National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

17 February 2020

Ten YFC members have been elected to lead NFYFC’s five steering groups that help guide the national Federation’s work.

George Baxter from Cambridgeshire is the new AGRI Steering Group Chairman, supported by Vice Chairman Tom Pope from Somerset; Grace Millbank from Northamptonshire is the new Competitions Chairman, supported by Vice Chairman Katie Sanderson from County Durham; Steph Watkins from Gloucestershire is the new Personal Development Chairman, supported by Vice Chairman Polly Baines from Staffordshire; Ruth Cooper from Cumbria will lead the Youth Forum, supported by Richard Jeyes from Warwickshire; and Lucy Stowell from Norfolk is the Chairman of the Events and Marketing group for a second year, supported by Sarah Emmott from Cumbria. (The five chairmen of Steering Groups are pictured).

Two of the groups also elected to change the names of their steering groups to better reflect the work that they do.

AGRI (YFC AGRI)

AGRI will now be known as YFC AGRI with a strapline of Our Future Countryside. Instead of holding steering group meetings the group will refer to their gatherings as AGRI Futures meetings. Their next Council meeting in June will include a farm visit and in October they aim to hold a public engagement session in Coventry.

At the meeting the group agreed to have more input into NFYFC’s Competitions programme. They also intend to launch a paper called AGRI Ambition, which will set out their ideals for future rural communities, food and farming, training and promotion.

NFYFC Council supported George Baxter’s suggestion to put forward a motion for the Annual General Meeting that “Young Farmers’ Clubs should source and promote local British produce when catering for YFC events”. NFYFC Council approved the motion and it will now be debated by YFCs at the AGM in April.

YFC AGRI has worked with the organisers of the Cereals event to provide advice and input for the young farmer element of the programme. 

The group continues to represent YFC members at relevant industry and government meetings as well as developing and delivering resources and events.

Events and Marketing (Membership and Marketing)

The Events and Marketing Steering Group also chose to update its name and will now be known as the Membership and Marketing group, which reflects the focus of their current work.

The group will be looking into the development of welcome packs for new members as well as looking at more targeted membership communications, among other ideas to attract and retain members. All clubs have been challenged in 2020 to recruit four new members each.

For the group, the largest marketing event of the year is National Young Farmers’ Week and the group plans to re-issue an updated toolkit earlier in the year for the 2020 event. Clubs will receive information in June to help them prepare for the week-long promotion of YFC from 28 September-2 October.

They also plan to launch an exciting new awards scheme for YFC members, with more details to be announced at the Annual General Meeting.

Plans were also discussed about YFC Ski 2021, following a successful trip to Argentiere in January this year that received positive feedback from all participants.

Competitions

Requests for ideas for the YFC Competitions programme 2021-22 were made by the steering group to accompany suggestions they have received so far, which include weed/pest identification; farm business planning; grain judging in a rotation.

The group is also looking for ideas from YFC members on ways to improve or update the Senior Stockman of the Year competition to encourage more participants. Ideas should be sent via Council reps or directly to Margaret.bennett@nfyfc.org.uk.

The group reminded everyone of the 50% discount on training for a Blue Seal qualification with British Wool that is available until 30 March 2020.

Personal Development

Travel was one of the key focuses of discussions for this steering group with decisions being made on new locations for 2021.

The group agreed to trial a new trip to Western Australia in 2020, where applicants would be required to have an interest in beef, sheep and grain. More details will be announced soon.

The group also agreed to progress Jamaica and Sri Lanka as volunteering opportunities for YFC members in 2021. 

Training opportunities in four new areas were also proposed to further enhance YFC members’ skills.  The group is exploring a new Curve module focused on the environment and  also developing a training package to support the new YFC on Track tool for clubs.

Plans for a Leadership Development course are underway for 18+ year olds who are in a club officer role and may want to take on a County role in the future. The group is also looking into trustee training to support young people in these roles.

Training of Council members is also a key priority for the group and on the Saturday morning of the Council weekend everyone took part in an informative session to help develop their skills for the forthcoming year.

Youth Forum

The Youth Forum held their meeting the week before Council, during their residential weekend away, to enable them to share their views with the four other groups.

