National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

01 December 2020

When fundraising plans were scuppered by COVID, Colchester YFC’s President Guy French kindly stepped in with an idea that would bring festive joy. He donated 20 Christmas trees, grown on his farm, to the club to sell in the local area. Colchester Club Secretary Belle Gardner explained their idea

Q. Why did you want to do this fundraiser? 

A. Like every YFC, the Coronavirus pandemic has been tough for us. We had to cancel a lot of our fundraising activities at the beginning of the year, meaning we couldn’t raise as much as we wanted for our charities – ABF The Soldiers Charity and Prostate Cancer UK.

Our president Guy French runs Foxes Farm Produce with his wife and they grow and sell Christmas trees. We were at a committee meeting trying to come up with some fundraising ideas and Guy kindly said he would donate 20 Christmas trees for us to sell.

As well as selling the trees, we will also be offering a tree collection service after Christmas. We will charge customers for this service – with the money being donated to charity.

A few of our members will collect the trees in January and these will be taken by one of our members to be used on a game shoot.

Q. Have any of the members been involved in growing the trees?

A. The Farm and business, Foxes Farm Produce, belongs to our President and his family. Every year a number of our members go down to the farm to help them harvest the trees and some of them also help sell the trees at the farm as well.

Q. Where can people buy your trees from?

A. They can contact us through our Facebook page

01 December 2020

The Government has unveiled its plans for future farming in England, which includes developing support for new entrants.

The Path to Sustainable Farming – An Agricultural Transition Plan 2021-2024 maps out a range of topics for ongoing co-design and engagement work, including emerging plans for an Environmental Land Management (ELM) national pilot in 2021, enhanced animal welfare, a future regulatory system, farming investment fund grants and opportunities for new entrants. There are also plans to introduce an ‘exit’ scheme to help farmers to retire.

The transitional plan outlines changes that will come into force over a period of seven years to help farmers adapt and plan for the future.

During 2020 Defra will share more detailed information about the ELM scheme national pilot and invite expressions of interest early in 2021. Co-design and workshops will also take place for further work on enhanced animal welfare, a future regulatory system, farming investment fund, a tree health pilot and opportunities for new entrants. There will be an animal health stakeholder event in 2021 and continued research and development stakeholder engagement for a scheme launch in 2022. Further consultations are planned for 2021 on welfare labelling, slurry, proposed lump sum exit scheme, pesticides, dairy contracts and producer organisations.

The changes will be designed to ensure that by 2028, farmers in England can sustainably produce healthy food profitably without subsidy, whilst taking steps to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions. 

Next year marks the start of the transition from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) towards new policies that will be co-designed and tested together with farmers, land managers and experts, to ensure that the new systems work for them.

Many YFC members have already taken part in consultations to discuss the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, which will incentivise sustainable farming practices, create habitats for nature recovery and establish new woodland to help tackle climate change.

The plan also includes details on improved training for farmers. Due to the varying levels of skills provision for agriculture, the government will contribute towards the establishment of a new professional body, the Institute for Agriculture and Horticulture.

This will be the home of professional development and training for the agriculture and horticulture industry in England and a new T Level qualification in Agriculture, Land Management and Production is to be offered from 2023.

It is hoped that the new Institute could offer opportunities for those wanting to enter the industry via different career routes.

Also outlined in the plan is the promise of funding for equipment and technology that will improve a farm business and the environment through a Farming Investment Fund. It will be based on the Countryside Productivity Scheme, with a similar application process.

The new roadmap comes a few weeks after the government’s landmark Agriculture Bill passed into law. To see the plan in full, visit here. Defra’s ‘Farming is Changing’ publication summarises the content of the plan, and is aimed at farmers and land managers. 


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