National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

17 March 2020

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise in the UK, NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry is asking YFCs to support their local rural and farming communities during the crisis through a #YFCRuralSupport initiative.

While clubs and counties have been advised not to hold club meetings for at least the next 12 weeks, YFCs can still help rural and farming communities by working with local food producers and coordinating support through online groups.

Seasonal labour for fruit and vegetable picking is in short supply at the moment due to travel restrictions and NFYFC’s seasonal labour provider HOPS is calling on YFC members to support local growers in their area.

The soft fruits industry will need labour from April onwards and YFC members can contact HOPS if they are able to offer their support during this period and positions will be paid. Find out more information here. 

It’s important to remain in contact with local farmers who are often isolated and could be struggling with staff shortages due to illness.  YFCs can be a source of help in both practical and support situations, as well as spreading positive messages about local food production and availability. 

NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry said: “YFCs are already launching amazing initiatives to support the older and more vulnerable people in their rural communities. We want more YFCs to do this and also to ensure that our farming sector gets the support it needs during this crisis too.

“YFC members can offer their support by encouraging people to buy local produce as well as supporting the farmers who are producing it. We are going to need more British people to help pick fruits and vegetables in the coming months and YFC members living in areas close to these farms could offer their services during this difficult time for the country – and indeed the world.”


1. Local food for local people

Work with local producers (farm shops, farmers, local shops and small producers) to find out if you can help distribute emergency food parcels to those in self-isolation or those who are finding it difficult to find what they need in the shops at the moment.

2. Make contact

Organise leaflet drops (so you can reach those most vulnerable who may not be online) to let people know your YFC is able to support by fetching shopping, picking up prescriptions, walking the dog or just popping round to check on someone who lives alone.

3. Social communities

Use your online knowledge to set up a WhatsApp or Facebook (or similar) group for your local community so people can  provide requests for help. It’s a great way for everyone to feel connected if self-isolation is imposed. Always offer support for those that are not familiar with online platforms and only share accurate information from official sources.

4. Support for farmers

Remember that many farms will be feeling the effects of the crisis too. YFCs can be a source of help in both practical and support situations, as well as spreading positive messages about local food production and availability.  Seasonal labour will also be in short supply and YFC members can contact HOPS to help with picking and packing fruit and vegetables in your local area.There are paid positions available. See more information on how to apply here.

For more information about Covid-19 and the advice for YFCs, please see here. 

17 March 2020

NFYFC has advised all of its Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) to cancel club meetings and events for at least the next 12 weeks following guidance from the Government issued on 16 March 2020.

The information will affect 598 YFCs across England and Wales and 46 County Federations. All club and county meetings, activities and events have been halted while the UK attempts to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus.

The decision also impacts NFYFC’s Competitions programme and its national activities, including the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was due to take place on 26 April 2020.

The AGM will be postponed to a date later in the year, which will be confirmed as soon as guidance on gatherings is updated by the Government.

The restrictions have also impacted the NFYFC Competitions programme. Many counties were already cancelling rallies and competition finals in light of the outbreak and NFYFC has now been forced to cancel or postpone a number of national competitions. See here for more details.

Other NFYFC events affected by the decision include the Business and Tenancy Training event in Berkshire with Savills this week and the Board of Management meeting in April. Both have been postponed and the Board will hold a video conference call instead.

The NFYFC’s Council meeting in June will be reviewed the week commencing 25 May and the decision will be based on the Government guidelines at the time.

NFYFC's YFC Travel programme has also been affected and all remaining homestay trips have been cancelled for 2020. Other YFC Travel trips are under review and will be dependent on travel restrictions at the time. 

NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry said:

“It is with a heavy heart that NFYFC have had to advise all YFCs and counties to close for at least 12 weeks. We know how important club meetings are for those living in remote locations and we urge all our clubs to find ways online to remain in contact with each other.

“Now is the time for YFCs to show we are kind, considerate citizens by helping our local communities. We will have to sacrifice much of what we usually enjoy to protect not only ourselves but also millions of others.”

NFYFC has provided information about support groups for those who are struggling with the impact of isolation and concerns about the virus. For more detailed information about the announcements from NFYFC about the Coronavirus, please visit here. This website page will be regularly updated. 

10 March 2020

NFYFC has pledged that Rural Youth Matter alongside other industry partners at a Rural Vulnerability Day in March.

The pledge, made by all those who attended the event organised by Rural England CIC , was intended to confirm the importance of young people in rural society.

AGRI Manager Sarah Palmer represented NFYFC on the day and said: “I was pleased to put NFYFC’s name to the pledge of the day, ‘Rural Youth Matter’ and to confirm that rural young people are deserving of more attention and support.”

During the day, Dr Jane Hart, a Director of Rural England, presented her research report on the challenges facing rural 16-18-year olds in accessing appropriate education and work-based learning.

This research considered the possible implications of accessibility constraints on students’ attainment and on social mobility.

The day also included presentations from the British Youth Council, Young Somerset, UK Youth and Huw Merriman MP as well as personal presentations from young people who shared their views on living and growing up in rural areas.

