National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

31 July 2020

After 16 weeks of YFC at Home live chats with members on a Friday night on Facebook, NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry will host his final session tonight (31 July) at 8pm. 

YFC at Home was launched at the start of lockdown to help YFC members stay connected to the organisation while they were unable to physically meet in clubs. Isolation challenges, online activities, Challenge Final Days and activity packs for younger members were shared alongside guidance for farming members, mental health support and advice for club committees on hosting meetings online and supporting communities safely.

Dewi decided to share weekly updates on Facebook about YFC at Home activities and also as a way of uniting YFC members across England and Wales who were missing their weekly meetings. 

"It started off as a way to share news and updates from NFYFC but I also wanted it to be a place where members could ask questions, say hello to each other and to feel like YFC was still there for them – despite all the changes that were happening. It was a challenging time for everyone being in lockdown and it was important to show new ways of connecting after being forced into isolation," said Dewi who has recognised the efforts of clubs and counties in his weekly briefing. 

As clubs in England can now plan to re-open, Dewi felt the time was right to end his popular Friday night chats. It is hoped that guidance from the Welsh government will be published soon and clubs in Wales will shortly be able to start planning as well. 

"It will feel like the end of an era," laughed Dewi. "I've certainly had some issues with connectivity – let's not mention my failed attempts to share screens with other members to live chat with them! But it has also helped me to stay connected with YFC and I have enjoyed those 15 mins on a Friday night knowing other members were joining me and hopefully getting some comfort from it." 

While Dewi is stopping his YFC at Home chats for now, he's aware of the uncertain year ahead for YFCs and says he's expecting virtual meetings and announcements to become the norm. 

"In the space of a few months, YFCs – like many other organisations – went virtual. Zoom meetings are now commonplace and I think they will become part of our new reality – hopefully alongside some physical meetings too. We have found some new ideas and ways to communicate online effectively during this period – but I know that most YFC members are eager to get back to doing what they love – competing with their YFC friends and meeting (safely) in their usual locations. I can't wait to see this happen too." 

You can join Dewi Parry tonight (31 July 2020 ) at 8pm on NFYFC's Facebook page for his farewell YFC at Home live chat.  

 

 


31 July 2020

Virtual bake offs, games nights and a summer programme of YFC activity have kept members of Enderby YFC in Leicestershire connected during an extended lockdown but plans are now underway to meet again. In the first of our profiles on clubs meeting again after lockdown Club Chairman Gemma Mooney (pictured) shares Enderby’s experience over the last few months.

News that clubs in England can re-open in a Covid-secure way from September was welcomed across the Federation after months of only being able to connect with each other online. It is hoped that clubs in Wales will be able to plan their re-opening soon too. The challenge is now on for club committees to secure venue spaces and plan YFC activities that keep everyone safe.

Enderby YFC in Leicestershire has been meeting virtually throughout lockdown and has even started a summer programme for the first time to help its members stay connected throughout the restrictions. They are hoping to physically meet again from September. 

“With the success and enjoyment of our #YFCAtHome Zoom meetings each week we wanted to ensure we continued to prevent our members feeling more isolated especially as Leicester entered a local lockdown; we became a lifeline,” explains Club Chairman Gemma Mooney.  “It was our Juniors that led the request that we made the summer meetings fun. Hence the first ever summer programme. As the only club in Leicestershire to continue meeting virtually each week during the Covid-19 restrictions, our members have embraced the summer meetings with great enthusiasm. We worked with our members to accommodate their requests for meeting ideas and members’ families also got involved.”

The club is currently researching venue spaces that can accommodate the club while the Covid restrictions are in place.

“Being a small club of 15, mainly made up of junior members, our biggest challenge will be maintaining social distance with the excitement of physically meeting one another again as we haven't met face to face since early March,” added Gemma.  “The new year will be challenging and very different to the norm, however, we will embrace the restrictions and adjust to make the year enjoyable and eventful. We are trying to plan our meetings so that they can be held virtually or in-person to minimise disruption to our programme, such as guest speakers, games nights etc.”

For more advice and support on re-opening your YFC, see here.  

Enderby YFC’s lockdown highlights

1. We went international as our Chairwoman Gemma relocated home to be with her family during lockdown, our meetings were chaired from Ireland!

2. Covid didn't stop us preparing for Leicestershire's Virtual Rally; our tiny club (the smallest in Leicestershire) competed against the larger clubs to get placed 2nd overall! This is a superb achievement and a credit to the members and their families, boosting our drive to make 2019/2020 a successful year!

