National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

25 October 2021

Her Majesty The Queen is NFYFC’s Patron and wrote this special message to Young Farmers’ Clubs for the National Young Farmers’ Week celebrations during the 90th anniversary year. 

Please convey my warm thanks to the members of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs for their kind message, sent on the occasion of their celebrations to mark the club’s ninetieth membership year from September 2021 to August 2022.

As your patron, I was pleased to learn that clubs have begun meeting again, following a very challenging period throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Your thoughtfulness in writing is much appreciated. In return, I send my best wishes to you all for a most memorable and enjoyable year marking this notable milestone.

Pic credit – PRESS ASSOCIATION / Danny Lawson
Photo below: The queen at the NFYFC AGM in 1945 


 


25 October 2021

With COP26 on the horizon, The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is looking to a more sustainable future as it celebrates its 90th membership year during National Young Farmers’ Week (25-29 October) supported by NatWest.

NFYFC has seen a surge in young people wanting to join its 581 YFCs across England and Wales since the 90th membership year started in September. There has been a 17% increase on the numbers of young people, aged 10-28, joining in September 2021 compared with those who signed up in September 2019, prior to the pandemic.

And as membership numbers rise, NFYFC has tasked all of its clubs with a challenge to improve the environment in their rural communities through YFC Operation Green, supported by NatWest and the Environment Agency. From litter picks to local community projects, YFCs have been focusing on ways they can combat climate change and create a more sustainable future for YFC and their rural community.

During National Young Farmers’ Week, which is one week before COP26, a new club training session, developed with the Environment Agency, is also being launched that focuses on preventing plastic pollution. Clubs will be urged to run the session during club meetings throughout the membership year to help raise awareness and change behaviour.

The increase in membership numbers during the 90th year positively demonstrates the continued importance of YFCs to rural communities.

NFYFC President Nigel Owens MBE said:

“The pandemic has highlighted how much we all need local support and connections, especially in remote rural locations. Covid-19 restrictions have had a massive impact on young people especially – further enhancing feelings of isolation in rural areas.

“YFC at Home proved to be a lifeline for many throughout lockdown restrictions and it is encouraging to see rural young people reconnecting with their local clubs in person and being back in the heart of their communities. YFCs have spent 90 years excelling at bringing rural people together, building confidence and developing skills, while celebrating life in the countryside. I am excited for the future of this amazing organisation and its next 90 years – and it’s so good to shout about its success during National Young Farmers’ Week!”

National Young Farmers’ Week is an annual celebration aimed at promoting YFCs to more rural young people so they are aware of the benefits clubs can offer them by providing an active social network and developing skills. This year’s event will look back through the organisation’s nine decades but with a clear message about looking to a more sustainable future for all.

Messages of support for the 90th year will be shared during National Young Farmers’ Week and include a special letter from NFYFC’s Patron The Queen, who wrote: 

“As your patron, I was pleased to learn that clubs have begun meeting again, following a very challenging period throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I send my best wishes to you all for a most memorable and enjoyable year marking this notable milestone.”

Using the hashtag #YFCMadeMe, NFYFC will also share stories throughout the week from successful former YFC members who will talk about the impact the organisation has made on their lives. Case studies include the youngest-ever Farmers Weekly editor Andrew Meredith, Defra Minster Rebecca Pow and the shepherdess from Clarkson’s Farm Ellen Helliwell. (See summaries in notes to editors).

Ellen Helliwell, a former member of Hope Valley YFC in Derbyshire and Penrith YFC in Cumbria, said:

“Experiences such as stockjudging, rallies, the tug of war and public speaking helped to build me as a person and gave me skills to use later in life in my career. And I have had so much fun along the way. I don’t really know why anyone would have to think twice about joining YFC. It’s a no-brainer.”

The week will also include an online debate for young farmers to discuss the roll out of one of the biggest changes to affect any sector in the UK. The Ready for Change? online debate (27 October) involves guest speakers Andrew Meredith, Janet Hughes, Programme Director for Defra’s Future Farming and Countryside Programme, and Roddy McLean, Director of Agriculture at NatWest.

Rachel Goldie, NFYFC Chair of Council 2021-22, said:

“It’s amazing to be celebrating NFYFC’s 90th year, and it feels even more special as we emerge from the pandemic. It’s great to see so many rural young people re-discovering YFC and choosing to shape a more positive future for themselves through the many opportunities being a YFC member offers.

“We must ensure NFYFC is around for many more decades to come and that means not only protecting the organisation but also our planet. YFCs play a key role in their rural communities and together we can make a big impact on our local environment.” 

National Young Farmers’ Week is made possible thanks to support from NatWest. This will be the fourth year the bank has supported the event.

Roddy McLean, Director of Agriculture at NatWest, said:

“The future of agriculture rests with many of the young people involved in Young Farmers’ Clubs and it’s why we are proud to support National Young Farmers’ Week for a fourth year.

“As we face one of the biggest changes in the history of British agriculture in the UK, we are keen to help equip those who are just beginning their farming journeys with the right skills, tools and networks to succeed.”

