National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

27 January 2021

Four YFC members have put themselves forward for the top positions on the NFYFC Council and will stand for election in February, which for the first time will be held online. 

Rachel Goldie from Great Smeaton YFC in Yorkshire has served as Vice Chairman of Council for the last two years and is now standing for the position of Chairman of Council, unopposed.

The 27-year old has been a YFC member for 15 years and, if elected, she will follow in the footsteps of her father – dairy farmer Alan Goldie – who was national chairman in 1996-97.

There are three YFC members vying for the two vice chairmen positions this year. They include current national Vice Chairman Ed Dungait from Northumberland FYFC, Marcus Bailey from Essex FYFC and Rosie Bennett from Devon FYFC. Read more about the candidates below.

Members of Council will cast their votes for the new officers during an online Zoom meeting, where arrangements have been made to manage the voting procedures. All YFC members should speak to their Council representatives about who they think should lead the Federation so they can vote accordingly.

Dewi Parry, current NFYFC Chairman of Council, said: “It will be the first time we have held the elections of Council officers online but COVID-19 is forcing us into another digital meeting. It has been an honour to be NFYFC Chairman during a very irregular year.

“I wish everyone standing for Council positions the best of luck in the elections and best wishes for the year ahead, which looks set to be another challenging one for YFC and indeed the world.”

The NFYFC Council meeting and elections will take place on Thursday 18 February at 7pm.

Meet the Candidates

Rachel Goldie, 27, Great Smeaton YFC, Yorkshire  

Why are you running for the position of Chairman of Council? 

I feel it is my time to try and give something back to the organisation. Having grown up surrounded by the YFC family who have supported, and upskilled me over the years, I now want to take this opportunity to work with the members to give something back to them and ensure that this fantastic organisation is here for the future.

What do you hope to bring to the role?  

Being a current in-age member myself I feel I have that connection with members and hope to continue the fantastic work that has already been started in bridging the gap in communication.

There have been some big changes within the organisation and challenging times that are ongoing and it’s vital moving forward that we all work together to ensure a future for YFC. I am a very approachable and understanding person and hope that members, parents and supporters of the movement feel that they can come to me with ideas, suggestions and concerns. I have a wealth of knowledge and YFC experiences behind me that I hope will help me in this role. I know that many of us – including myself – are all Zoomed out, but we must keep pushing on. When we do come out the other side of this pandemic and we are all back together at our weekly club meetings, county rallies and other events, it will all have been so worth it!

How long have you been involved in YFC and what roles have you held?

I have been a member since I was 14 years old, joining my local club Great Smeaton in Yorkshire, a club that both my grandfather and father attended. Throughout my time in YFC I have held many secretarial roles from club press reporting, programme and minutes to district secretary and more recently Chair of the development committee at Yorkshire and Vice Chair of NFYFC Council.

Marcus Bailey, 28, Colchester YFC, Essex

Why are you running for the position of Vice Chairman of Council? 

The more I’ve applied myself over the years, the more I’ve wanted to contribute – a never ending cycle that continues to motivate me.

It has been surreal and deeply saddening to see the pain the coronavirus has caused. But it has also been inspiring to see how YFC members have reacted to help those most affected and how all levels of the Federation have adapted to the current way of running. This has further strengthened my belief if you give people opportunities and not hold them back then we will live in a better society.

What do you hope to bring to the role? 

Three important factors, which I believe in with everyday life:

Support British

Whether this be in agriculture, food, drink, manufacturing or any other industry I truly believe that we have some fantastic talent right on our doorstep that we can support with continuing success.

Empowering Youth

If we can empower members to contribute and realise their potential, there will be no limit to what we can achieve as a Federation. This starts from the bottom-up and making sure all members’ voices are heard and included in shaping the future of YFC.

Youth Mental Wellbeing

Mental wellbeing is particularly important to me and in late 2019, I became a Youth Mental Health First Aider to better understand the signs and impacts of poor mental wellbeing and how we can better support members that may be struggling.

