National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

26 May 2022

Young Farmers’ Clubs across England and Wales are busy preparing for NFYFC’s Patron The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

From charity Balls to the lighting of beacons, YFCs are coming up with ways to bring their community together to celebrate.

Wiltshire FYFC has organised an official event to light their beacon at 9.45pm on 2 June 2022 to mark the occasion. The event involves all members, as well as their friends and family, and will include a hog roast.

The event is at a Baltic Farm, near Devizes, which has great views over the local area.

“We’ll have a locally sourced hog roast and bake some cakes too,” said County Chair Charlotte Taylor about the special occasion. “Arranging a lighting the Beacon event has been a great way to bring everyone together. We were meant to host our 80th event but had to cancel it during Covid, so the Queen’s Jubilee gives us another way to celebrate.”

The Queen has been NFYFC’s patron since 1957 and over the past 65 years has met with YFC members at events such as The Royal Show and the Ardingly Show in Sussex.

Digging into the NFYFC archives, it was discovered that 150 YFC members, under the age of 20, attended the Queen’s coronation back in 1952. The 1953 Annual Report for NFYFC includes mention to their attendance, recording that they were “afforded a magnificent view of the Coronation procession from a site in The Mall, close to the Queen Victoria Memorial.”

Yorkshire clubs Worth Valley YFC, Nidderdale YFC and Gisburn YFC are all planning beacon events too and further south Cheriton and Tedburn YFC in Devon will be lighting a beacon, playing games and enjoying a BBQ.

Clubs are also marking the occasion with parties and balls. Brigg YFC has planned a Platinum Jubilee Ball for the 28 May and is having a raffle to raise money for charity on the night.

Clubs in Brecknock have been planting trees as part of The Queen’s Canopy. Thanks to grant funding, all the YFCs in Brecknock can purchase two trees to plant with a plaque to place with them in recognition of The Queen’s Jubilee.

Builth Wells YFC held a special event to plant their trees and unveil their plaque that involved members, club leaders and their club president.

Deryn Evans, Chairman of Builth Wells YFC said “It’s fantastic to be given the opportunity to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee as a club by planting trees within our local community for everyone to enjoy.

“I would personally like to thank everyone who helped to make this happen, and Peter James MBE High Sheriff of Powys for taking the time to join us for the unveiling.”

Events to celebrate The Queen’s Jubilee will take place over the long bank holiday weekend from 2-5 June. You can find out more about how to mark the occasion here.


26 May 2022

The final NFYFC Building Skills project visit to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) Allerton Project farm offered an additional opportunity of a second, dedicated discussion between young farmers and Baroness Rock, chair of the independent Tenancy Working Group.

A tenant farmer herself, Baroness Rock is working to ensure that solutions to issues faced by current and future tenant farmers should be explored and shared with policy makers. The overarching aims of the tenancy working group are to make sure the new environmental land management schemes work within agricultural tenancies and to ensure a thriving future for the agricultural tenanted sector.

Young farmers suggested solutions to help new entrant and next generation farmers as they begin or progress with their farming future. YFC AGRI regional representatives had previously met for an online discussion with Baroness Rock who joined Leicestershire and Norfolk young farmers and local tenant farmers at the Allerton Project farm to discuss challenges and opportunities for the tenanted sector as it navigates business viability and accessibility to the emerging Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes.

GWCT’s Head of Training and Partnerships, Joe Stanley said: “The Building Skills project has helped determine skills and information needed for future farming and demonstrated practical application at the Allerton Project farm. Young farmers have been able to see first-hand the results of applied research and the beneficial effects of environmentally-friendly farming methods for wildlife, improved organic matter, efficiency and ultimately profitability. It goes without saying that new policies and agri-environment schemes must be fit for purpose for all farmers and land managers.”

“In today’s economic climate the reduction of inputs on the 320-hectare demonstration farm has helped to highlight ways to adapt to emerging policies and plan to manage environmental and business viability. The online Fit for Future Business guide is available to help next generation farmers understand the aim and ongoing results of work at the Allerton Project farm and help with their career and business planning during an uncertain period of agricultural transition.”

The day’s farm walk highlighted current on farm-practice, combining arable and conservation farming and the many environmental and productivity gains achieved. Joe explained that, as part of a five-year Conservation Agriculture trial conducted with Syngenta, average yields across the rotation had decreased by around 10% when comparing a continuously ploughed versus a direct-drilled system, the use of less inputs and time had meant that profitably per hectare had increased by nearly 20%, proving the old adage of ‘less is more’ really is true. Allerton Project farm trials have also proved that soil organic matter gains built up from 10 years of minimum tillage could be lost in only three years by continuous ploughing, losing the benefits of soil fertility, water retention and optimum earth worm levels.

