National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

29 May 2020

As lockdown restrictions change, farmers will need a more flexible approach to finding workers to help harvest crops, and leading labour provider HOPS Labour Solutions – owned by NFYFC – is providing the answer with a new App called Picker.

Thousands of furloughed workers may need to return to work in the next few months, following Government announcements. If businesses are encouraged to re-open, this could impact on the numbers still able to be part of a ‘land army’ to help pick fruit and vegetables.

HOPS’ new App, called Picker offers both farmers and workers the flexibility required during the uncertainty of a pandemic, and allows them to make direct contact with each other.

Thousands of people in the UK rushed to sign up for harvesting roles but many furloughed workers were unable to give a long-term commitment to working on a farm. As restrictions are set to change over the coming months, many of these applicants may need to return to their usual employment.

A more flexible approach to recruitment during the Covid-19 crisis is needed for applicants and farmers alike – and Picker delivers on that need.

Picker makes it simple for a farmer to promote the roles available – that sometimes might be needed at short notice. Farms can state the time period required – and this can be for days, weeks or months. It also allows applicants the ability to restrict locations where they can work and state the length of time they are available for work. This more direct recruitment approach removes the need for a third party and speeds up the application process.

Using technology originally created for the hospitality sector, Picker will allow farms to post shifts, choose their favourite applicant and give the employer and employee the opportunity to rate each other afterwards. The ability to rate workers, offers farmers reassurances about the quality of UK labour they are recruiting

Picker will also automatically handle all payment and HMRC compliant payroll – removing this hassle for farm businesses.

The App also offers a long-term solution for farms looking for temporary labour in the UK – such as students looking for work during the summer months.

The original version of the App was called limber and it reached over 50,000 workers in the hospitality sector and is used by hundreds of businesses from pop ups, to nationwide chains to football stadia. Since Covid-19, the App’s creators had been looking to find new ways to make use of their technology and have now signed an exclusive deal with HOPS to licence the technology, under the brand Picker.

HOPS Operations Director Sarah Boparan said:

“The Covid-19 crisis is causing major problems for the horticultural sector with farmers understandably concerned about a shortfall in their usual labour teams. As one of the leading ethical labour providers in the UK, HOPS is focused on helping farmers get the support they need to harvest their crops during this challenging time.

“We have been overwhelmed by the amazing support from people in Britain who have stepped up to apply to help feed the nation but we quickly identified that farmers and workers are looking for more flexibility during this crisis and a more direct way to see the vacancies available. HOPS is really excited to be working with limber on this project and we believe it opens up long-term opportunities for HOPS beyond the Covid-19 crisis. We are hopeful that more people in the UK have now realised the opportunities available in the sector and will continue to pursue these roles.”

Picker will cost a fixed rate of 15% charged on top of employment costs, which is considerably lower than a traditional recruitment model.

Farmers and workers can download the App now from the Apple and Google Play stores. Find the links here.


28 May 2020

When the usual routes to fundraising for their club were closed off due to Covid-19, members of Threemilestone & District YFC rallied together to come up with new ways to raise funds in lockdown. Now their future is so bright, they're making money from their shades... 

Q. Tell us about your fundraising

We have launched a website to sell YFC merchandise such as sunglasses and keyrings; and to manage virtual fundraisers. Most people are comfortable online shopping and the website is an easy way for us to receive money remotely. Digital connection has gone mad during the crisis – many people are spending more time on social media; this is an effective way for us to advertise products and events.

We are arranging an online dog show with serious and fun classes – something for everyone. A professional judge will make their decision based on photographs. If this is successful, we would like to host other online shows such as beef, sheep and dairy.

It’s such a shame agricultural shows can’t happen like normal this summer. We’re giving people another platform to showcase their animals and have some fun preparing. 

Also, we are continuing with our quarterly supporters draw. Usually, the winners would be drawn at a fundraising event. Instead we are recording and sharing the draws on social media. This time we used a feeder wagon as a giant lottery machine to choose the winners.

Q. How will you be using your fundraising money?

Fundraising to buy our club hall site remains our focus. Threemilestone & District YFC are fortunate to own our club hall building but we do not own the site. We now have the chance to purchase it and we are in our second year of fundraising towards the purchase price, £52,000. We are delighted to have raised 80% of our target so far from successful events and donations.