3. Tuesday evenings went virtual and were filled with chit-chat, enthusiasm and laughter as we all participated in activities such as Go-Fetch, Quizzes, Bingo, Games Nights, learning about each other's hobbies and we even managed a virtual Curve with our neighbouring club!

4. The highlights of our Summer Programme include growing our membership and a meeting from our members’ kitchens as we participated in the Enderby YFC Bake Night with each member rewarded with their own delicious treat!

5. Check out our Facebook page to see what else we got up to! 



30 July 2020

You could win a £100 e-gift card for luxury knitwear and country clothing company Alan Paine just by sharing your views on rural life.

NFYFC has partnered with Alan Paine to offer everyone who completes the online post-Brexit rural futures survey the chance to win this amazing prize to treat themselves to some stylish new country clothing.

The clothing company is eager to support the survey as the results will help to ensure rural young people’s needs are recognised in post-Brexit rural policies and life beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Everyone who completes the survey – and all those who have already done so – will automatically be entered into the prize draw to win the £100 e-gift card.

AGRI Chairman George Baxter said: “We’re really grateful to Alan Paine for supporting this important survey by offering a prize to encourage more people to complete it. It’s so important that young rural people take this opportunity to share their concerns about their future rural lives. Don’t miss out on the chance to have your say – and also the chance to win a great prize too!”

You can complete the survey and enter the prize draw online here.

Terms and conditions:

  • The prize is an Alan Paine E-Gift Card worth £100 (the “Prize”).
  • The Alan Paine E-Gift Card may be registered, redeemed and used in accordance with the Alan Paine website terms and conditions, a copy of which can be found at the website.
  • Alan Paine E-Gift Cards can only be used on the Alan Paine website. 
  • The Alan Paine E-Gift Card will expire 12 months from its date of issuance and must be redeemed by the winner prior to such date.
  • Gifts, prizes and other promotional items are not transferable, may not be re-sold and are subject to availability. The Promoter and Alan Paine Knitwear Ltd reserve the right, in their reasonable discretion, to substitute any such gift, prize or item with a gift, prize or item of equal value.
  • Alan Paine accepts no responsibility for any costs associated with the Prize not specifically included in the Prize.


29 July 2020

More than 200 entries were received for Devon’s online County Show – an alternative to the popular event that’s usually held at the showground in Exeter but was this year cancelled due to Coronavirus.

YFC members in Devon didn’t let the virus ruin their competition fun because everyone was able to enter classes online instead.

Held across three days in July, the online event showcased members' talents, from club videos promoting British agriculture, to individual entries such as cake decorating, needlework and floristry.

Out of the 19 different classes, with 243 entries, judges chose to award Katie Grist, from Cheriton & Tedburn YFC, the ‘Best in Show’ for her woodwork entry.

Michelle Batting, Devon FYFC’s Competitions Chairman, said: “We wanted to recreate the fantastic show of YFC talent that the show provides online, with various classes for members to enter and partake in as we usually would. This gave members something to keep them occupied during lockdown and enabled us to keep some small sense of normality in these strange times."

As well as showcasing members’ talents from home, the show also included demonstration videos. John Malseed from Chagford YFC provided a sheep shearing demonstration, explaining what the judges look for during a shearing competition. Fran Mobbs from Newton St Cyres YFC gave a demonstration on butter making – a competition that would have previously taken place in the YFC tent during the show. 

Sophie Pratt from Withleigh YFC, who was awarded the Senior Award for most points overall, said the online alternative was a great replacement to the real thing.

“Rally season is one of the highlights of the Young Farmers’ year for me so the announcement of DFYFC’s Online Show was met with great enthusiasm. The initiative was a fantastic way to adapt and will be one for the history books. Watching the entries and results come in virtually was a very exciting and engaging way to view everybody’s creations!”

Devon FYFC also hosted an online Agri-Debate webinar, supported by NFU Mutual and chaired by David Fursdon, Lord Lieutenant of Devon and Devon YFC President. The debate asked “Driving production or the environment; what takes priority for farming?” and panellists included Devon YFC’s Agri-Chairman Helen Bellew; organic farmer and former Devon YFC County Chairman, Liz Priest; Farm Manager at Clinton Devon Estates, Sam Briant-Evans; and Cornwall NFU Chairman.

John Varley, Director of Clinton Devon Estates, who is a key supporter of the Devon YFC Feature at the show, expressed his support for the online alternative: “Devon YFC represents the next generation of farmers, at probably one of the most exciting and transitional times for agriculture for many decades. To top it all, we now have a global pandemic, which has meant the Devon County Show cannot go ahead. But the resilience of Devon Young Farmers has come to the fore, carrying on with an Online Show.”