As well as the various environmental good practice examples including beetle banks, bio beds and integrated bird seed strips, Joe discussed the range of ‘stacking’ enterprise opportunities for future ELM schemes. He encouraged the group to think about the uses for unproductive land and demonstrated the silvo pasture trial for grazing sheep which offered a range of benefits included enhanced animal welfare and carbon capture. Public money for public goods also meant thinking about rewards for helping with flood mitigation, environmental off-setting for industry, carbon and biodiversity credits as well as agri-tourism and public wellbeing opportunities. Carbon recording would stand young farmers in good stead for future retail and finance audit requirements.

Leicestershire & Rutland FYFC Chair Greg Parkes said: “We appreciated a second opportunity to discuss our experience, concerns and suggestions for future farming with Baroness Rock. The chance to offer first-hand experience and constructive suggestions to policy makers is welcomed and the Allerton Project farm walk stimulated useful, forward-thinking discussion.”


25 May 2022

A national awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of rural young people will be held for the first time by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (NFYFC) and supported by headline sponsor Kärcher UK.

The awards ceremony for the YFC Achiever Awards 2022, will be held in Birmingham at the Motorcycle Museum on 11 February 2023, and will be compered by NFYFC’s President Nigel Owens MBE.

Due to the pandemic restrictions, the YFC Achiever Awards have only ever been held online. This will be the first year the organisation is able to reward people in-person at what promises to be a glittering occasion.

The awards, which were first launched in 2020, are a way of recognising and rewarding members of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) for the work they do in the community, for enterprising initiatives and for helping to develop other rural young people.

Top names from the farming industry are among the line-up of judges who will help to choose the 2022 winners.

Judges include farmer and BBC3’s The Fast and The Farmerish presenter Tom Pemberton, The Kenyan Pig Farmer Flavian Obiero and Johann Tasker, co-host of the Farmers Weekly podcast.

Ellen Helliwell, the shepherdess from hit Amazon Prime TV show Clarkson’s Farm and farmer and YouTube blogger Olly Harrison, will help to choose the Community Spirit award winners, in the category sponsored by Tama.

Ellen said: “I’m really excited to read about the clubs that have raised funds and supported communities, despite all the challenges we faced last year. I know how much YFC does for charity so awards like these are important for recognising those achievements. Good luck everyone – and get those nominations in!”

After the success of last year’s Farm Safety Award, The Farm Safety Foundation (Yellow Wellies) are sponsoring this year’s category to help promote YFC members who are leading the way on farm safety. Social media influencer and Devon young farmer Maria Warne won last year’s Farm Safety Award and will now be on the judging panel to choose this year’s top names.

Maria said: “It was amazing to win the Farm Safety Award last year and be recognised for my enthusiasm for promoting safe working practices on the farm. I am looking forward to being inspired by what other young farmers are doing to push this important issue as well as excited about being part of a panel that can reward people for their efforts.”

Enterprising young people will also be recognised in the Entrepreneur of the Year category, supported by KUHN. The judges will be looking for rural and farming initiatives that have been launched during the pandemic.

YFC members will also be rewarded for the leadership they show in their clubs and counties. Savills is supporting the Aspiring Rural Leader category and hopes to find examples of young rural people who are making their mark.

There is also an award where the winner is chosen by the YFC membership in an online poll. The Heart of YFC award, sponsored by headline sponsors Kärcher UK, is presented to the person that YFC members believes represents the true spirit of YFC.

Simon Keeping, Group Managing Director, UK & Ireland Kärcher UK Ltd, said:

"Farming in the UK, and with it, Young Farmers' Clubs, face challenging times ahead. Climate change, the impact of technology and new international trade deals all create opportunities but in turn put additional pressures on UK agriculture.

"At Kärcher we describe ourselves as 'Custodians of the brand' – it guides us in how we act and develop the business. Young Farmers are also custodians – custodians of the land, or more precisely the 69% of this country's land mass that is in agricultural production.

"It's a privilege for Kärcher to help celebrate success with YFC and to encourage young farmers to embrace their mantle of Custodians of the land."

NFYFC’s President Nigel Owens MBE is among the judging panel who will shortlist three of the nominees for the Heart of YFC Award for the wider membership to vote on.

Nigel Owens said:

“The YFC Achiever Awards are a positive acknowledgement of the great work that young people in rural communities are doing every day. From charity fundraisers to the commitment to improving the rural economy, we’re looking forward to seeing nominations for some very special people.

“The awards have grown in popularity in the last two years and it’s fantastic that we can finally host a special evening where everyone can be together to celebrate these achievements. Get your nominations in now if there’s someone you think is deserving of a YFC Achiever Award!”

The award categories are:

Nominations can be made online and entries must be submitted before the deadline of 31 July 2022.


24 May 2022

Looking for ideas and contacts for ways you can share positive food and farming messages? Linking up with other established organisations that are already operating schemes you can get involved in is a simple way to get started.

