National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

28 May 2020

NFYFC is hosting its second Isolation Challenge Finals Day on Saturday 6 June giving all YFC members, friends and family the chance to vote for their winner from the four recent isolation challenges.

The work of five finalists from the Green Fingers, Artwork and Ready, Steady, Cook challenges will be promoted throughout the day and members will have the chance to vote on their preferred winner.

Votes will be counted on the official finalists entries that are shown on Instagram and Facebook and voting closes at 3pm.

Winners of the Isolation Stockjudging Challenge, sponsored by Rutland Electric Fencing, will be decided by a judging panel.

NFYFC’s Competitions Chairman Grace Millbank from Northamptonshire FYFC will announce the winners at 8pm on Facebook.

Grace said: “It’s really exciting to be hosting another Challenge Finals Day. While I know this virtual event won’t match the excitement of a real Competitions Day, it’s just one of the ways that can help to unite YFC during these difficult times.”

The first YFC Isolation Challenge Final Day was a huge success with the event reaching more than 60,000 people on Facebook alone.

Sophie Winter commented on NFYFC’s Facebook page after the last Finals Day saying: “Well done to all Young Farmers. No matter what, we all pull together in difficult times and still manage to have fun! I really enjoyed going through some of the photos and videos online! It’s been great.”

Why not get involved and help vote for your favourite finalists on 6 June. The schedule is below:

8am – announcement of the finalists for the Green Fingers Challenge

11am – announcement of the finalists for the Artwork Challenge

1pm – announcement of the finalists for the Ready, Steady, Cook Challenge

3pm – Voting closes

Just for fun – Stockjudging challenge

7pm – Official placement of cattle and reasons give

8pm – Announcement of results 

To see all of the Isolation Challenges, visit here.  Younger members may also be interested in downloading a copy of the YFC Isolation Show Guide here



21 May 2020

The dairy industry has come together with a new £1m campaign to celebrate and inspire the moments of connection that bring people together whilst physically apart due to coronavirus.

Young farmers are being encouraged to take part in the Milk Your Moments campaign, which celebrates the connections made while enjoying dairy.

Milk and dairy has always featured in situations we took for granted before the lockdown – a catch up with a colleague over coffee (or at the market), tea with your mum or grandma reading a bedtime story with a glass of milk. The campaign celebrates those moments - hence ‘Milk Your Moments’ - in order to drive positive sentiment towards dairy and drive in home consumption and dairy occasions.

The campaign is funded by AHDB, Dairy UK, Defra, Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to address the fall in milk sales due to the closure of foodservice caused by the coronavirus outbreak. 

AHDB has also teamed up with mental health charity Mind to highlight the importance of human connections and encourage open conversations with others to make a positive impact on people’s mental health.

Consumers (and farmers) are invited to record their own ‘moments’ to share with their friends on social media, and the campaign will also include advertising on social media, billboards near supermarkets, radio and television.

The very best moments shared using the hashtag #MilkYourMoments will be featured in the TV advert in June. We would love some farmer moments to make the cut – so get creative!

Please email dairy.comms@ahdb.org.uk if you would like a copy of its guidance about social media or if you have any other questions about the campaign.

How farmers can get involved and help to make the campaign a success:

There are several ways farmers can support the campaign.

1. Share the campaign graphics via your own social media accounts Visit ahdb.org.uk/milk-your-moments where you can download from a choice of images along with an example wording for your post, or like and share the posts on the @MilkYourMoment handles on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

2. Create and share your own moment on social media

a. Create your own moment to share using the farm, the cows or the countryside as your inspiration – see examples below or visit www.milkyourmoments.co.uk

b. Share it on social media and encourage others to share your post with wording such as ‘If my post makes you smile, please LIKE and SHARE it to spread joy throughout the nation and get involved with #MilkYourMoments @MindCharity’.

c. Nominate other farmers on social media to create their own moment to help support the campaign

3. Download posters to use if you have consumer facing areas Visit ahdb.org.uk/milk-your-moments to download printable poster

Top tips when capturing your moment 

  • 'Moments’ set on your farm will help connect consumers with dairy farming and enhance our reputation
  • Consider your content through a consumers’ eyes – do your cows look healthy and clean? Is the background clean and tidy? Do the cows have two ear tags? Think about your appearance too. 
  • Remember - the public don’t know that many farmers live and work with extended family so will be expecting you to follow Government guidance on 2 metre social distancing 
  • This is not a milk drinking challenge – the aim is to capture you connecting with other people (in person, virtually or remotely) since this is at the heart of the campaign. Please bear this in mind when creating your moment 
  • Please only use the hashtag #MilkYourMoments 
  • Be sensitive to the link with a mental health charity in your posts. 

