National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

19 May 2022

A life-long supporter of Young Farmers’ Clubs was officially awarded a Life Vice President title during a special event to mark their 100th birthday.

Olive Clarke OBE, JP, DL, FRAgS, from Cumbria Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, received the award from NFYFC Chair of Council Edward Dungait, surrounded by current and former members, as well as former County chairs and presidents.

The event, which was organised by members of Cumbria FYFC, was a celebration for Olive’s centenary and a chance to officially present the Life Vice President award, marking her long association with YFC.

YFC members voted in favour of Olive receiving the award after Cumbria FYFC’s Chair Robbie Tuer proposed the motion at NFYFC’s Annual General Meeting in April.

Olive joined YFC back in 1938 when she was 16 years old, and she has played an active role in the organisation ever since.

Olive’s inspiring speech during her birthday celebrations included details of her time as a YFC member and her experience of farming back in the 1930s. The centenarian gave credit to

Young Farmers today for supporting others in times of need, such as during severe weather events and throughout the recent pandemic.

But it was the impact that YFC can have on young people’s lives that Olive emphasised the most, encouraging everyone to take up all the opportunities YFC has to offer.

“Young Farmers never change, they just grow older,” said Olive during her speech. “Fulfil your lives with interests and don’t miss an opportunity you come by in Young Farmers because you know the one thing in life you can never recall is the lost opportunity.”

Olive was also presented with a birthday cake, decorated with the Cumbria YFC logo, which was made by Northern District Vice President Gillian Potts.

Photos: Jenny Wood, Crook YFC



11 May 2022

A free handbook has been launched to help farmers plan for the future during this time of change for the industry.

The Business Models Handbook provides up-to-date, practical advice on business planning and innovation for improved productivity and profitability. It is relevant to those seeking to enter, diversify, expand or even retire from their farming enterprise.

The handbook has been published with the support of the Agricultural Productivity Task Force (APTF), a collaboration between the agricultural industry and UK Government to bolster the productivity of farming and growing.

Explaining the rationale for the handbook, NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw, who co-chaired the APTF with Tim Mordan, Deputy Director in Defra’s Agri-Food Chain Directorate, said:

“The farming industry is facing some of the biggest challenges in a generation, with developments in agricultural policy, changes to government support, new trade agreements and increasingly unpredictable weather due to climate change. These factors mean most businesses are assessing options for the future, and some will need to make some changes to how they operate.

“Whether a farmer or grower is looking for efficiencies, expanding, exiting or wishing to set up their own business, one area to consider is the business model. The ownership model or the tenanted model tend to be the most common but there is a whole range of other opportunities that could be considered. This handbook is designed to provide an initial understanding of the options available before taking more detailed advice. We believe it is an invaluable resource when considering the future, which will help open up new ideas.”

The handbook is divided into five steps.

  • Steps 1 – 3 help with assessing the current situation and setting out business planning considerations. It offers analysis of different business models and considers how factors including access to land, people, and skills may influence business objectives.
  • Step 4 outlines the key business models in more detail, with links to case studies. It considers advantages of each, where they might best fit according to business requirements, and tax considerations.
  • Step 5 looks at longer term planning to help businesses adapt as they evolve.

Susan Twining, head of CLA’s Land Use Team, chaired the APTF’s Rural Infrastructure group which led on the production of the handbook.

She said: “This handbook will be a valuable resource for those considering next steps in their business, whether that is to drive efficiencies, look for expansion or diversification, or for new entrants and those who wish to leave the industry. The handbook will provide options and inspiration to support those changes.”

The handbook is free and available on the APTF website.

09 May 2022

At the start of Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May), The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is calling on all 580 Young Farmers’ Clubs to do something positive to help tackle mental health issues.

NFYFC President Nigel Owens MBE is leading the call and challenging all YFCs to add NFYFC’s wellbeing training session Rural+ to their club programmes. Nigel, who speaks openly about his personal struggles with mental health, is keen for clubs to start the conversation about mental health and look out for each other.

NFYFC President Nigel Owens MBE said:

“It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and I want YFCs to take urgent action. Many of us know that members of our community are struggling with their mental health and sadly some have felt there was no way out of the problems they faced. We have to do more to ensure everyone seeks the help they need. And YFCs can help make this happen.

“My challenge to all 580 YFCs this Mental Health Awareness Week is to get the Rural+ Curve module on their club programmes. This short interactive session will get clubs talking and help more rural young people to recognise the signs of mental health issues in themselves and others.

“Let’s work together to do as much as we can to build resilience and develop positive mental health for all our members.”

Mental Health Awareness Week is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation and is in its 22nd year.

This year, the theme for the week is ‘Loneliness’. Across the country, people will be reflecting on loneliness and how it impacts our mental health. Long-term loneliness is closely linked to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, NFYFC will be sharing stories about the positive action Warwickshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) has taken by committing to deliver the Rural+ session to all YFCs in the county. The County Federation decided it wanted to deliver Rural+ to all clubs following the death of one of its members, Len Eadon, who took his own life on New Year’s Day this year.

Megan Bailey, Warwickshire's County Training Officer, is delivering the sessions throughout the county. She said:

“The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is loneliness and the Rural+ Curve module is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation about that. It’s a positive module that focuses on wellbeing and resilience. It’s a great opportunity for members to sit down and talk together and do something practical.

“After the sad loss of one of our members, Warwickshire FYFC pledged to deliver Rural+ to all our clubs by the summer and we have nearly met our goal. We have received positive feedback from all of the clubs who have taken part so far and it has prompted really good conversations about our mental health. We recommend all other county federations make a similar pledge to us and ensure their clubs take part in these sessions to help the YFC community be more open about problems we may be facing.”

Rural+ was the brainchild of a former National Chairman of Council (2013/14) Claire Worden.

FCN, along with NFYFC and The DPJ Foundation, worked together to develop a new version of the Rural+ mental health training module last year, with funding from the Westminster Foundation. The session is targeted at YFCs and agricultural students yet to embark on their first placement or role in the industry. The training is collaborative and was developed with young farmers, young agriculture professionals and volunteers from FCN and The DPJ Foundation to ensure it is relevant and beneficial to young farmers.

Sessions focus on understanding stress and anxiety; managing personal mental wellbeing; how to talk about mental health; seeking support and supporting others. Many YFC Trainers have received extra training to be able to run the session in clubs and any YFC wishing to organise a session can speak to their county office or make a booking using NFYFC’s online form here

For more information about this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week visit or join the conversation on social media using #IveBeenThere and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.


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