being awarded an NFYFC scholarship by the Worshipful Company of Farmers.

Emily will join 50 scholars aged between 22 and 30 at the conference in January as part of the OFC Scholars Programme, sponsored by McDonald’s. The OFC Scholars programme aims to provide the next generation with an opportunity to experience the UK’s leading agricultural conference and to share their views and ideas.

Scholars take part in an orientation day on 7 November where they can meet other scholars and hear how they can take an active role in the conference. 

This year’s OFC theme, Growing a Healthy Society, is all about strengthening the relationship between the population, the land and the people who produce the nation’s food.

During the event, the scholars will attend fringe events with key industry figures, listen to inspirational speakers, hear from Government officials and network with others from across the sector.

Every year, the Worshipful Company of Farmers (WCF) supports two YFC members to attend the conference – and any YFC member can apply. WCF selectors were pleased to see a range of strong applications, but two stood out.

Emily is in her final year at Harper Adams University and was brought up on a beef suckler herd and sheep farm in Derbyshire. Her scholarship application highlighted how keen she is to help show how national and global agricultural issues can affect day-to-day life on the farm.

“Farmers can get stuck in a bubble. I want to help make a difference and improve the agricultural industry for all types of farmers and believe that education is so important to achieve this.

“It will be an honour to represent NFYFC at the Oxford Farming Conference, having been in YFC since the age of 11. The opportunity to listen to and get involved in debates and discussions with like-minded people about current issues will be an incredible experience.”

Education is also important to fellow scholar Georgina, a Harper Adams graduate and agricultural lecturer at Coleg Sir Gar.

“I hope what I learn at the OFC will support my lecturing, inspire my students and help me build contacts to ultimately support the college and young people within it.

“I will produce a report on my findings that can be referred to by YFC members as well as students within my work,” said Georgina who is an active YFC member in her club and county, including being a former rural affairs secretary for Pembrokeshire FYFC.

WCF selectors commented that both applications detailed the benefit they thought they would derive from their experience as conference scholars and appeared keen to share their experience and learning, post-event, with others.

The Oxford Farming Conference takes place between 7-9 January and a full conference ticket costs £325+ VAT. For more information about the event, visit the website.

18 November 2019

For the first time in its history, the Went Valley district Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) winter rally didn’t go ahead. Instead, members donned waterproofs and shifted over 60 tonnes of rubbish to help the flood-stricken residents of Fishlake.

Lewis Marshall, chairman of the Went Valley district of young farmers, which is made up of clubs in Doncaster, Pontefract and Selby, said the suffering of local residents had made it impossible to continue with the day of competitions and fun.

“What we’ve got is plenty of vehicles and trailers and strong young people,” explained Lewis, whose mum cooked breakfast for the helpers in Sykehouse Village Hall - which had already been booked for the cancelled rally.

“We aren’t the biggest of clubs but there were about 35 of us and we split into groups, going around collecting rubbish to fill multiple 14-ton skips and 15-ton bin lorries.

“We’d all seen the pictures on the news but until you are actually there in real-life you have no idea of the devastation. There were fridges in fields, cars in ditches. It was very humbling to feel we’d made a difference. Facebook has been full of residents thanking us and the council has gone from being wary of us arriving to so grateful for all that we got done and the money we will have saved them.”

The young farmers’ efforts were featured on local ITV television news programme Calendar. Several businesses made donations of cleaning equipment, food and drinks, including workwear company Arco which gave full protective equipment kits of body suits, goggles and gloves.

Georgina Fort, chairman of Yorkshire FYFC, added her praise:

“We were all devastated to see on the news the damage the rainfall has done to South Yorkshire,” she said. “Farming has been hit hard by the weather once again.

“In true farming spirit the area is pulling together and it is tremendous to see that YFC members put others first and cancelled plans for their winter rally and got together to help those that needed help.”

Young farmers won national praise earlier in the year when they helped with the clear-up after the floods in the Yorkshire Dales. 

18 November 2019

Just 5% of adults think that young people today are very likely to take part in social action (activities to make a positive difference to others) and only 4% selected “selfless” from a list of adjectives to describe young people today.

In reality, 60% of young people take action to help other people or the environment every year, and 74% of them care about contributing to make the world a better place.

As our society faces a number of pressing challenges, we cannot afford to overlook young people’s desire to contribute towards making our country a better place.

That’s why NFYFC, as a partner of the #iwill campaign, is celebrating #iwill Week, 18-24th November. We believe young people have the skills, energy and ideas to tackle society’s toughest challenges today, and we’re giving them the opportunities to do so.

#iwill Week is an opportunity to shout about the positive change young people are creating in communities across the country, as volunteers, mentors, campaigners - and much more. It’s also a chance to shine a spotlight on organisations that are empowering and supporting young people to take action on issues they care about.

Yet it’s also a chance to recognise that we need to do more across society to ensure that every young person, regardless of their background, is able to make a difference and have their voice heard.