How long have you been involved in YFC and what roles have you held?

I was a late starter to NFYFC and this is only my fifth membership year. However, over this time I have been very active and held a number of roles – 24 in total. 

My most notable role is as NFYFC’s Personal Development Steering Group Chairman, which gave me a great understanding of the day to day running of the National Federation. I have also held roles at Area, County and club level – and even got involved in a Junior club in Suffolk (as Essex didn’t have any) so I could understand more about this area of YFC.

Rosie Bennett, 26, Honiton YFC, Devon

Why are you running for the position of Vice Chairman of Council? 

Given the current COVID-19 situation, NFYFC needs the support of its membership to keep the Federation going into the future. I believe we need passionate people at the forefront to ensure our survival and I am not short of passion and enthusiasm for the YFC movement both locally and nationally.

Passion for the YFC movement runs deep within me and I am a true believer that the Federation is all about having fun and making friends for a lifetime, whilst taking part in a vast number of competitions. It is an organisation like no other and one that I am extremely proud to be a part of, I hope it to continue for many generations to come.

What do you hope to bring to the role? 

I am still actively involved as a member of the Federation, which means I will be able to bring a view of the membership to the table. I also have experience through the different levels of YFC.

I am involved in running my home club Honiton YFC and I also help with the intricate running of Devon FYFC as its Vice Chairman. All these skills will be vital to me in the position of NFYFC Vice Chair.

The impact of COVID-19 on NFYFC’s finances will be significant. My experience as an accountant in my professional life will give me a balanced view and help with decisions about the Federation’s finances.

If you want a real member's member as the chair of NFYFC, I think I will be perfect for the role. I will always take the view of the members and ensure that our Federation is what they want and need it to be.   

How long have you been involved in YFC and what roles have you held?

I joined Honiton YFC when I was 14 so I am in my 13th active year as a member and I have been an extremely active member within my club, group and county.

The roles I have held would be too long to list, but my proudest position was as our club stock officer, secretary, treasurer and chairman. I have been Group Secretary and currently I stand as Vice County Chairman along with club exchange officer. All of which I have been and am honoured to do.   

Ed Dungait, 28, Tritlington YFC, Northumberland

Why are you running for the position of Vice Chairman of Council for a second year?

I’ve given the role a good crack this year, but I’m yet to prove the mettle of my pasture. I have learnt, listened, watched, discussed, argued, thanked, apologised, entered, judged, given and received vast amounts for NFYFC, yet have a constant desire for more.

I’ve never been afraid of the odd meeting, which is rather lucky as I’ve attended well over 100 of them on Zoom this year. It’s surprising that we are all still sane at this point, but here we are, vibrant as ever, planning the future of YFC. I’ve made good relations with officers, staff and members and I’d like to continue this year, hopeful of some 3D interaction rather than this tiresome 2D we have become so accustomed to.

Over many years I gave Tritlington and Northumberland YFC all I could, but for NFYFC I have more to offer yet. If I am to be struck down at this late stage, my father might be happy that I’ll be working more, my friends may be happy that I’ll be pubbing more (well, eventually), but it will be forever unknown what a success, or mess, I would have made of the job.

What do you hope to bring to the role this year?

An unconquerable spirit, integrity, dynamism, energy and perseverance. A rational outlook, an open mind, optimism and fairness. A light-hearted, yet accurate input.

How long have you been involved in YFC and what other roles have you held?

It has been 12 years since I joined Tritlington YFC, aged 16. The Trit Trojans have achieved greatness in that time, and I’m proud to have been a part of it. I have also been a club secretary and Chairman, a County Chairman and more recently NFYFC Vice Chairman of Council. I have also been a member of the Board of Management, been part of the Comps Steering Group, and attended al of the other steering group meetings. 


26 January 2021

Technology and innovation were key themes of the Oxford Farming Conference this year and three YFC members experienced the event in its first ever online format.