Inspiration to get you started

We want to see how creative you can be, but here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Making a short Tik Tok video with the cows in the background
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee and a chat over the farm boundary with a neighbouring farmer 
  • Sharing a flask of tea/coffee and cream cake with your farming family whilst checking the cows in the field  
  • Treat the farm team to tea and cakes (at 2m social distance) 
  • Drop off a bottle of milk to a neighbour and leave a note to organise a virtual cuppa.




15 May 2020

Young farmers are being encouraged to take time to manage their mental wellbeing by using new resources launched by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) during Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.

The Take Time toolkit is sponsored by Tama and is being championed by NFYFC’s Youth Forum during a week-long campaign from 18-24 May, which coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week.

The United Nations has recently warned of the possibility of a global mental health crisis following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

As isolation is already a major issue for rural young people, NFYFC was eager to build on its Rural+ work that was delivering mental health awareness sessions to Young Farmers’ Clubs across England and Wales. Clubs have been closed since the middle of March due to Covid-19 restrictions, meaning members are no longer meeting with friends or getting access to Rural+ sessions or resources.

It is hoped the online Take Time toolkit will tackle some of the issues young rural people are currently facing. There are seven Take Time sections that each provide advice for YFC members on ways they can improve their mental wellbeing. Members of the Youth Forum have recorded tips to share throughout the week on social media to encourage their peers to stop and think about their own mental health during the current global crisis.

Youth Forum Chairman, Ruth Cooper from Cumbria FYFC, said it was more important than ever that YFC members took time to look after their mental health.

“Lockdown in the UK brought a devastating blow to the YFC life we are used to, and it has been affecting all of us in different ways.

“Many clubs have been hosting virtual meetings, quizzes and fundraisers, which is great but we know they are not the same as physically socialising with friends. The added pressures we are all facing due to changes to education, work, family and social lives are immense.

“Take Time is aimed at encouraging YFC members to take care of themselves and to understand that their mental health matters as much as their physical health. It’s also our opportunity to show the power of the YFC community. We need to look after ourselves and be there for our friends and family. Not everyone will be doing ok, which is why we need to keep talking about this and show that together, we are joining in and creating opportunities to keep our mental health, healthy!”

The Youth Forum will be asking everyone to share their stories and images during the week, using the hashtag #YFCTakeTime.

The timetable for the week is as follows:

Monday – Take time to keep connected

Tuesday – Take time to observe

Wednesday – Take time to keep active

Thursday – Take time to do something for you

Friday – Take time to do something for others

Saturday – Take time to take a break

Sunday – Take time to try something new

Urgent contact information and resources for anyone who is facing a mental health crisis are also available in the toolkit, which is all hosted on the NFYFC website here.


12 May 2020

Arable farmer Oliver Makintosh from East Riding of Yorkshire FYFC is busy working during the Coronavirus outbreak and hopes that the crisis will at least reconnect people with their local farms.

Q. Can you tell us about the businesses you are involved in?

We have interests in green waste composting, wood recycling, woodchip drying, anaerobic digestion and arable farming. All the businesses are pretty much run as one, with the exception being the anaerobic digester, which is run by a separate company.

My role in the business is to make sure everything is working as it should. This could be anything from relief driving the forage harvester to submitting planning applications.  Any excuse to leave the office is always welcome. Since graduating from University in 2017, I started the woodchip drying, which currently processes ~10,000 tonnes a year.

Q. Has the Coronavirus impacted your work on the farm?

We were due to host the Northern Area Field Day, which has unfortunately been postponed. But this means we aren’t under as much stress to get the whole farm painted and prepared!

The only real difference in terms of workload this year is the lack of green waste coming through the gates, which will help us if we start to have labour shortages on the farming side due to the virus.