Event sponsors Hastoe Housing concluded the day by sharing their views on tailoring housing to address the needs of young people. 

10 March 2020

In celebration of National Butchers’ Week, NFYFC caught up with Becky Robinson about how she forged a career as a female butcher to run Becky’s Butchers and the support she got from YFC

Why did you want to be a butcher?

I grew up on a mixed farm and livestock has always been a big part of my life. Mum used to sell the beef and lamb for many years 'out of her kitchen' and I have always been interested in the field-to-fork process.

How did you train to be a butcher?

After finishing college I got an apprenticeship job at The Suffolk Food Hall where I completed my Level 2 Butchery qualification.

After this I travelled for a few years, spending time working on a cattle station in Australia, before returning home to complete my Level 3 Butchery qualification. I started Becky’s Butchers in 2017.

Is it a male dominated profession?

Butchery was known as a role carried out mainly by men but there are more women out there taking on these roles now – and why not?

It is just me and my mum who work at Becky’s Butchers and between us we lift huge bodies of beef from the fridge to the block – and then break down the carcass to be sold.

It is such a diverse job too. One day you might be doing 10 lambs for an order and the next 100kg sausages.

Butchery is not just a skill, it’s an art. You have to be able to multitask and have a diverse range of skills – from being able to break down a hindquarter of beef to prepping some French-trimmed racks of lamb. If you like a hands-on role, interacting with a good team of people and customers, why not give it a go?

What do you love about your job?

I have been very lucky to be able to convert part of the farm into a butchery and shop with the help of my family and friends.

Diversifying to be a butcher meant we could keep the livestock and then sell them through the shop. Being able to show customers the ‘field to fork’ process is great too.

The other side of Becky’s Butchers is the private butchery service for people with livestock. I really enjoy being able to talk to other farmers or smallholders about their animals. I like to help them through the whole process so they can get the best from their carcasses. This has now evolved even further and we look after four other farm shops too.

What’s the hardest part of the job?

I don’t find my job hard because for me it isn’t a job; it’s a way of life. Yes there are good and bad days but that is part of what I live for and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Has YFC supported your career progression?

Being a Young Farmer has allowed me to network with like-minded people who are passionate about livestock, the countryside and everything British. YFC has given me opportunities to learn new skills too. Now 28, I am an associate YFC member and still support Essex FYFC and my club, Wix YFC with raising money for some fantastic charities. 

05 March 2020

YFC members took part in eight ‘YFC Talks to Defra’ regional discussion events over the last few months that YFC AGRI organised with Defra.

YFC AGRI received a Defra grant to support agreed work which included regional engagement events to help hear about and to contribute to, a future Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs). 

The new Agriculture Bill was re-introduced to Parliament in January and new policies are emerging. Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments will gradually be phased out and ELM is currently being designed, alongside other future schemes covering areas such as plant health and animal welfare.

These recent regional ‘YFC Talks to Defra’ events gave an ideal opportunity for current and future young farmers to understand what policies Defra are working on and why.  As this new scheme will affect so many farmers in all regions of England, the events helped to capture the practical thoughts, concerns and ideas from those who already manage land. For this particular scheme, it’s important that all local and regional considerations are talked about and taken into account.

Young farmers value the importance of food production and enhanced efficiency going hand-in-hand with environmental measures. They listened to, questioned and discussed the practicalities of Defra’s plans for a future tiered scheme, packages of options, a scheme devolved to local government and an innovative price discovery mechanism. They were assured that nothing is yet set in stone and that Defra aims to tailor the new scheme to fit local priorities, find innovative delivery solutions and explore new payment methodologies.  

A future National Pilot, launching in late 2021 will build on the current tests and trials work and the scheme should be made easily accessible for farmers to work out what will be appropriate for their individual farms.

Defra has now launched the Environmental Land Management (ELM) Policy Discussion Document on the Citizen Space website. This document sets out Defra’s initial thinking on the design of the new ELM scheme. There are key questions in the document which will help Defra shape the new scheme. Visit the Defra Facebook page for further information

04 March 2020

The YFC Centre at Stoneleigh Park is undergoing much-needed improvements using funding from a long-established and restricted fund.

NFYFC staff and the HOPS staff team will move out of the premises in March to a temporary location nearby on the park. The offices will close from 5 March until 10 March while the team set up their new temporary space.     

The building at Stoneleigh Park has been largely untouched since the 60s. It is not environmentally friendly, energy efficient or easily accessible for people with disabilities and has insufficient space for meetings and training.

The refurbishment uses the original building structure, which saves on expense, but will provide a more practical environment for visitors, YFC members and staff to work from. Improved insulation and heating will go towards reducing running costs.

The refurbishment will be paid for by a £440,000 YFC Centre Endowment Fund that can only be used for the purposes of developing the YFC Centre. This is a restricted fund, established soon after the NFYFC moved from London to the current YFC Centre at Stoneleigh Park in 1968. The essential development work to the building has also been pledged a further £50,000 from a Trust fund, which is also restricted and can only be used for this purpose. 


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