National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

06 October 2020

Leading farming organisations have come together to set out their proposals for future government policy that can form the foundation of sustainable farming in England for generations to come.

The NFU, CLA, TFA, GWCT, LEAF, Sustainable Food Trust, RABDF, Commercial Farmers Group, National Sheep Association and NFYFC have proposed a ‘Sustainable Food and Farming Scheme’ that should form the scope and approach of the government’s forthcoming ELMs programme.

The proposal sets out that the new scheme should command the interest of the vast majority of farmers and land managers, and each agreement should be driven by the aspiration and capability of each farm business.

In a joint statement from the organisations, they said: “Farmers, growers and land managers across the country are passionate about their dual role as food producers and custodians of the countryside. We want to be known at home and abroad for the standards of our environmental, land and livestock management.

“This proposal sets out key elements of what we think a successful public benefit scheme should look like. It’s important as ELMs will be a key part of the new agricultural policy. 

“As representatives of British farming, we wanted to produce a scheme that can provide a roadmap for government of how to best harness the potential of British agriculture to produce food and care for our environment, wildlife, land and animals.

“Fundamentally, we do not want farmers or land managers to face the dilemma of producing food or conserving their land. Our shared goal is that farming should be to grow food, fibre and energy, while delivering more for the environment and biodiversity.

“That is why our Sustainable Food and Farming Scheme outlines how farming can be both competitive and environmentally responsible, incentivising actions that grow productivity with less environmental impact. It is, in a word, sustainable.

“We all truly want to work with government to make sure our future agricultural policy can deliver for the British public for decades to come. We already have fantastic standards, from our environmental delivery to our animal welfare, but we are eager to do more. We believe this scheme provides the foundation to do just that.”

02 October 2020

Only 100 spaces are available for YFC members to sign up to an online agri debate featuring NFYFC President and world-renowned rugby referee Nigel Owens.

The YFC AGRI event, called Different Ways of Doing the Same Thing, will be hosted during National Young Farmers’ Week on 28 October at 7.30pm and feature a range of farming and rural topics highlighted in the recent YFC AGRI research findings.

More than 500 people took part in the online survey, which is being analysed by Rose Regeneration, and YFC members were also involved in telephone interviews to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on YFCs and farming.

Key topics in the survey cover rural housing issues, broadband connectivity, views on the future of farming, wellbeing and skills and training.

Alongside Nigel Owens, other panellists so far include Somerset FYFC’s County Chairman and Vice Chairman of AGRI Tom Pope and Rose Regeneration Managing Director Ivan Annibal. The debate will be chaired by YFC AGRI Chairman George Baxter from Cambridgeshire FYFC.

George said: “We’re delighted to welcome Nigel Owens to YFC AGRI’s online debate and include him in this important discussion. The results of the surveys give a clear picture of how young people feel about their farming and rural future and we will be sharing these findings at the start of National Young Farmers’ Week ahead of our debate.

“We only have 100 spaces available, so hurry if you want to be part of this exclusive event, where you can pose questions to the panel, including Nigel.”

Limited spaces are available to join the live debate and members can register for free here. Spaces will be issued on a first come, first served basis and it is expected to be a popular event. 

02 October 2020

Food businesses have faced incredible challenges during the pandemic and Pastry Chef and Chocolatier Zoe Anderson lost most of her business overnight when lockdown was announced. Zoe explains how she’s diversified to stay afloat.

Q. What is your job?

I am a self-employed Pastry Chef and Chocolatier running my own business Tiers of Joy Patisserie.

Q. Has the Coronavirus impacted your work?

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, 90% of my work disappeared overnight on 23 March. All but one of the other businesses I supply had to close and I was unable to go into people’s homes to deliver afternoon teas or host workshops.

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

I had started doing additional training with IAgSA (The Institute of Agricultural Secretaries and Administrators) prior to lockdown in February to broaden my rural business administration and bookkeeping skills – and to have an additional line of work. Initially lockdown meant the training was postponed, which brought me back to square one. However, the training courses have started being delivered by Zoom, which has worked fantastically well and given me something to look forward to each week. I hope that as restrictions start to ease, I will be able to start supplying local businesses with my products again but if I can’t, then I know I can find other work to keep me afloat. 

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

Not only is British farming continually supplying the nation with great British produce, it is also offering job opportunities to furloughed workers. I hope lockdown has encouraged more people to support their local butchers, farm shops and greengrocers and in turn taught the public to think about where their food comes from.

Q. With growing concerns about food shortages – what would your message be to people about this?

Support your local farm shops, greengrocers, bakers and butchers! Local shops using local produce will not run out of food and more often than not they will be able to give you a much more personal shopping experience than a supermarket. Supporting British farming has never been more important.