National Young Farmers’ Week runs from 25-29 October and information about joining a local Young Farmers’ Club can be found here


21 October 2021

Young farmers from across the globe joined together at the Countryside COP in October to discuss the challenges of climate change and how they can be part of the solution to delivering climate-friendly food.

Jointly organised by the NFU, National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) and YOUNGO (the official children and youth constituency of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the event brought together young farmers and people from around the world to discuss the challenges of climate change for farming businesses. 

Chaired by Elliot Cole, a member of Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, the session involved panellists discussing how they are implementing solutions to deliver sustainable, climate-friendly farming systems. Elliot was the winner of the 2020 NFYFC Climate Change Challenge and is passionate about sustainable farming and the role that agriculture has to play in addressing the climate crisis.

The session was held during a week-long Countryside COP event, organised by Championing the Farmed Environment (CFE). 

Responding to the publication of the government’s Net Zero Strategy ahead of COP26, NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts stated that British farmers had a huge part to play in the national contribution to a net zero economy.

This message was certainly replicated by international young farmers who contributed positively to the Countryside COP conversation. Members of the panel concluded that there should be government investment in research and education; policy makers and government representatives should visit a farm before they attend COP26 so that they really understand agriculture and land use; and collaboration between young and old as well as global and local knowledge combined was essential for a sustainable future.

The range of topical questions produced synergy in thoughts for future sustainable farming and the support needed.  All were mindful of the importance of food production and farmers being key to managing land as well as being part of the solution for climate change.  The impact of extreme weather further highlighted the need for effective future land use.

Young farmers shared a request for skills to optimise land management and soil condition -emphasising that although land is an emitter of carbon, it’s also a sequester of carbon. Effective management is key and farming in nature-positive ways should be justly rewarded and help to enthuse young people’s interest in agriculture.  Accessing finance is a global difficulty for young farmers who need to lower their input costs and manage market volatility. Future collaboration with other industries will be essential as well as access to research and skills including carbon management when planning and growing crops.

There was hope for robust discussion about food security, sharing farmers’ good practice as well as future farming ambitions at COP26 and a consensus that the people best placed to make decisions about future land use is farmers supported by policy makers.   


21 October 2021

As a former dairy farmer, Gordon Jones is familiar with farmers’ business investment needs. As lead for the new Defra Farming Investment Fund, he was well-placed to share information about the new scheme with three regional groups of young farmers at recent events organised by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC).

A range of counties were represented at the Defra-supported engagement events where Mr Jones gave an overview of the Future Farming Programme, the Agricultural Transition Plan and the new Agriculture Act. He highlighted work on the roll-out of the Sustainable Farming Incentive, the Farming Resilience Programme and development of the Lump Sum Exit Scheme and the New Entrants Scheme.

The Farming Investment Fund is due to be launched this autumn and the informal discussions gave everyone an opportunity to discuss their business needs, ask questions and make suggestions for future schemes, either for equipment and technology or longer-term infrastructure.  

The expected minimum spend was outlined and YFC members were informed that larger grant funding is unlikely to include a forestry theme, as forestry items are likely to be included within the equipment and technology fund.  

Initial priorities for the transformation fund are expected to include water and robotics to help improve productivity. There is also an emphasis on positive environmental outcomes. The equipment and technology grants are likely to be offered in annual rounds with contractors now also eligible to apply.  As set out in the Agricultural Transition Plan, The Farming Investment Fund is scheduled to run until 2024-25.

YFC AGRI Chair Tom Pope said the events were useful for young farmers. 

“These events provided a great opportunity for those of us who are interested in improving the productivity of our business through optimising future funding opportunities.  We know that we are facing ambitious policy change, but we also want to continue to produce high quality food, diversify where and when needed and add value to our businesses to ensure financial viability.  

“Discussing ideas and future business prospects was both enlightening and encouraging and all future Defra support and interaction is welcomed.”

Following the events, Gordon Jones said he enjoyed the opportunity to engage with a young farmer audience and to hear and discuss their ideas for the future development of the Farming Investment Fund. 


06 October 2021

Join NFYFC during Countryside COP for an international young farmer roundtable to discuss the challenges of climate change and how young farmers are part of the solution to deliver climate-friendly food. 

Jointly arranged by the NFU and the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), the event will bring together young farmers and people from across the globe to discuss the challenges of climate change to farming businesses, but also how they are implementing solutions to deliver sustainable, climate-friendly farming systems. 

You will also have the opportunity to ask your questions directly to the panel during the discussion.

Event information 

When? 10:00 – 11:15 (BST) on Friday 15 October

Where? Virtual event on Zoom

How do I attend? Register here

Who can attend? Anyone! 

We have a great line up of panellists from across the globe:

Chrispen Mununga 

Chrispen Mununga is an agricultural economist with the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) in Zimbabwe. He has 4 years’ experience in agri business and agriculture economics and is currently the project coordinator for a poultry rapid assessment programme. He has been actively involved with the Women @ Work campaign and is the Secretary General of the Agricultural Youth Apex Council. 