Initially there was a mad rush to make sure we had enough wearing metal, seed, fertiliser etc to get us through the outbreak, however many suppliers are still open for business.

My concern is if we start to have labour shortages due to the virus and if restrictions continue, what to do with everyone in our quiet summer months.

Q. What plans have you put in place for your businesses to manage the possible impact of the outbreak?

Due to the high volume of deliveries coming into site we have stopped drivers coming into the weighbridge cabin, and tried to reduce transferring as much paper work as possible.

We stay distanced from each other at break times to minimise any spread. The diversifications we have are still based around key industries so we should be able to keep going with them, as long as nothing worsens.

Q. How do you feel about the essential role British farming is playing during the crisis?

It has amazed me how quickly the rural population have reverted to buying 25kg bags of potatoes from local venders. It is a very good value way of buying produce and the food miles are minimised.

Hopefully this will be replicated with all other UK grown produce – reconnecting the population with local farmers – and will carry on after the virus.

The crisis is showing what a key industry UK agriculture is, as we can be relied on to feed the nation a healthy balanced diet.

Q. Farming can be an isolating job anyway but has the added pressure to isolate further had an impact on you and your family?

My girlfriend's family are isolating so it’s a struggle to drive an hour to wave at her over the garden fence. I normally have two lodgers living with me but, due to their offices being shut, I now live in an empty house, which makes the nights a bit longer. My parents both work with me so I still see them daily. The wider family keep in touch on a WhatsApp group whilst Snapchat is used for cousins.

Q. The public have been concerned about food shortages – what would your message be to people about this?

My message would be to eat sensibly. The UK agricultural sector can supply a balanced diet and after the panic buying that happened originally, supermarkets are relaxing the rules on how much people can purchase. Buy sensibly – perishable items shouldn’t be bought in volumes that are too large to get through. There are already reports of excess food being binned.

Q. Are you managing to stay connected to your YFC at the moment?

As I am on a few committees there are always a few WhatsApp groups buzzing away in the background, keeping me in touch with anything from YFC Agri to Northern Area Field Day. Our Club at home has a Facebook Messenger group that also has a fair bit of activity on it.

Q. What ways are you all supporting each other?

Due to farming being quite an isolated job things are carrying on as normal in this respect. There are still the social media streams that we usually have as well as phone calls and texts. I feel like if I needed anything a fellow YFC member would soon jump in to help out.

If you are working during the Coronavirus outbreak and would like to profile what you are doing, please email NFYFC.



07 May 2020

NFYFC held its first-ever Isolation Challenge Final Day on Saturday 2 May, in conjunction with the Greatest Online Agricultural Show.

The event recognised five finalists from each of the four Isolation Challenges that NFYFC had hosted in the run up to the final. Members of the Competitions Steering Group helped to choose the final five and then it was over to the public to vote on Instagram and Facebook for their winning entries.

Hundreds of people voted on the photos and videos posted throughout the day and the winners were announced by the Competitions Steering Group Chairman Grace Millbank from Northants FYFC at 8pm in the evening.

Among the winners was Trefegwlys YFC’s entry to the talent Challenge, sponsored by Kuhn. The club had created a compilation video of members miming to different songs that represented their lives in isolation.

Club Chairman Aled Rees said: “The inspiration for the video was to give a reflection on how lockdown is in Trefeglwys, with an entertaining twist. The community and the pubic seem to be enjoying the video greatly during these difficult times.”

Vice Chairman Ed Dungait’s table was voted the best transformation in the YFC Isolation Revamp Challenge, sponsored by Tama and it was Tom Skittery’s photo with the NHS marked out in a field that won the Snapshot challenge.

Christopher Bird, from Beacon YFC, entered his Zoom to 2021 poem and won the YFC Isolation Wordsmith Challenge, sponsored by Farmers Guardian. Comments on his entry suggested that Christopher had captured life as it was now for YFC members.

During the event, there was also a Showstopper Challenge – open to anyone to enter as part of the Greatest Online Agricultural Show. There were nearly 100 cakes entered into the challenge and NFYFC President Charlotte Smith judged them.

Kirsty Allan, 27, from Pennine YFC was crowned the winner for her ‘loo roll’ cake and won a hamper of goodies, courtesy of Carter Jonas.