To catch up on the show you can check out Devon YFC’s Facebook and Instagram pages, or read the full list of results on Devon FYFC’s website


28 July 2020

Plans for a new professional body that will support a skilled workforce in agriculture and horticulture are underway and NFYFC has contributed to its development.

The aim of the professional body is to be the go-to place for key information that encourages lifelong learning. It would make the best use of information to achieve skills for on farm improvements and demonstrate the career opportunities in the sector.

The concept has been developed by the Agri-Hort Skills Leadership Group (SLG), which was set up in 2018 and has involved NFYFC. The SLG, which is sponsored by Lord Donald Curry, considered how to best inspire and support those currently farming and growing to acquire new skills and also to attract new talent.

It has advanced its work through industry-led groups on professional framework, including continuing professional development and careers and recruitment.

NFYFC is an advocate of the acquisition of skills and training for its YFC members and has been involved in the Agri-Skills Forum, Agri-Skills Forum Management group and latterly the Agri-Skills Development Strategy for many years. 

Chairman of the NFYFC Board of Management Delme Harries has attended recent meetings and said:

“The aims of the strategy group are a commitment to the long-term vision of gaining external recognition of the professionalism within the industry, and building on this through continuous professional development and lifelong learning.”

The SLG has also held consultation events ahead of the Covid-19 lockdown, including one with the NFU Next Generation Forum at the Oxford Farming Conference Fringe in January. The 200 attendees at this event gave 97% support for the work and concept of a professional body. 

There was also broad agreement for the professional body at a roundtable event at the House of Lords in early March and subsequent meetings with individual institutions have also been constructive.

All the work has been undertaken with the support of AHDB, NFU and also Defra officials.

Following a Ministerial proposal to Defra in June, the SLG is now working with Defra to establish the next steps to develop the proposal.  Over the next few months, a consultation group for the professional body, which is in the process of being established, will meet to inform further developments.

To find out more about the development of the professional body visit here. You can also register for updates here and tick the subscription option for 'Future of skills'.



28 July 2020

Five of the 11 new farmers chosen by the NFU to join the Student & Young Farmer Ambassador Programme are YFC members and will help to represent the future generation of British farmers over the next 12 months.

This is the second year that the NFU has run the programme and the 11 farmers beat off stiff competition from more than 130 applicants. YFC AGRI has been pleased to welcome student ambassadors to join the regular YFC AGRI Zoom meetings this year and looks forward to continuing this relationship.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “We were delighted with the first year of our Student & Young Farmer Ambassador Programme. Those taking part played a vital role in helping us tell the incredible story of British farming at public events, in magazines and across national, regional and trade media and on social media.

“This new group of ambassadors will be representing British farming at a unique and critical point in time for our industry. This autumn will see the formation of a new Agriculture Bill, a new Environment Bill and a new Trade Bill. And from the start of 2021, UK agriculture is going to be finding its feet in a new world outside of the EU and we will need this next generation of farmers to be advocates, representing a bright and progressive future for farming

“It’s great to see these young people already making their mark in the farming industry and reaching out to different audiences to share our Back British Farming message. The programme aims to give them a fantastic opportunity to amplify their voice and I can’t wait to start working with them.”

The NFU’s Student & Young Farmer Ambassadors for 2020/2021 are:

Zoe Legg, South West – young farmer and social media campaigner (Member of Devon FYFC)

Karl Franklin, South East – former chef and new entrant sheep farmer (Member of Oxfordshire FYFC)

Nia Borsey, Wales – rural planner and newspaper columnist (Member of Betws-yn-Rhos YFC)

Lauren David, Wales – livestock farmer and University of Reading student (Member of Maendy FYFC)

Josie Troop, East Midlands – agri-education advocate (Member of Nottinghamshire FYFC)

Matthew Rollason, North West – beef farmer and British Farming Awards winner

Joe Bramall, North West – dairy farmer, YouTuber and Harper Adams student

Cameron Knee, North East – agri-consultant and agronomist

Katie Smith, West Midlands – new entrant farmer and Harper Adams student

Harriet Bartlett, East Anglia – University of Cambridge PhD student

Eveey Hunter, East Anglia – arable farmer with a passion for education.

NFYFC Chairman Dewi Parry said: “It’s great to see so many YFC members among this line up of young people chosen to represent the next generation of farmers. All the ambassadors will have some amazing opportunities over the next year and we hope they will all continue to share those experiences with the YFC community too. Congratulations to everyone who has been successful.”

 





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