National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

27 February 2020

Every YFC member will receive a new Rural+ card that contains important contact information for mental health support services, thanks to funding from Tama.

The folded cards include telephone numbers and email addresses for national organisations that are available for young people to contact if they need someone who can listen to their concerns. There’s also space inside for members to include contacts for any local services that they might want to use.

The cards were first produced in 2014 and have been kindly reproduced thanks to funding from Tama, leading manufacturers of Twine, Netwrap and Stretchwrap. All of the cards have been sent to County offices for distribution to their YFC clubs and every member should receive a copy.

Designed to fit easily into a wallet or purse, the cards are ideal for YFC members to keep in case they face difficult times now or in the future.

Personal Development Steering Group Chairman Steph Watkins from Gloucestershire FYFC said: “These cards are a great reminder for YFC members that you are not alone. If you’re struggling and don’t feel like you can talk to a family member or friend, then the next best step is to speak to a confidential support service.

“Just knowing you have the contacts to hand, should you need them, is reassuring and the support at the end of those telephone lines could be the life-line some people need. We are very grateful to Tama for their on-going support of Rural+ and enabling us to re-print these essential cards for our members.”

Rural+ was launched in 2013 as a campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues in rural communities. The campaign evolved into a Rural+ awareness session that is now delivered during club meetings by YFC Trainers with the support of a professional mental health worker.  You can find out more about these sessions here.

The Rural+ cards have been sent to your County Office, so if you have not yet received yours, please contact your County Office. 



27 February 2020

Communicating with grassroots members was highlighted as one of the vital roles of a Council member during training at the recent Council weekend in February.

YFC Trainers told a packed room of YFC members, who had been elected to represent their Counties on the national Council, that their role was to make two-way communication happen. All YFC members should expect a detailed update about decisions and discussions made during Council meetings and they must also be aware that Council Reps can share their views at future Council meetings.

Understanding their responsibilities as Council members was the aim of the training session that was delivered by YFC Trainers Marcus Bailey from Essex FYFC, Polly Baines from Staffordshire FYFC and Cath Sykes, NFYFC’s Development and Training Manger.

The session outlined the full role and responsibilities of the NFYFC Council and also those of the Board of Management. While Council officers were there to help steer, create and promote the programme of activities offered by NFYFC, the Board of Management are responsible for governing the organisation.

All counties have a Council representative and your County Office can put you in contact with them. A Council Rep’s responsibilities include:

  • Making their role known to YFC members and county staff
  • Regularly speaking to county chairmen for feedback
  • Reporting back to the County Federation (at Exec meetings, through newsletters, email or talking to members and staff)
  • Leading discussions and involving YFC members in the debate
  • Informing members about NFYFC and keeping them updated on topics.

YFC Trainer Marcus Bailey said:

“The session aims to empower Council Reps so they feel confident about their role. The majority of people attending the session were in membership age and are actively involved in their clubs. It’s important that the messages from Council get passed on and equally that the Council Reps bring back their members’ views to future meetings. Council only works effectively if all members feel they have access to it and understand its purpose.”

For more information about the NFYFC structure, please see here.

 


26 February 2020

YFC members from Yorkshire learnt more about tractor safety thanks to a Machinery Maintenance and Safety Workshop organised by Massey Ferguson in February.

The evening session involved both theory and practice as the group learnt more about why farm safety matters, the importance of an annual tractor safety check and guidance on how to carry out daily checks on machinery.

Leading the group from Yorkshire was Lewis Marshall, YFYFC Development & Marketing Vice Chairman and Chairman of Went Valley District. "The training event was well attended by young farmer members who enjoyed analysing the faults on a young farmer’s tractor which was in for service. That caused some amusement!” said Lewis. “We learnt lots of hints and tips to keep our machines on the road including legalities and regulations. It is great to see large companies giving a bit back to the farming community. Many thanks to Massey Ferguson for supporting Yorkshire Young Farmers."

The evening was hosted by Peacock & Binnington’s Selby branch and Technical Support Specialists Richard Cox and Michael Butland from Massey Ferguson led the workshop. The event was supported by AGCO Parts and the Farm Safety Foundation. Those who came along to the evening also got the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a £100 voucher to spend on Massey Ferguson branded merchandise.

“The correct use and maintenance of machines is a key part of the farm safety message,” said Richard Cox. “We had a very successful workshop at Selby with a great group of young farmers who were really engaged in the importance of the topic.”


20 February 2020

Two motions will be debated at NFYFC’s Annual General Meeting in April where all YFC Clubs will be given the opportunity to discuss and vote on whether to approve them.

One motion, suggested by YFC AGRI Chairman George Baxter from Cambridgeshire and discussed at the YFC AGRI meeting, proposes that Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) should source and promote local British produce when catering for YFC events.

The motion is intended to encourage the YFC community to show its support for British farmers.

At the Council meeting, George said: “As an organisation that supports and promotes the next generation of farmers, I think it’s important that YFC backs the industry by ensuring that we use and promote British produce at our events.”

The motion was presented at NFYFC’s Council meeting in February where it was adopted by Council to be debated at the AGM.

Every YFC Club receives two voting cards to use at the AGM and will have the opportunity to speak about this motion and vote for or against it during the meeting.

Another motion about the national membership subscription has also been put forward by Brecknock Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and seconded by the Radnor Federation.

The motion asks for the NFYFC subscription to be calculated on a per member basis and that from 1 September 2020 each member should pay £25.80 to NFYFC.

From the 1 September 2020 onwards Brecknock proposes that the subscription is apportioned among affiliated clubs by multiplying it by the total number of members declared in their return of membership on 31 August in that year.

This motion will also be debated during the AGM in Kenilworth and all clubs will again receive two voting cards to use during the vote.

The draft AGM agenda has currently been circulated to all YFC clubs and counties are invited to put forward amendments to the motions by 19 March 2020.

Amendments to Motions should be sent for the attention of James Eckley, Chief Officer by email to: Sandra Bromley by 12 Noon on Thursday 19 March 2020. 

The final agenda for the Annual General Meeting will be published by Friday 27 March 2020. 





18 February 2020

During this time of unprecedented rain and flooding, the government has issued advice to remain vigilant throughout the week.  Government agencies have advised that ongoing significant river flooding impacts continue through this week.

River levels will remain especially high on the Rivers Wye and Teme and the River Ouse in York, continuing on the lower River Wye. Further heavy rain is forecast in the north of England for later Wednesday into Thursday and may fall on catchments that have been recently flooded.

Groundwater levels remain high and in some places are rising again in parts of Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, North Lincolnshire, East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.

You can check flood warnings in Wales via Natural Resources Wales’ online update.

Thoughts are with everyone who has been, or will be, affected by recent flooding and please be aware of useful links for advice or help:

5-day flood risk for England and Wales

Environment Agency

Natural Resources Wales

Prince’s Countryside Emergency Fund

Farming Community Network

NFU advice on flooding 

 

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





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