National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

16 September 2021

A young farmer from Cornwall who uses her popularity on social media to promote working safely has won The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (NFYFC) Farm Safety Award 2021, sponsored by SGN.

NFYFC launched the award for the first time this year as part of its annual YFC Achiever Awards and Maria Warne, 18, from St Mabyn YFC in Cornwall was revealed as the winner at an online ceremony on Monday 13 September 2021. Weald of Kent YFC in Kent was announced as the runner up for its Growing Safer Farmers programme.

Maria has nearly one million fans on the social media platform TikTok and over 34,000 followers on her Instagram account. She regularly posts updates from her family’s beef, sheep and arable farm and is well-known for involving her ‘Granfer’ – 76-year-old Tom Warne – in her posts as he speaks in a very strong Cornish accent.

Maria, who is a Yellow Wellies Ambassador, devotes many of her updates to highlighting farm safety by sharing practical tips or discussing mental wellbeing. Maria’s dedication to promoting these messages to such wide audience impressed the three judges the most.

Judges Hannah Jackson – aka the Red Shepherdess, Steph Berkeley, Manager of the Farm Safety Foundation, Yellow Wellies and Ed Dungait, NFYFC’s Vice Chair were unanimous that Maria should be this year’s Farm Safety Award winner.

Hannah Jackson said during the online ceremony: “Maria makes farm safety cool, which is exactly what we need. She is getting other people involved and taking them with her. She is reaching a huge amount of people and really bigging up farm safety.”

As well as Maria’s social media accounts, she has also encouraged everyone who works on the family farm to take a quad bike safety course and takes part in an annual voluntary workplace safety test. 

Maria also faces her own physical and mental wellbeing battles after being diagnosed with arthritis at only 18 years old and uses her personal experience to ensure others are aware of their mental health.

Maria Warne said:

“It still feels extremely surreal to have been nominated for this award, let alone winning it! I’m extremely honoured by the amount of support I have received and am very grateful to everyone who nominated me.

“It humbles me to have been put into such a strong class with such outstanding candidates, who have all shown an incredible commitment to farm safety. I will endeavour to pursue my commitments to such a worthy message to sow and harvest amongst fellow agriculturalists both in farm safety and mental health within the rural community. Thank you once again for everyone’s ongoing support and to all of the honourable judges.”

It is the first year that NFYFC has added this award to its annual YFC Achiever Awards. Weald of Kent YFC from Kent were named the runner up in the category for setting up its Growing Safer Farmers programme, which offers extra farm safety training to members from funding the club has sourced through a grant.

Yellow Wellies Manager Stephanie Berkeley praised Weald of Kent YFC during the online ceremony:

“This group of really innovative forward-thinking young farmers are using every means available to them to be able to do the training and get funding. It’s important that they have not only done NFYFC’s Farm Safety Curve module but they have gone over and above that to get a lot of different types of safety training that will help them in their journey in agriculture.” 

SGN Head of Maintenance Tim Pearce said: 

“We’d like to congratulate all three finalists who have all done an excellent job in highlighting the importance of farm safety. We’re so proud to sponsor the Farm Safety Award because everyone going home safe and well after work to their families is what matters.

“Please, always put safety first and get in touch with us, and other utility companies, before starting any work on your land that is in the vicinity of our pipelines. We’ll visit you to help you plan your work, confirm and mark the location of our gas pipelines, and collaborate with you to come up with a way of working that ensures the integrity of our pipeline and your safety.”

The YFC Achiever Awards announcement shows are running from 13-17 September 2021 and each evening is introduced by NFYFC President and former international rugby referee Nigel Owens MBE.

All the awards videos can be seen here. 

The awards are a celebration of achievements from the previous membership year and mark a positive start to the new YFC membership year. Clubs are now meeting again following the pandemic and more information about joining a local YFC can be found here

See more information about all three finalists of the Farm Safety Award here.

 


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