Jack Seigneury from Lincolnshire FYFC, Jessica Spencer from Nottinghamshire FYFC and NFYFC’s Vice Chairman Ed Dungait from Northumberland FYFC logged on to the one-day virtual conference in January after being awarded an NFYFC Scholarship by the Worshipful Company of Farmers.

The event, called Business as Unusual, was held just seven days after the UK left the EU and amid the pandemic. The online conference platform allowed delegates to meet on virtual tables, change floors taking the elevator and pop up on ‘stage’ to ask the speaker a question.

The three YFC members also enjoyed a training day, organised by McDonald’s and McCain who highlighted the importance of high quality, high welfare, British produce.

Ed, who found the training day useful, said: “The workshop made me realise how often unconscious bias affects the decisions I and others make. There are so many barriers to diversity in the rural landscape and we discussed ways to break these. It has probably improved my character as a result, and I endeavour to continue using the skills and mindset that I have learnt.”

Ed also attended all of the sessions at the OFC event, including listening to a presentation from the Environment Secretary George Eustice who spoke about how gene editing creates the potential to protect the nation’s environment, pollinators and wildlife.

Other sessions included discussions on traceability apps, a science lecture by Research Director at Chatham House Tim Benton on growing the right types of food to feed a population and an emotive session about mental health in agriculture. But it was a talk by sustainability expert John Elkington, that captured Ed’s attention the most.

“He [Elkington] explained that ideas we find extraordinary and ridiculous now will become the norm much sooner than we imagine. The example of carriage drivers being enraged by the invention of umbrellas was worth remembering,” said Ed.

“There was a good explanation of how the human brain is great at imagining incremental changes but terrible at imagining exponential ones. I think that this may be a hindrance to the farming industry in particular, as we are comparatively slow to embrace new technology. Modern advances included renewable energy, vertical farming and fake meat. He also highlighted the great threat to the livestock industry that will come from improved fermented meat production.”

The three scholars also had a chance to meet with HRH The Princess Royal where they discussed YFC, farming topics and issues affecting young people from rural communities.

“It was good to hear the Princess Royal’s interest in YFC and her concerns for members who have struggled to get online during lockdown. I was able to talk about the impact this lack of connectivity had made on people and what NFYFC was doing to promote this issue,” said Ed.

The day was packed with content and learning, with lots for the three scholars to take away and think about. Hearing about the passion for the sector was encouraging for Ed who felt it had helped shift his mindset from largely concentrating on the financial returns of his venture.

One of the most enlightening parts of the conference for Ed was a group discussion on how the industry could recruit and retain quality talent from multi-disciplinary backgrounds.

“When asked how I would go about recruiting a new member of staff, I explained it would be through word of mouth or possibly an advert on my Facebook account,” admitted Ed. “I realised that I am part of the problem in terms of lack of diversity in agriculture – I’m not giving people a chance from another disciplinary background. It was good to discuss different recruitment strategies.”

Every year the Worshipful Company of Farmers sponsors YFC members to attend the conference and any YFC member can apply for these places.

For more information about future scholarship opportunities at the Oxford Farming Conference, contact Sarah Palmer.  


 


21 January 2021

It was a positive start to 2021 for the YFC AGRI group of regional YFC representatives who hosted a Defra presentation of the Agricultural Transition Plan (ATP) on 5 January at their regular Zoom meetings.

Neville Cavendish, Head of Co-design for Defra’s Future Farming and Countryside Programme stakeholder engagement manager took everyone through their paces explaining policy intentions, timelines, schemes and grants for the next seven-year agricultural transition period.

The opportunity for YFC members to take part in a Q&A with Defra was welcomed, not only to question but also to give feedback, highlight practical issues as well as young farmers’ passion for food production as well as land management.   Neville also set out how YFC members and representatives could get involved further to help design the emerging Defra policy and schemes over the coming months, as part of the approach Defra is taking to co-design – partnering with the people who use and access Defra schemes and services, to understand problems and develop the solutions together.