The Forum, which was set up to represent younger members’ views, want to promote food and farming by supporting Open Farm Sunday, being Love British Food Ambassadors and promoting the Future Farming Curve training module. Members of the Forum intend to use the module when they go into schools or colleges to improve food and farming education.

They also want to highlight the Watch that Cowpat Game and the SuperMoo mascot so that more clubs realise they are both available to use at their local events.

A full report from the Council weekend will be made available for all Council representatives to report back to their clubs and counties.

For more information about the new officer team, see here





16 February 2020

The new Chairman of leading rural youth organisation The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is promising a year of change as the organisation develops a new strategy to meet the needs of rural young people today.

Dewi Parry, 29, a member of Betws-yn-Rhos Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) for 12 years, was elected as the national Chairman of the Federation at the Council meeting on 16 February at the Quality Hotel in Coventry. Supporting Dewi in his role will be two newly elected Vice Chairmen Rachel Goldie from Yorkshire and Edward Dungait from Northumberland.

Dewi, an Assistant Manager at builders’ merchant CL Jones in Llanrwst, was the Vice Chairman of Council in 2019-20 before being elected to the leading role. He has also been an active member of Clwyd Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and the NFYFC’s Board of Management. During his time as Vice Chairman, he has participated in meetings and events to help shape NFYFC’s new strategy.

In January, key figures from across the organisation joined together to help progress NFYFC’s strategic plan. This event, coupled with the feedback from clubs and counties who took part in Vision:2023 club sessions in 2019, has helped to form a more focused plan of action for the 88 year old Federation.

Digitalisation features high on the agenda for change as well as clearer guidance on the role of the national body, county federations and clubs.

NFYFC’s Chairman of Council Dewi Parry said: “YFC is an amazing organisation, and its 598 clubs make such a positive impact on the lives of so many rural young people across England and Wales.

“I’m excited about the changes we have been discussing for the Federation’s future and delighted to be at the helm during a year when they will start to be introduced. British agriculture is facing unprecedented change, as we are too, as a nation, following our departure from the EU. It feels only right that NFYFC is also making a transformation. 

“The organisation has meant so much to so many over the last 88 years and we now need to ensure it remains relevant for future generations. Listening to YFC members, it’s clear what is needed from our organisation to ensure we retain its strong position in the hearts and minds of our rural communities.”

Dewi and his two Vice Chairmen will be responsible for leading the Federation’s Council and ensuring its members continue to develop their local clubs and enhance the image of YFC.

More than 100 members gathered in Coventry over the week

end to pass motions that affect the running of the organisation and to elect the new officers of NFYFC’s Council. Five steering groups represent the views of the members and include: Competitions; Events and Marketing; Personal Development, Agriculture and Rural Issues and the Youth Forum. 

The National Council is made up of 63 members, associate members and co-options from across England and Wales and is elected by YFC members to represent their views.

Through steering groups, the National Council also decide and shape the programmes of work at NFYFC - planning events, competitions, projects and training for members.

Steering Group elections:

Agricultural and Rural Issues Steering Group: George Baxter, Cambridgeshire, Vice Chairman Tom Pope, Somerset

Competitions Steering Group: Grace Millbank, Northamptonshire, Vice Chairman Katie Sanderson, County Durham

Events and Marketing Steering Group: Lucy Stowell, Norfolk, Vice Chairman Sarah Emmett

Personal Development Steering Group: Steph Watkins, Gloucestershire, Vice Chairman Polly Baines, Staffordshire 

Youth Forum: Ruth Cooper from Lowick YFC, Cumbria, Vice Chairman Richard Jeyes, Warwickshire



13 February 2020

A statement from the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs about the appointment of George Eustice as the new Defra Secretary of State.

NFYFC Chairman of Council Katie Hall said:

“The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is delighted that George Eustice, a former member of Praze YFC in our Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, has been appointed as the new Defra Secretary of State.

“It is both impressive and inspiring for YFC members to see a former member from the Federation progress to such an important role in central Government – especially at such a critical time for the industry.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with Defra to share the views of Young Farmers in England and Wales to help improve opportunities in agriculture and rural life for the next generation.”