Charlotte Smith said: ‘It has been amazing, I am so impressed by just how good you all are and it has been genuinely difficult drawing up a list of finalists. But the winner, capturing the spirit of the times, is Kirsty with her loo roll cake.”

Kirsty said the design was inspired by everyone panic buying toilet paper during the lockdown and she wanted to make light of it, especially as he club got involved in a loo roll challenge.

A keen baker, Kirsty’s loo roll took four hours to make and she said she felt ‘overwhelmed’ to have won. “I didn’t think I’d stand a chance! There were loads of amazing cakes entered.  A huge well done to everyone.”

NFYFC is now launching four more challenges for YFC members to get involved with over the coming weeks. For more details see here. 


05 May 2020

Farmers are still working through the Covid-19 outbreak, which means so too are the people working in support functions, such as farm vets. Melissa Bexon, from Uttoxeter YFC shares her experience of supporting farm animals and the industry during the crisis.

Q. Why did you want to be a farm vet?

Being a farmer’s granddaughter, I spent most of my weekends at the farm when I was growing up, helping feed the cows and collecting freshly laid eggs. As I grew older, I got more interested in science but still wanted to stay within the animal sector so decided a veterinary career was the way forward. To get into vet school, I had to do several work experience placements, including lambing, milking and calving. There was something about the ethos of farming that I was drawn towards and so getting accepted into the University of Nottingham helped me achieve what I set out to do.

Q. What is an average day like for you?

No day is the same. There isn’t really an average week, let alone an average day. Obviously pre-booked in visits like routine fertility visits and herd/flock health planning shape a lot of what I do on a weekly basis (not forgetting TB testing!), but you can never plan for the emergency work like caesareans and prolapses. To say it is varied work is an understatement!

Q. What changes have you had to make to your work during the Coronavirus?

I work for Westpoint Farm Vets, which are 100% farm-only (and also owned by VetPartners who are responsible for the care of 20% of farm animals in the UK). The organisation has been exceptional and has provided clear guidelines for new working measures (in line with advice from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Cattle Veterinary Association).

All clinical vets are going out on visits from their own homes (the same as if they were on call). We have had to restrict visits to the ones that are classed as essential – i.e. where animal welfare is implicated if we do not go, routine fertility visits and TB testing – anything pertinent to the food chain.

One major thing that we are having to take into serious consideration when going onto farms is adhering to the 2m social distancing regulations and playing our part in helping stop the spread of the virus. This does mean that we have had to adapt what we would normally do, for example, haltering calves for TB testing, rather than have someone hold them.

Q. How do you feel about working in an essential role during the Coronavirus outbreak?

I feel that, as vets, we only play a minor role during this coronavirus outbreak. Yes, we are tending to sick animals that require treatment, or tending to emergency calls, but it is the farmers that are producing the food for our plates. We just help with that wherever we can – be that by doing fertility visits on dairy (and beef) cows, or pre-movement testing animals to be sold for future breeding.

I am very conscious that for many farmers, a vet such as myself could pose the biggest threat to bringing them into contact with coronavirus, so I ensure I wear appropriate PPE, clean and disinfect my equipment thoroughly and maintain social distancing as well as I possibly can. It is a scary time for us all, but we have to work together and keep the country ticking over.

Q. How do you feel about the essential role British farming is playing throughout the crisis and are you proud to be supporting the industry?

I am extremely proud and privileged to support such a strong and dynamic industry. I believe that all farmers, no matter what they are farming, should be recognised for their hard work and dedication that they put into their jobs, their livelihoods 24/7, 365 days a year. Without farmers we would be in a much poorer position and be looking to face much harder times. What I would stress is, we need to all pull together during these uncertain and difficult times and do as much as we can to support British farming.

Q. Have you kept in contact with your YFC and how are they staying connected to members?

Yes I have, I am part of the club committee so our group chats are still ongoing. Many of my friends are either current or past members of YFC, so I do regularly keep in touch with them. Not only this, my sister is the secretary of Uttoxeter JNFU and her boyfriend is the chairman, so I talk to them over WhatsApp to keep in touch.

If you are a key worker and a member of a YFC and would like to be profiled, please email media@nfyfc.org.uk


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