At NFYFC, we’re celebrating #iwill Week by promoting the fantastic work YFC members do to run their clubs and showcasing the work they are doing to safeguard the environment for the next generation.

NFYFC's Chairman of Council Katie Hall said: “Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) are run by their members for their members – giving young people an opportunity to take on active roles to support their club’s and county’s development. There are 598 YFC club chairmen across England and Wales who are all voluntarily leading their clubs, ensuring they meet their charitable obligations and inspiring rural young people.

“NFYFC is proud to be an #iwill partner and to show that young people are making a massive difference to local communities across the country. As part of our Protect Your Future campaign YFCs are planting more than 9,000 sapling trees in local communities to help improve the environment and combat climate change. #iwill Week is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the amazing achievements of young people.”

Dr Rania Marandos, CEO of Step Up to Serve, the charity that coordinates the #iwill campaign says: “When young people are empowered, and believe they can make a difference, the sense of possibility they bring to communities is incredible. This is why the #iwill campaign started in 2013. It has since become a powerful cross-sector movement of over 1,000 organisations and young people. #iwill Week celebrates the action they are taking together to transform the role young people play in society, as leaders of the present not just leaders of the future.”

Young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow. They have the energy, skills and ideas to change society and the environment for a better today. That's why the #iwill campaign, comprised of over 1,000 organisations from across the UK, including NFYFC, aims to make participation in social action the norm for young people aged 10 to 20. 

The campaign was launched in November 2013 by HRH The Prince of Wales with cross party support, which it still maintains.


1. Royal Society of the Arts, (2018), Teenagency: How Young People Are Changing the World

2. Ipsos Mori, National Youth Social Action Survey 2018

13 November 2019

Members of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) from across England and Wales are planting more than 9,000 trees over the next two months to help in the fight against climate change.

Sixty YFCs, involving members aged 10 to 26, will be involved in the planting of the sapling trees, supplied by The Woodland Trust, with many YFCs aiming to plant a tree per member.

The project is part of a national YFC initiative called #ProtectYourFuture, launched by YFC members earlier in the year. Young farmers chose to plant as many trees as possible as their contribution to making a positive impact on the environment for the next generation.

The campaign was launched by NFYFC earlier in the year and supports the Government’s Year of Green Action.

NFYFC’s Chairman Katie Hall will be planting 735 sapling trees in Gloucestershire on 16 November 2019 with support from local YFC members, Gloucestershire NFU and the Council.

Katie Hall said: “YFCs ordered sapling trees from The Woodland Trust earlier in the year, so it’s amazing that 60 of our clubs are now receiving the packs and starting to plant the trees.

“This year YFCs have been focusing on ways to improve the environment through our Protect Your Future campaign and it’s great to see so many of our members making a positive impact on their local environment. The trees are a real symbol of hope for the next generation.”

The thousands of sapling trees have been supplied by The Woodland Trust for YFCs to plant across the UK.

John Tucker, Director of Woodland Outreach at The Woodland Trust, said:

“The Woodland Trust is delighted to be working with NFYFC to get so many trees in the ground across the country. Trees play a vital role in our lives. They provide shelter and shade, protect our soils, filtrate our water, provide a home for wildlife, add value to our streets and give us a place to relax and unwind.

“They play a pivotal role in the fight against climate change, cleaning our air, storing carbon and producing oxygen, and that’s why we need them like never before. We hope as many people as possible will follow the example of the young farmers up and down the country, plant trees and dig in for all our futures.”

The government launched its 25 year environmental plan in 2019 and started with a Year of Green Action driven by the #iwill4nature campaign.

The #iwill campaign, Defra, and a group of 25 environment and youth-sector partners want to keep young people at the heart of environmental social action. NFYFC is one of the 25 partner organisations that make up the Environmental Steering group of the #iwill campaign.

For further information about the #ProtectYourFuture project visit here

11 November 2019

NFYFC is calling on its thousands of members, aged 10-26, to think about the impact of their words and actions this Anti Bullying Week.

This recommendation is just one of many suggested by young people after a survey by the Anti-Bullying Alliance revealed 24% of children surveyed said they are bullied once a week or more.

One of the key messages of Anti Bullying Week, of which NFYFC has pledged to support, is that Change Starts With Us.

A simple way in which YFCs can support the campaign is by running the Beat Bullying Curve module during a club meeting. This simple one and a half hour session can help members understand the impact and effects of bullying.

Greg Parkes is a YFC Trainer in Leicestershire and has delivered the Beat Bullying Curve to clubs in the area.

“It’s a great Curve module, which helps clubs consider the way in which members engage with one another. It also helps people understand what is banter and when it's bullying,” said Greg.

The session involves an interactive video session, where members are shown a video of someone being bullied. The members are then asked to make a decision about what action they should take and their decision determines what part of the video is played next – showing the consequences of their choices.

“Clubs enjoyed the interactive nature of the Curve,” added Greg. “They also enjoyed the structure which keeps the topic relevant and engaging while ensuring key messages are delivered.”

To find out more about the Curve module, visit here


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