National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 January 2020

Inspired and informed is how two YFC members felt after attending the Oxford Farming Conference in January as NFYFC scholars.

Emily Smith from Buxton YFC in Derbyshire and Georgina Radmore from Clunderwen YFC in Pembrokeshire both attended the three-day conference in Oxford after being awarded an NFYFC scholarship by the Worshipful Company of Farmers (WCF).

This year’s conference theme was Growing a Healthy Society and was focused on strengthening the relationship between the population, the land and the people who produce the nation’s food. It was an aim that certainly resonated with Georgina.

“I found the science lecture very interesting, the learning behind food for health was very insightful and debunked a lot of theories out there about red meat,” said Georgina. “I also found the Frank Parkinson lecture interesting as the speaker talked about ways in which we can engage and entertain the public about agriculture. The sector is rich in content that we can use to promote our industry.”

As well as dedicated workshops for scholars, there were plenty of debates and sessions on wider topics that Emily confirmed left a positive impression. 

“It was great to hear and feel that agriculture has a future,” said Emily who also attended an OFC Scholars’ day in November. “The positivity and factual knowledge were astounding. I particularly enjoyed the science lecture as the data was clear and easy to follow but went against a lot of the negative press that surrounds red meat.”

The scholars also got to hear from leading industry figures, including key note speeches by NFU President Minette Batters and Defra Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

Both scholars were impressed with the contacts they made during the event, which could prove to be beneficial in their careers.

Georgina met with a farmer from Northern Ireland where she is planning to take students from Coleg Sir Gar, where she works as an agricultural lecturer.

“Making these contacts can help me enhance the education of my students in Gelli Aur. I also met delegates from large retail chains and levy bodies. The best networking was between the other scholars on the programme.”

Equipped with insights and facts to help both scholars promote the industry, Emily now understands what role young farmers can play in making change happen.

“There is so much happening in the industry, this is both a challenging and exciting time to be in agriculture. I take away from the conference inspiration and confidence that agriculture does have a place in the future, and we can make the difference at the source.”

Georgina described her experience as “an incredible opportunity to feel a part of some of the most important discussions affecting UK agriculture today.”

Every year the Worshipful Company of Farmers sponsors two YFC members to attend the conference and any YFC member can apply for these places.

For more information about future scholarship opportunities at the Oxford Farming Conference, contact Sarah Palmer

29 January 2020

It’s the Youth Forum Residential this weekend where members of the group will elect a new Chairman and Vice Chairman.

The weekend, at Oaklands Activity Centre, near Bets Y Coed, will include outdoor activities. Then on Sunday current Youth Forum Chairman Lucy Jeyes from Warwickshire FYFC will step down from the role of leading the group.

We caught up with Lucy to find out how her year has been representing younger members of the Federation.

Q. Why did you want to be a steering group chairman of the group you chose?

A. I believe it’s important that the younger members have their voices and opinions shared, as they aren’t always able to do so. I wanted to lead this group to get more people involved and help with the discussions for the future ideas and plans for NFYFC.

Q. Describe the goal of your group in one sentence?

A. To feed back into the other steering groups with their new projects and ideas.

Q. What has been your biggest challenge in the role?

A. To make sure I am leading the group well so that every member of the group can share their feelings and opinions. It is important that everyone is listened to and that the group moves forward.

Q. What has been your group’s best achievement last year?

A. The Youth Forum went to the British Youth Council (BYC) annual council meeting to share issues facing young people in rural areas. We were very successful with our three motions that are now part of the BYC’s manifesto. These were about bringing agriculture into the classroom, encouraging people to spend more time in the natural world, promoting agriculture and the environment.

It was a big achievement as it meant more people are aware of the issues and now more people are working towards them to make a change.

Q. Would you recommend being a steering group chairman?

A. Yes, it has helped me to be more aware of different issues in agriculture, young farmers and rural youth. It is a chance to give back to YFC and give other people the same opportunities that the organisation has given you. It is a great experience and opportunity that you will never forget.

Q. Have you gained anything personally from being in the role?

A. It has been amazing to lead the group over the past year. It has broadened my horizons and I have learnt new skills around leadership, team work and presenting.

Find out more about the Youth Forum here.

29 January 2020

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29 January 2020

YFC members from across England and Wales will have the opportunity to lead one of the NFYFC Council’s five steering groups this February.

The groups, which help guide areas of work for the national Federation, will all elect a new chairman and vice chairman during their meetings on Saturday 15 February.

The positions are open to anyone who sits on the steering group and for those interested in being part of the groups, co-option positions are available.

Each group is focused on a different area of work including Agriculture and Rural Issues (AGRI), Competitions, Events and Marketing, Personal Development (which includes training and travel) and the Youth Forum.

Lucy Stowell Chaired the Events and Marketing group in 2019 and says the position has encouraged her to run for a position as Vice Chairman of Council. 

“I have enjoyed being a steering group chairman over the past twelve months and want to give myself a new challenge. It has been an interesting year coming up with new ways to promote the organisation through National Young Farmers’ Week. The group is a great platform to gather feedback from different counties and to help shape the work at a national level.”

Dewi Parry, who is currently NFYFC's Vice Chairman, has also been the Competitions Chairman for the past year and says the experience has been challenging and rewarding because of the passion YFC members have for the competitions.