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

My YFC club was meeting via Zoom every week, doing scavenger hunts round the house and quizzes. I have only managed to join in twice, but they all seem to be having great fun. We have also had a couple of management meetings over Zoom as a County, including our AGM. It was nice to see people, even if it was only through a screen.

Q. What ways are you all supporting each other?

Social media can be a great way to stay in contact and let people know about snippets of your day but I do think picking up the phone for a chat is the best way to support each other.

01 October 2020

Changes to the YFC competitions programme are being made to ensure that every YFC member can still have the opportunity to get involved, even if there are Covid-19 restrictions in place.

The safety of members during the pandemic is paramount and certain competitions have been adapted or removed from the 2020-21 programme due to Covid-19 regulations.

A new YFC Talent competition has been launched to replace the Performing Arts competition. Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions are making it impractical to put on a full stage performance this year, so the Pantomime competition has been removed from the programme.

Instead, the YFC Talent competition will be direct entry from County Federations to NFYFC and teams can be between one and six people. The final will be held either virtually or face-to-face if restrictions allow. The rules and full Covid-Secure guidance on taking part in this competition will be sent to counties.

The Beef and Pigs, Live and Carcase Stockjudging competition, which was due to take place at the English Winter Fair, will now be hosted online in conjunction with the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society from 16-21 November. The competition is sponsored by Rutland Fencing and AHDB is offering prize money. More information on this competition can be found here.

UK Cheer has advised that as cheerleading is a contact sport, YFC should remove this from the competitions programme for this year.

Commercial Dance is being reviewed at the moment to offer advice to competing members about rehearsing and avoiding contact with others during dance routines.

NFYFC is following guidance and seeking regular updates from governing bodies about the Kwik cricket, football and netball competitions to ensure that members can safely compete.

NFYFC is also in regular contact with the Tug of War Association and will keep members informed about any changes to the situation with Tug of War practice in the new year.

All other competitions are continuing with Counties already starting County competing rounds. Public Speaking competitions are underway – with Counties restricting the number of people in a room at one time and ensuring teams leave the venue before the next team arrives.

Should restrictions tighten further, the competitions steering group are also suggesting ways that competitions can be held virtually. Counties are also being asked to film certain entries at their finals in case these need to be submitted for the national final to account for any restrictions that may be put in place at that time.

Competitions Steering Group Chairman Grace Millbank said: “The YFC community has already missed out on so many competition finals in 2020 so we are determined to make sure YFC members can do what they love doing best in this new membership year. It might all look slightly different due to Covid-19 restrictions but there will be competitions and we will be holding national finals so that YFC members can get the recognition they deserve.

“If the Challenge Finals Days proved anything during lockdown, it’s that YFC members are a creative and talented bunch who can make the best of a difficult situation. I can’t wait to see what YFC members have in store for us this year and we will do all we can to ensure your hard work is promoted.”

The updated Competitions Programme is available on the website here and NFYFC is consulting with County Federations to help explain any changes to the programme. 

01 October 2020

NFYFC’s national live and carcase stockjudging competition will be held online this November, in conjunction with the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society, after the cancellation of the English Winter Fair, where the competition was due to be hosted.

The virtual contest, which is sponsored by Rutland Electric Fencing, will follow the same format as the live event but competitors will be asked to view cattle online and submit their reasons to the judges via video.

National finalists will be asked to judge four beef cattle and four pigs, as well as four beef and pig carcases. Video recordings of the cattle and carcases will be made available for finalists to view for a limited time and then entrants will be asked to record their reasons and submit them to the judges.

The timetable for the event will run as follows:

Monday 16 November 

Release Beef Live & Carcase Videos to competitors

Tuesday 17 November 

Release Pig Live & Carcase Videos to competitors

Wednesday 18 November

Entries close for the Beef Live & Carcase 6pm

Thursday 19 November 

Entries close for the Pig Live & Carcase 6pm

Place Marks to be sent to the Judges

Judges to Mark the Beef Live and & Carcase Entries.

Friday 20 November

Placing Marks to be sent to the Judges

Judges to Mark the Pig Live and & Carcase Entries.

Saturday 21 November

Judges to give their feedback to the competitors at 7pm

Results at 8pm.

Five trophies are available for the winning teams, including the Smithfield trophies, Mark Madders Trophy, Bob Williams Trophy and the overall John Spear Trophy for the highest scoring team.

All winning competitors will receive prize cards and certificates of achievement and AHDB are also offering prize money for the winners.

Competitions Steering Group Chairman Grace Millbank said: “It’s fantastic that we can still host this competition and we’re already seeing County Federations organising their county rounds at the moment using online formats. We know everyone will miss the excitement of being at the English Winter Fair but this is the safest way to run the competition this year and means everyone can still get to practise their skills and enjoy that sense of achievement by taking part in this popular YFC competition.”

For more information about taking part in the Stockjudging competition and to download the rules visit the Beef live and carcase page and Pigs live and carcase page


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