National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

21 September 2021

An enterprising young farmer from Hertfordshire who transformed a disused barn into a thriving business has been awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, supported by NatWest, at the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs YFC Achiever Awards 2021.

Victoria Smith, from St Albans YFC, was revealed as the winner at an online awards ceremony on Wednesday 15 September 2021. Luke Watts from Pembrokeshire was announced as the runner up for a green glamping site he launched last year called Moithan Meadows.

Victoria launched her business during lockdown last year after converting a disused barn on her fiance’s farm and turning it into a location to sell takeaway hot drinks, homemade cakes and other local produce. Victoria used funding and support that she successfully gained from the Henry Plumb Foundation and spent weekends and evenings making her idea a reality – all while working in a full-time job.

The business started with a takeaway option, but Victoria has now grown it to offer undercover and outdoor seating and the product range has expanded to include local ice creams, oils and honey. 

As well as employing local people, Victoria plans to expand the business with longer opening hours, sales of her fiancé’s home-reared meat and selling locally produced gifts for Christmas.

Victoria said:

“I am absolutely thrilled to win this award, something that I couldn’t have imagined possible this time last year, when my idea really was just an idea.

“West End Barns is proof that if you are determined enough and are prepared to work hard, anything is possible, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the business.”

Victoria’s approach to business planning, research and funding impressed all four judges, which included Zoe Colville, aka The Chief Shepherdess on social media and owner of the Little Farm Fridge, Alexia Robinson, director of Love British Food, Roddy McLean, director of agriculture at NatWest and Tom Pope, NFYFC’s YFC AGRI Chair.

Roddy McLean, director of agriculture, NatWest, said: 

“NatWest is very proud to support the Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2021 and to have helped choose the overall winner. 

“All five of the finalists achieved impressive results during the uncertainty of the pandemic but Victoria Smith’s business really stood out. Victoria had a vision and executed it in the right way – she did research, sought funding and has plans for growth. She already has a profitable business and I am excited to see where Victoria takes West End Barns next. 

“It was encouraging to see so many of the entries for this award were considering the environmental impact of their businesses too. Runner up Luke Watts’ glamping site Moithan Meadow is a great example, not only has he created a new income stream, he has added nature value to the land by planting trees and creating a pond, both of which will deliver greater biodiversity.”

The YFC Achiever Awards announcement shows ran from 13-17 September 2021 and each evening was 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 five finalists of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award here.


16 September 2021

Young Farmers’ Clubs who have been supporting their rural communities during the Covid-19 pandemic have been recognised at The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (NFYFC) YFC Achiever Awards 2021.

Pontfaen YFC in Brecknock was revealed as the winner of the Community Spirit Award, sponsored by Tama, at an online awards ceremony on Tuesday 14 September 2021. TV presenter and Welsh farmer Gareth Wyn Jones announced the results and praised YFCs for looking after others and offering hope during challenging times.

As well as grocery deliveries to vulnerable people and making scrub bags for NHS staff, Pontfaen YFC created a ‘talking bench’ as part of a local community project organised by PAVO (Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations), where residents of Merthyr Cynog could sit and talk to others. Club members also decorated their bench with stones that included numbers for organisations that people could contact for support or counselling.

The idea impressed the judging panel, which alongside Gareth included CEO of the Farming Community Network Jude McCann and NFYFC Chair Rachel Goldie.

Gareth Wyn Jones said:

“It was really difficult to pick five finalists and even harder to choose the winner. All of the finalists did some fantastic work over the last 12 months in a very difficult situation. We were all impressed by the achievements of Pontfaen YFC and especially with their talking bench – a great way to support local residents’ wellbeing and much-needed during these challenging times.

“Congratulations to all our finalists and winners of the Community Spirit of the Year Award. Without Young Farmers’ Clubs and what they do our industry would be a lot poorer.”

As well as the talking bench the club also held an illuminated tractor run at Christmas, dressed their President up as Santa and used a tractor to tow his sleigh around the village, and produced a virtual Carol Service, complete with readings, prayers and songs to bring some festive cheer to a community in isolation. They also raised more than £800 for their local ICU department through a Christmas raffle and a further £1600 for charities through an online auction.

Club Chair Raiff Devlin “On behalf of Pontfaen YFC, it is brilliant news to hear that our members have been recognised for their work in supporting the community and raising money for charities by being awarded first place in the Community Spirit Award.

“I would like to personally thank all involved for their continued commitment to the community and the wider YFC movement.”

Tama are proud sponsors of the Community Spirit Award 2021 and Warren Tatton, Tama UK Commercial Manager said:

“Tama is extremely proud to support this year’s Community Spirit award. It is a real testament to the individuals and clubs that have excelled in challenging times, going beyond personal interests to benefit others through charitable actions.

“Well done to all the finalists and I hope they continue to make other people’s lives better.”

The YFC Achiever Awards 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 pandemic restrictions being lifted and more information about joining a local YFC can be found here.

See more information about all finalists of the New Member Award here.


 


16 September 2021

A young farmer from Cornwall is celebrating after being crowned the New Member of the Year by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs at its annual YFC Achiever Awards 2021.

Henry, from Roche & District YFC, may have joined during pandemic restrictions but it hasn’t stopped him from making a positive first impression on his club and on the national organisation. 

Henry was announced as the winner of the national award at an online awards ceremony on Monday 13 September 2021. Lleucu-Haf from Penparc YFC in Ceredigion was revealed as the runner up in the category.

Henry was described as a “confident character” who hasn’t let Covid-19 restrictions stop him from enjoying all YFC has to offer. He has got stuck into club meetings, competitions and fundraisers, whether in-person or virtually.

Henry has not only joined in club meetings but helped organise them too – including a version of Lambing Live from his lambing shed, where members watched twin lambs being born.

He bagged up dung and sold it to raise £400 to boost the club’s fundraising total and he’s encouraged school friends to join the club too.

Henry said:

“I am delighted to have won the New Member of the Year Award. YFC has given me so many opportunities, even in a year with a worldwide pandemic. Roche and District YFC has done an amazing job at keeping meetings going, gaining new members, giving encouragement to all, and it’s because of that I won the award.”

Judges Gareth Jones from British Wool, Rural Business Advisor Simon Haley and NFYFC’s Youth Forum Chair Richard Jeyes were all impressed by what Henry had achieved in such a short space of time.

Gareth Jones, Head of Producer Marketing at British Wool, said:

“We had so many great finalists to choose from and it was a very tough decision for the judges to make. Henry’s nomination really stood out to us all though. He has shown passion and enthusiasm for YFC during a time when it was more challenging to hold the usual meetings and competitions. He not only participated in the activities that were on offer, but he also contributed some of his own ideas to benefit the club too. It was great to read that Roche & District feel they will go from strength to strength with Henry at the heart of it – we believe they will too! Well done Henry.” 

Runner up in the category was Lleucu-Haf from Penparc YFC in Ceredigion who has also been an active participant in her club since joining last year. She has taken part in competitions and charity fundraisers – with one senior member saying that Lleucu-Haf “gives us all hope for the future of the club.”

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 finalists of the New Member Award here.



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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