 

 





11 February 2020

Ruth Cooper, 17, from Lowick YFC in Cumbria is passionate about YFC and sharing younger members’ voices inside and outside of the Federation. As the new Chairman of the Youth Forum we found out a bit more about her plans for the year ahead.

Q. How do you feel to be the new Chairman of the Youth Forum?

A. I am very excited and honoured to take on the role. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with a group of individuals who are all very passionate about YFC. It really has been an honour to shadow Lucy Jeyes as her Vice-Chairman over the past year and if I only gain one thing in the role of Chairman, I hope it is Lucy’s passion for British agriculture.

Q. Why did you decide to stand for election?

A. Since joining the Youth Forum back in 2017, it has been great to work alongside like-minded young people who want to help change the face of NFYFC. I have achieved so much thanks to the skills I have gained from YFC and I want to give something back and ensure that younger members get the best possible experience from YFC.

Q. What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

A. I hope that throughout the year, we can continue to work on improving our organisation for younger members. Over the next year, we plan on supporting the motions submitted by the Forum to the British Youth Council back in 2019.

To do this, we plan to encourage clubs to deliver the Future Farming Curve module and also, as members, we plan on delivering it when going into schools or colleges to improve knowledge around food provenance.

We will also be continuing our work with LEAFEd to develop the Open Farm Sunday guidance for members. And we will maintain our work with all four steering groups and help them in delivering any projects for younger members.

Q. How important do you think the Youth Forum is?

A. It’s very important because it is a way for younger members to have their voices heard. YFC is an organisation run by its members, so it is vital for the younger generation to be listened to because they are the future of our organisation. We are very fortunate that the Youth Forum is able to feed into other steering groups as it means that we can represent our views at all levels of Council.

Q. How do you think this experience will help you in your own personal/professional life? 

A. It will help me to develop my leadership skills and further my presentation skills when delivering reports. Most importantly, however, this experience will help me to build on teamwork skills, both as a team leader and a team player.

To find out more about the Youth Forum, visit here.  


10 February 2020

NFYFC is supporting this year’s Mind Your Head campaign (10-14 February) organised by leading farming charity the Farm Safety Foundation, which will encourage the farming community to stop and think about how they are looking after their physical and mental wellbeing.

The award-winning campaign, now in its third year, was launched to raise awareness of the growing issue of poor mental health in the agricultural sector.

Following the campaign week NFYFC will re-issue its Rural+ cards, which are supported by Tama, to all YFC members by distributing them to Council members at the meeting in Coventry on 16 February. The cards, which were first launched when NFYFC created the award-winning Rural+ campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues in rural communities, are packed with useful contact information for organisations that members can call if they need help.

Rural+ has developed into a session that clubs can host during a meeting with the support of a trained YFC Trainer and a representative from the Farming Community Network (or a similar mental health organisation). The sessions raise awareness of mental health conditions and signpost where members can get support.

Staffordshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs is one of the counties that has been running the sessions throughout its County and believe the results are positive.

“WOW is all I can say regarding the Rural+ session! I feel this has really helped spread the word across our clubs here in Staffordshire,” said Gez Lowndes, Staffordshire’s Development Committee Chairwoman and also a member of Ashley YFC. “We have around 30 members out of over 100 that have received the training who have suffered with their own mental health. I am one of those who has received the training, suffered and been there to support others. I feel it has helped others and definitely helped me.”

During the Mind Your Head campaign, NFYFC will be helping to share messages from The Farm Safety Foundation and promoting Rural+ to counties and clubs as a positive way that they can support their members.

Farmers and their families face the same issues that everyone faces but there are a unique set of stressors in the industry; weather, market fluctuations, loneliness, long hours etc. that compound everyday pressures. Farming continues to have the poorest safety record of any occupation in the UK and, given the hazards and risks faced by farmers every day, being in the wrong headspace when working on a busy farm can, in fact, lead to life-changing or life-ending accidents. 

For more information on ‘Mind Your Head’ visit www.yellowwellies.org or follow @yellowwelliesUK on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram

For more information about the Rural+ session, visit here



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