Tractors into Schools

The Lincolnshire Agricultural Society, NFU Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire YFC work together to take a tractor into every Lincolnshire School.

YFC AGRI Chair Charlotte Garbutt shares how YFCs work with the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society.

“Young farmers in Lincolnshire have been taking their tractors into schools to help build relationships and teach young people about agriculture.

Lincolnshire FYFC has been working with the Society and the NFU to help them meet their aim of getting a tractor into every school in the county.

We were really grateful to all the farmers and dealers that lent us shiny, clean tractors and to the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society and LEAF Education for helping us with the preparation and planning.

You could connect with your local agricultural society to discuss plans to do something similar in your county. Here’s a list of Show and Agricultural organisations to get you started. 

Farmer Time

Farmer Time is all about harnessing the power of digital communications to inspire, engage and educate young people about not only the journey from farm to fork but also the everchanging, diverse agricultural industry.

As a young farmer, you can be matched with a classroom to chat to children through FaceTime or Skype about your career. It’s an opportunity to share knowledge and for schoolchildren to gain a ‘real-time’ understanding of the issues farmers face every day. Find out more about the initiative and how to get involved here.

Read Herefordshire FYFC member Ernie Richard’s experience with Farmer Time and the school he is connected with.

LEAF Education

NFYFC partners with LEAF Education. The organisation works¬ to engage, inspire and motivate young people through experiential learning, in order to equip our future generations with balanced and informed insight into food production, farming and the environment. As well as Farmer Time, the organisation also organises:

  • Training – industry accredited training to support safe, high quality farm visits
  • Open Farm Sunday – farming’s annual open day. YFCs can get involved by supporting a local farm that is hosting an event or organising activities on their own farms.
  • Countryside Classroom - There are lots of resources available for schools to download from the Countryside Classroom. NFYFC also created a Future Farming pack with LEAF that’s available for YFCs to use in schools. It tells the story of food and farming with a range of career options to help Year 9 pupils who could be your future YFC members.
  • As NFYFC is a member of LEAF Education, we often collaborate on useful resources for YFCs. Download a handy guide for preparing for a YFC school visit or talk. Produced in association with LEAF Education and Countryside Classroom, this will certainly help to get you started.
  • Find your LEAF Education Regional Education Consultant

Country Trust (England and North Wales)

Connecting children with the land that sustains us all. Through food, farming and countryside experiences the Country Trust empowers disadvantaged children to create change in their lives and the world around them. There are a number of ways you can work with the Country Trust.

  • Become a host- free supported Farm Visits
  • Farm in a Box- brings the farm to a school. Coordinators work with host farmers to create a short film of the farm to accompany a box of activities and resources for those schools not yet able to come out on a farm visit,
  • Influencing policy makers
  • Volunteer with Country Trust

NFU Education

NFU Education is a small team of former teachers who understand the NFU’s link with the education profession. NFU Education aims to save teachers’ time and reduce workload, to spark learners’ passion and enthusiasm for STEM subjects all whilst delivering important messages about food, farming and nutrition through a cross-curricular, project-based approach.

  • Farming STEMterprise – an award-winning resource to help primary schools link their learning to farming and STEM.
  • Farmers for Schools – interested in training to deliver a myth busting assembly to a secondary school? Email education@nfu.org.uk
  • Engineering Educates: Farmvention Challenge - want to help 7-14 year old students design a farm of the future with an in person or virtual partnership? Email farmvention@nfu.org.uk

Farm Link (Devon and Cornwall)

This organisation is dedicated to educating school children about farming, food production, healthier eating and the environment. To bring the classroom to the countryside and the countryside to the classroom. Find out ways you can get involved in sharing these messages.

Access To Farms

This is a partnership of organisations that helps farmers inspire the next generation by offering safe, fun access to farm visits. Access To Farms is responsible for the creation of the Industry Code of Practice: preventing or controlling ill health through animal contact at visitor attractions. It is also responsible for CEVAS which is the established training course for landowners operating visits for schools and those with additional needs.

Showing guide

For younger members who would like to prepare for future shows, improve skills with NFYFC and RBST’s Showing Guide . It’s a great way to show a positive farming image at a public event and stimulate interest from others.

Before you get started on sharing messages, ask yourself:

  • Should we go it alone as a club/county or form an association with a partner?
  • Should we establish a link with a local school – either independently or through your chosen partner?
  • What are we and my fellow club members really interested in? Food, farming, machinery, conservation? Choose a topic that you enjoy and this will help you enthuse others.
  • Have we have asked for advice and used the correct facts, figures and examples to share?
  • Have we carried out all necessary safeguarding permissions and H&S assessments?
  • Have we planned and practiced?

Speak to NFYFC for further information.


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.


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