"Personally I’ve learned so much about such a broad realm of skills," said Dewi. "YFC has members who are truly passionate about their certain speciality, and interacting with them about that passion, whether it’s fencing or dancing or floral art, really shows you just how special YFC is."

There are three steering group meetings every year (February, June and October) and members of the groups are encouraged to support activities and events that they have suggested should happen. 

Each group reports back to Council following their meeting and asks for approval or support on any new ideas they have planned. This is also an opportunity for Council members to ask any questions about activities and their progress.

Youth Fourm Chairman 2019-20 Lucy Jeyes steps down from her role during the Youth Forum Residential weekend in early February and said her year had been amazing.

“I would recommend the role as it has helped me to be more aware of different issues in agriculture, young farmers and rural youth. It is a chance to give back to YFC and give other people the same opportunities that the organisation has given you.

“It has been amazing to lead the group. It has broadened my horizons and I have learnt new skills.”

If you’re interested in getting involved in a role on NFYFC’s Council or standing for a leading position, why not speak to your county chairman about the opportunities? Co-option positions are available, see here

29 January 2020

Staying with four families in Colorado through YFC Travel was like being in a movie says Adam Ringrose, 27, from Leicestershire.

Who did you stay with in Colorado?

I spent seven weeks with four different families and it was the experience of a lifetime.

The families I stayed with were all different – one managed a John Deere dealership, another had a small holding where I milked goats, the third was a tree farm in a remote rural location and the fourth family lived on a cattle ranch.

With one family I got to see inside a massive meat processing plant, where they process 5,000 cattle a day. My family have a livestock farm and butchers so this was really interesting to see something on this scale.

The families had a lot of questions about farming in the UK and about the butchery where I work. Mainly though they wanted to know what life is like in England. We got Google Maps up and I compared the grid system of roads that they have with our “higgledy-piggledy” roads. They thought that word was hilarious!

How did you travel to each family?

It was all arranged through 4H and IFYE (The International Farming Youth Exchange) program. They coordinated al

l the families who would help me get from one location to the next. I did catch a train through the Rockies, which was amazing, but the rest of the time the families helped me.

Did you work?

I worked with most of the families. I didn’t have to but you’re expected to do a bit. The most work I did was at the tree farm as I was able to be quite useful there. Most of the time I did what I wanted to do and tried to help out as much as I could as they were doing me a favour.

For a lot of farmers work is their life so that’s how you become involved in it.

What were some of your highlights?

It felt like being in the movies! You look around you and all the small details are things you only recognise because of films. Seeing water dispensers on the side of roads and finding a gun counter in Walmart!

My highlights though have to be:

  • Working with a cowboy for a week with one of the families. He taught me how to lasso.
  • Going to the Greely Stampede, a huge rodeo, which was fantastic as it was absolutely huge. You can’t believe that people still do these things but it’s a real sport there.
  • Camping in the mountains.

Did you prefer the YFC Travel experience to being a tourist?

There is no way I would have had the breadth of experiences I had if I’d have gone as a tourist. Camping in the mountains with the ATVs was on off-road routes and you wouldn’t have known where to go. The visits I had, such as going to the meat processors, were swung by the families I stayed with.

I went travelling afterwards on an epic road trip, which highlighted how different YFC Travel is from being a tourist. The experiences can be a lot richer as you get access to places and activities you can’t do on your own. There’s stuff I did you just can’t do as a tourist – like the rodeo and lassoing with the cowboy.

How much did it cost?

I spent around £400 in total and that includes my flights, insurance  and expenses. I got help from Leicestershire County Federation to help with the costs of my flights so that brought my spend down a lot. It doesn’t cost you much at all. I spent more money on my road trip afterwards!

Would you recommend YFC Travel?

Absolutely, without a doubt! You learn so much, you grow as a person. It’s a different way of seeing another culture. 

It has been described as Young Farmers’ best-kept secret by a number of people. It baffles me that more people don’t apply because the trips are fantastic. I went to Germany a few years ago with YFC and all of my experiences have been brilliant. I’m off to Slovenia this year!

You get everything done for you, it doesn’t cost you as much as it would if you travelled alone and you get the real richness of the culture. 

Find out more about YFC Travel, which is kindly supported by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust.  

27 January 2020

A series of regional talks around the country are allowing YFC members to share their views with Defra on proposals for the new Environmental Land Management scheme (ELM).

More than 100 YFC members have been involved in the events so far that have been held in East Riding of Yorkshire, Cumbria, Herefordshire and Hampshire, Northumberland and Cambridgeshire.

Many of the events, which started last year, had to be postponed to early 2020 due to the general election being called towards the end of last year.

Cumbria FYFC hosted a successful event in January, just a few days after the reintroduction of the Agriculture Bill giving YFC members plenty of issues to debate. In Herefordshire, the event even attracted the attention of its mascot Bertie the Bull.

There are two more events planned for 13 February in Somerset and Nottinghamshire.

NFYFC’s AGRI Steering Group Chairman  David Goodwin said: “These are important discussions with Defra – both to hear about future plans for farming and the environment and most importantly to have your say.  

“NFYFC AGRI encourages all interested YFC members to come along and share their views, concerns and much-needed local and regional knowledge with Defra representatives.”  

Refreshments are provided at these free events that are being hosted by County Federations. 


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