With YFC members from regions spanning England and Wales, there was plenty of next generation representation and collaboration.With just under 30 attendees, AGRI Chairman George Baxter was pleased to see the momentum of the YFC AGRI work continue at his penultimate meeting as lead of the group. 

“Despite all the challenges of last year, everyone has bonded well and achieved much to be proud of,” said George. “We welcome every opportunity to represent our YFC members, to keep connected during these challenging times and to encourage more people to join in with our regular discussion meetings.  Communication is key and we also look forward to continued conversations with policy makers.”

The next YFC AGRI meeting will held at 8pm on 16 February 2021 and YFC members and interested observers are welcome.  Contact Sarah Palmer for further details or if you would like to get involved with co-design opportunities with Defra.

You can download a copy of the Defra presentation here


20 January 2021

A new initiative by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs will support its County Federations to reach their full potential and improve YFC members’ experiences.

County on Track will work with Counties to identify their achievements in 10 key category areas. Where gaps are shown, Counties will receive training and support to help them improve.

By sharing experiences, County on Track also aims to celebrate best practice and encourage a culture of learning from each other.

County Federations will be awarded with a red, green or gold welly standard in each category area. A red welly will trigger an action plan from NFYFC and increased support on how to improve. Green wellies mean that a County Federation is following good practice and meeting its charitable requirements in that particular category and gold wellies are given when a County is following best practice but has gone above and beyond what is required.

All County Federations that receive a green welly across all 10 categories will receive a certificate from NFYFC. Any County Federation that receives a gold welly in a particular category will receive a certificate from NFYFC for that category only (as long as they have not received a red welly elsewhere). Case studies from gold welly Counties will also be shared to help others reach the same goal.

All County Federations will need to complete an online questionnaire and NFYFC will follow up with a meeting to help with the new grading system.

For more information about County on Track, email Allie and Natasha at training@nfyfc.org.uk



15 January 2021

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) has teamed up with SAI Global Assurance to help spread the positive message of farm assurance for future farming.

The project aims to build awareness around the importance of farm assurance in building a resilient future for the industry and environment. SAI Global’s farm assurance team is collaborating to deliver a suite of interactive and online content across 2021, including video interviews with farmers who have invested in farm assurance and are reaping the benefits.

NFYFC AGRI Chairman George Baxter commented: “Although we don’t know all the detail yet, we know that change is happening and we want to be prepared.  Our planned farm assurance project has to be adapted for online production due to the pandemic restrictions, but it’ll certainly help to answer any questions or concerns that young farmers may be facing and provide sound advice for good business practice.  It’s encouraging to hear such frank discussion within the podcast and I recommend everyone has a listen and looks forward to viewing the next part of the project.”

The work launches with an overview of farm assurance in a podcast hosted by Ben Eagle featuring SAI Global’s Robin Levin.

Robin Levin, SAI Global’s relationship manager said: “This is a challenging period for UK agriculture, with the effects of politics, pandemics and changing customer demand. Farm Assurance helps bring stability. Welcome to Red Tractor’s new chairman Christine Tacon, to help guide us through the stormy waters. New Standards, due to be released on 1November 2021 are out for public consultation – please take a look.”

The introduction to farm assurance project is supported by Defra and developed by NFYFC and SAI Global.


15 January 2021

NFYFC’s 89th Annual General Meeting will be held online on Thursday 29 April 2021 at 7.30pm and YFCs and County Federations are invited to put forward a motion to be debated at the meeting.

Clubs and County Federations wishing to submit a motion for the agenda must send to the Chief Officer James Eckley by 12 noon on Tuesday 16 February 2021.

The second draft agenda will then be published on 23 February to give clubs and County Federations chance to put forward any amendments to the motions. All amendments must be received by 23 March.

The final agenda is then circulated to clubs and County Federations by Thursday 1 April 2021.

This will be the second year that NFYFC has held its AGM online due to the impact of the pandemic. All Clubs will receive information about voting and attending the meeting in due course.

Nominations for a new Chairman and Vice Chairmen of Council have now closed and elections will take place at the February Council meeting, which will also be held online.


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