National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

28 May 2020

It’s show season – or at least it should be… But Young Farmers’ Clubs around the country are still showing off their skills in a socially distant way by competing in virtual County events. 

In the week that should have been the Staffordshire County Show, the highlight of the rural calendar in Staffordshire, members have been entering virtual competitions – including a creative take on the annual Floats Competition – using decorated shoeboxes instead!

Liv Larsson from Ashley YFC won the shoebox challenge, out of 17 entries, with her ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get me out of here! entry, which included familiar faces superimposed on the contestants.

In total Staffordshire hosted five competitions on its Facebook page throughout the week and involved NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry to assist with the judging of the shoebox challenge.

Dewi said: “The competition standard has been immense, all 17 entries were fabulous and everyone made a great amount of effort!”

Elsewhere, Devon FYFC managed to move their annual Show and Sale to an online format – within just a couple of weeks.

“We are so lucky to have a great team working at the Devon YFC office, including Dan Grist and our competitions chair Michelle Batting,” said  Devon AGRI Chairman Helen Bellew.

“The Kivells agricultural team at Exeter Livestock Centre usually host the event, but still judged all the classes and provided prize money for the champion classes. Showing online required just as much time and effort from members to prepare stock before photos were taken and entries submitted. A lot of work goes into selecting the right stock, feeding and halter training which certainly showed.”

The new format attracted just under 100 entries and was sponsored by Mole Valley Farmers.

Helen added: “Winning the supreme champion Mole Valley Farmers Cup is always a huge honour and congratulations to Honiton YFC’s Mark Pearce.”

Meanwhile, Lincolnshire FYFC have also used their Facebook page to hold a series of competitions throughout the week, including carpool karaoke, scrapbooks, ‘best club memory’, Youth Forum posters and yearbook cover designs.

Well done to all the County Federations that are coming up with innovative ways to keep YFCs connected. Please keep telling us about your activities by emailing media@nfyfc.org.uk.



28 May 2020

Helping others in a time of need has been a priority for members of Wragby YFC who are helping to ensure that everyone in their local community can put food on the table during Covid-19 by being part of a local food bank. Wragby YFC Chairman Beth Alford explains.   

Q. How did your support of the food bank start?

The food bank was set up specifically for Covid-19. I was contacted by the operators of Wragby ChEF (Children Eat Free); a charity providing free lunches for kids in Wragby during the school holidays. They had identified a need for a food bank in the community but needed volunteers to help run the service and thought Young Farmers might be able to help. The service operates every Monday and Thursday from 11am-2pm and is open for people to drop off donations or to collect an essentials package that lasts a few days.

Q. Has the Food Bank seen an increase in the numbers of people needing support?

As more members of the community have found out about the food bank there has been an increase in the number of households that it supports. The first session was held on 16 April and since then we've supplied a large number of parcels which have helped around 25 different households.

Q. How many members are involved?

We have three members involved in running the sessions. On a Monday me and my partner volunteer, and our Club Secretary Lorna Garrill and active member Alice Hauton volunteer on Thursdays. We wanted to keep the number of people involved fairly small to reduce the risk of cross contamination.

Q. What kind of things do you do?

We created a poster to advertise the food bank before it launched, which was shared on social media and displayed around the village. 

We are responsible for organising the donations into stock rotation order and we create the collection packages. Packages vary in size, depending on the number of people in the household - typical items include baked beans, tinned tomatoes, tinned vegetables, pasta/rice, cereal, tea/coffee, sugar, tinned fish, long-life milk – and other items will vary according to what has been donated, such as bread, potatoes, biscuits and tinned fruit. We're extremely grateful to have had so many donations from kind members of the community, from the donation point at Wragby Co-op and also the FareShare charity. In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines we ask recipients to wait behind a table outside the room while their package is created. Once complete we bring them out, place them on the table and ask the recipient to come forward and collect.

Q. How have you found the experience?

We have all found it very rewarding, as without the food bank some households would be finding this situation even more difficult, so it's good to know we are helping even in just a small way. As YFC is such a community focused organisation it is nice to feel like we are giving something back. 

Q. Would you recommend helping others during the crisis?

We would definitely recommend helping others if you're in position to do so. We are lucky in that none of the active members helping out have had any symptoms and so haven't had to isolate at home. Helping others is a great use of the extra time we have on our hands.

Q. How else has your YFC being staying connected?

During Covid-19 our club completed the 'Loo Roll Challenge' which was great fun and got mentioned on BBC Look North, which was fantastic! We've had a couple of virtual meetings and got involved in some of the national isolation challenges, for example the Isolation Snapshot. More recently we've taken part in the Lincolnshire Young Farmers' Online Rally! Members have completed some of the exhibition classes and submitted them virtually – we are looking forward to seeing which club wins the 'Covid Cup'! 

If you have been helping out during the Covid-19 pandemic and would like to share your story, please email media@nfyfc.org.uk.


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.



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