 

 

 

Ruramiso Mashumba

Ruramiso Mashumba is a commercial farmer based in Marondera, Zimbabwe. She is winner of the 40 under 40 award in Zimbabwe for influence as well as the 2020 Kleckner Global Farmer award.

 

 

 

 

Llyr Jones

Llyr Jones farms in North Wales with his family, where they have dairy heifers, sheep and free-range chickens. Llyr has implemented several environmental measures on his farm, including producing all the energy required for running the farm, using ammonia scrubbers to reduce ammonia emissions and protecting 30 acres of peatland. 

 

 

 

 

Mateusz Ciasnocha

Mateusz Ciasnocha is a third-generation farmer in northern Poland involved in a 700ha regenerative family farm business. Mateusz is committed to helping sustainable business models scale rapidly and thrive, and is involved in a wide range of projects, including working with 130,000 small-holder Indian farmers as a consultant with Vrutti.

 

 

 

Jessica Langton

Jessica Langton sits on the NFU Dairy Board and is fourth generation on a Derbyshire dairy farm. She is interested in helping shape the Dairy Roadmap to promote a sustainable future, put plans in place to mitigate diseases, and support dairy farmers in the transition from BPS to Environment Land Management schemes.

 

 

 

Tommy Duffy

Tommy is the vice-president of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA). Elected in 2021, Tommy represents around 2 million young farmers across Europe and Ireland and is from a family farm in Edenburt.

 

 

 

 

Peter Moss

Peter is Next Generation Chairman for NFU Scotland, where he brings together a diverse range of young farmers to discuss challenges and opportunities. Peter runs a diversified Angus and Shorthorn beef farm in Orkney with an interest in renewables. 

 

 

 

 

Oluwatosin Ogunsola

Oluwatosin is a member of the YOUNGO Agriculture working group and Food@COP campaign manager. Originally from Nigeria, Oluwatosin has a keen interest in farming, being an agronomist, entrepreneur and soil scientist. 


01 October 2021

Competitors at this year's national Floral Art competition created displays using the theme of Great British Sport, with one winning entry reflecting NFYFC President Nigel Owens as their sporting hero.

The competition, which was held on the Sunday of the Malvern Autumn Show, involved members creating their sporting displays within one hour. The 17 and under category were tasked with using flowers to showcase their favourite sport, the 22 and under category were required to create a display reflecting their sporting hero and the 27 and under category were asked to create a display showing sporting pursuits.

Harriet Preece from Herefordshire (pictured) won the senior category for her impressive Deer Stalking design that used antlers that had originally been used in a drama production by her club Eardisley YFC.

Harriet said: “My main accessory to set the scene was the antlers. I thought deer stalking would be a different approach to what others may have interpreted it as. I chose purple alliums and eryngiums, which represented the thistles and heather you would find in the Scottish Highlands where deer stalking is a favoured pursuit.”

Harriet chose to keep the foliage as natural as possible, focussing on ferns, bracken and berries, which was picked from her grandmother’s garden, to enhance the wild and natural country theme.

All of the displays were judged using the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies’ (NAFAS) rules and the winners were chosen by NAFAS judges.

“I am extremely proud to have represented Herefordshire as well as Eardisley YFC, especially being one of the younger competitors in the senior section,” added Harriet.

“I am so lucky to have these opportunities and I cannot thank my trainer and auntie, Liz, enough for all her help and guidance.”

Elena from Herefordshire won the 17 and under category after choosing a cricket theme for her design as she enjoys watching it on television as well as watching her dad play on a Sunday.   

"I talked about the theme and different styles with Jess Hobby, who helped me, and we came up with the design to use the flowers as the stumps. We kept it to a very English country style so that the flowers told the story. I was really thrilled to win as I came second last time and never thought I would do as well again. I was really proud of myself but most of all I wanted to make Jess proud of me."

In the intermediate category, Kate Lawrence won one of the joint first place positions. Kate chose Bradley Wiggins for her Sporting Hero after she was impressed with his Tour de France win in 2012, followed by the Gold at the London 2012 Olympics. 

"I used a bike tyre and yellow flowers to symbolise the ‘yellow jersey’ and arranged my flowers to flow around a hoop at the top," explained Kate. "I also used all wild grasses in the bottom to show the roadside. It felt great to be placed first, and it felt even better that Herefordshire managed to bring home all three first places on the day! To share first place with Fflur was lovely, her arrangement was amazing!"  

The winners:

17 and under 

1st Elena from Herefordshire A

2nd Daisy from Warwickshire

3rd = Henrietta from Dorset and Camilla from Shropshire A

22 and under 

1st = Kate Lawrence from Herefordshire A and Fflur from Pembrokeshire

3rd Katie Hughes from Clwyd

27 and under 

1st Harriet Preece from Herefordshire A

2nd Ellie Davis from Bedfordshire

3rd Stephanie Parry from Gwent 



 


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