Q. What advice would you give to other clubs about fundraising during social distancing restrictions?

Be inventive, get tech savvy, take charge, keep in touch and stay passionate. 

Lockdown has had a huge impact on our fundraising campaign and several plans have needed to change and adapt. Many things are more easily achieved in person, after all it’s what we are used to, but it’s not impossible from a distance. We have found new ways to communicate and promote ourselves using apps and social media.

It is harder to share tasks from a distance. You must be organised and communicate well.

Q. How have you kept your members motivated and connected?

The toilet roll challenge was a brilliant start to lockdown – thank you to the club that invented it! To co-ordinate ours we created a huge group chat including all our members. We continue to use this to share ideas and keep in touch with everyone.

All the members can stay involved. The sunglasses were designed collaboratively, the members voted on the colours and slogans. The two most popular choices are what we have for sale. Our members love them – and we hope other Young Farmers will too.

We have weekly meetings on Zoom – the same time and day we would usually have club nights. In lieu of our programme, we have done many fun activities this way including scavenger hunts, Guess Who and bingo. We have found it a great way to stay connected.

We finish each meeting with a brief update on fundraising and key messages about club.

Regular updates on the sales of sunglasses or number of entries in the show encourage all members to keep promoting as we enjoy being successful and have pride in our club.

Our advice to others would be to keep it fun. Many members have other commitments and busy lifestyles. Remember, YFC is voluntary – people need to want to do it.   

Q. Which has been your most successful lockdown fundraiser?

The sunglasses have been very popular. We’ve sold nearly 100 already, and they’ve only been available online for one week! It’s so exciting each time we’re notified of a new sale. Some larger fundraisers have been postponed but we are happy to still be making progress in tough times.

Please visit our website to purchase your sunglasses (£5 each) or enter the dog show (£2 per class).

Find us on Facebook ‘Threemilestone & District Young Farmers Club fundraising for our future’ and Instagram ‘tms_yfc’.


28 May 2020

Understanding the key issues affecting rural young people today and their views on what needs to change post-Brexit, is the aim of new research that is being launched by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC).

The survey, which is funded by Defra, will be launched on 10 June during an online breakfast reception at 9am at Cereals LIVE2020. YFC AGRI Chairman George Baxter from Cambridgeshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs will host the reception, which is supported by KUHN Farm Machinery UK. 

This new research, led by Rose Regeneration and NFYFC, aims to ensure young people living and working in rural areas, next generation farmers and land managers have the opportunity to highlight their key concerns around accessibility of skills and services. The results of the survey will help to ensure rural young people’s needs are recognised in post-Brexit rural policies and life beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

YFC AGRI Chairman George Baxter said: “If you’re a young person living or working in a rural environment, do you have access to the essential opportunities, skills and services you need both now and in the future? These are important questions I’m proud that YFC AGRI is playing a key role in, giving rural young people the opportunity to have their say at such a critical time in all our lives. The survey will complement our AGRI Ambition paper and help us to share the concerns and aspirations of our many YFC members and supporters.”

“As we have had to change this survey launch to a ‘virtual’ breakfast reception at Cereals, I’d love to see as many people as possible share their photos on social media of their breakfasts made using British produce and use hashtags #BritishFoodisGreat #CerealsLIVE2020 #YFCAGRI.”

NFYFC’s breakfast reception was due to be held at Cereals in Cambridgeshire but has now moved to an online platform for a virtual event due to the Covid-19 crisis. YFC AGRI has been working with the organisers of Cereals to help develop an exciting young farmer programme and YFC members will play an active part in the online sessions.

Cereals LIVE’s young farmer programme offers a range of seminars and events including exploring future business opportunities and careers, business innovation and building your route into a tenancy.

The event is free for members to join and they can even visit exhibitors virtually.

Winding up the show on 11 June at 7pm, George and fellow agronomist and Somerset FYFC Chairman Tom Pope join farmer and columnist Joe Stanley and RABI’s Suzy Deeley for an interactive talk - What's on your mind?  You can share questions with the guests beforehand and take part in a frank discussion about physical, mental and financial wellbeing – particularly pertinent during the current pandemic.

For more information about Cereals LIVE 2020 and to register for the event, visit here


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



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