National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

24 June 2022

Six YFC members from England and Wales are taking on Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland at Stockjudging in a battle of the 5 nations at the Royal Highland Show this June.

It’s the first time a 5 nations stockjudging contest has been held but it’s hoped it will become an annual event if this one proves successful.

Competitors will be judging different breeds including Holstein and Ayrshire for the dairy, and Simmental, Shorthorn and Charolais for the beef. While the sheep breeds will include Suffolk, Border Leicester, South Country Cheviots and Beltex.

Jess Stewart, from Durham City YFC, only started stockjudging last year during lockdown and after early success in the competition, she is now representing England in the sheep stockjudging.

“I started stockjudging when NFYFC held the competition online, so I haven’t got a lot of experience at it. But I competed in live and carcase at the national final at the English Winter Fair and ended up winning in the Lamb stockjudging,” said Jess who manages a herd of Belted Galloway beef with her sister. “I’ve just got some sheep this year, so stockjudging must be paying off! I’m really proud to be representing England – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Joining Jess will be Amy Bowness from Greysouthen YFC in Cumbria who will be judging the Dairy. After successfully competing in the national Stockman of the Year, Amy is looking forward to taking part in the 5 nations competition.

“I definitely like Dairy the best – I feel I know that well. I am from a dairy farm and we have a few sheep as well. I’ve been a YFC member for 13 years and I have done dairy stockjudging right from the off when I joined as a junior,” said Amy who works as a Radiographer when she’s not helping on the family farm. “I’m very proud to be taking part in the 5 nations competition. It’s not something I expected to do but it will definitely be something different!”

George Lee, from Newton St Cyres YFC in Devon, is hoping to end his final year in YFC on a high by judging the beef cattle for the England team. No stranger to success at a national stockjudging competition, George is looking forward to putting his skills to the test against four other nations.

“I have always taken part in stockjudging competitions as I like looking after cattle at home. Although I work on a dairy farm, I prefer judging beef as I find it easier.”

Jess Banks, from Sarn YFC in Montgomeryshire, will also be judging beef but for the Welsh team, despite her day job being a herdsperson for a dairy farm.

“Beef is my favourite of all the stockjudging. I came third in Senior Stockman of the Year in Wales. I have had a few troubles over the last few years so my stockjudging never got to where I wanted it to be. This year everything came together, so I am really chuffed to be heading up to the highlands to represent Wales,” said Jess who has ensured she spends time focusing on activities, such as Stockjudging, that she enjoys to improve her wellbeing.

Jess will be joined by Nia Thomas from St. Ishmaels YFC in Carmarthenshire, who will judge the dairy and Thomas Swancott from Teme Valley YFC in Radnor who will judge the sheep for Wales.

The Royal Highland Show takes place from 23-26 June at Ingliston in Edinburgh.

23 June 2022

Innovation and technology are a major focus of a new podcast series recorded as part of a joint venture between KUHN Farm Machinery and NFYFC.

Representatives from KUHN recorded the series with Meet the Farmer podcaster Ben Eagle and discuss topics such as innovation and changes in technology in the arable and livestock sectors. The final episode in this mini-series looks at career opportunities, and Ben chats to YFC members who have developed their careers with KUHN.

This is the second podcast series NFYFC has produced with KUHN – with the first series focused on regenerative farming and quality forage, as well as a discussion around careers.

The first episode in this latest series highlights changes in farming practices and innovation in technology in the arable sector. Representatives from KUHN, Non-inversion and Spraying Sales Specialist Rupert Greest and Area Sales Manager John Hulland, discuss the latest kit that KUHN is producing to help arable farmers and how they are connecting with customers through apps and even TikTok.

Speaking in the first episode, John Hulland explained what he thought arable farmers wanted. He said: “Technology has been embraced by customers and they are looking to make themselves more efficient, looking at their inputs and outputs. They are looking at more GPS and being more mindful of their fertiliser application and their spraying costs. They are making sure they are putting the right product, in the right place, at the right time.”

It is hoped that the podcast can be used by YFCs for club programming and prompt discussion between members about the issues they raise. NFYFC’s AGRI Chair Charlotte Garbutt said: “We’re pleased to be releasing another podcast series with the team at KUHN. These informative sessions offer invaluable insight to young farmers who are developing their careers.

“The episodes delve into the different technology available for farmers working in the arable or livestock sectors, as well as providing information on career opportunities.” The first podcast in this latest series can be listened to below and YFCs are encouraged to share with their members.


15 June 2022

YFC members have the opportunity to attend the 2023 Oxford Farming Conference, from 4-6 January 2023, thanks to a scholarship opportunity through the Worshipful Company of Farmers.

Successful scholars will be given opportunities to attend training events in the autumn as well as attend the conference in Oxford in January, which is called Farming a new Future.

Potential scholars should:

  • Be keen to learn and participate, represent YFCs and share your experience with the membership
  • Have practical or educational experience in livestock or arable farming, or a particular interest for attending which can be communicated and considered
  • Be available to attend a half-day scholars’ online event 
  • Be available to attend the online Oxford Farming Conference (OFC)  
  • Scholars should be aged between 22 and 30 and not have attended the conference before.

AGRI Manager Sarah Palmer said: "We know that some young farmers do not feel confident about putting themselves forward for these opportunities but if you know of a worthy applicant, please encourage them to apply for this opportunity. Also, if you're interested in applying but are not sure about what's involved, please contact me for further guidance."

To be considered for a scholarship, please submit your reasons why you should be considered for this great opportunity, include contact details, your YFC membership number and your CV to Sarah Palmer. 

07 June 2022

Young Farmers wanting to know more about Defra policy scheme developments and future business planning can access a new resource created in conjunction with Savills.

NFYFC teamed up with Savills to record an interactive discussion session, which is now available online, to act as a useful reminder for young farmers to understand what’s happening and when. Inevitable change is proceeding at pace, including the reduction of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), and introduction of new grants and schemes with a range of options, names and acronyms.

Savills’ food and farming consultant Georgina Sweeting and rural associate director Hannah Turner highlighted the current issues of balancing food production with environmental land use and making the most of new and emerging opportunities.

Explaining the drivers for change as well as the macro and competing pressures on land including food production, housing, climate change, carbon emissions and outdoor leisure space, Hannah explained options for using land effectively to support current government objectives.

“There is becoming an increasing marketplace for capitalising on natural resources. They’re becoming more transactable. Where you have a land parcel you might be able to seek extra revenue and generate extra revenue that could potentially fill some voids where you have negated those subsidy resources through the phase out of BPS,” explained Hannah.

The recording of the presentation by Savills is available below. The presentation completes the last component of the 2021-22 Defra-supported projects, which was to include a professional business advisory service summary of emerging Defra schemes as well as farming and land management opportunities. 

The Savills presentation included information about the impacts of reaching net zero. With the urgency, ambition and awareness of reaching net zero, retailers and consumers will be adding pressure on suppliers to show their green credentials, affecting both food production practices and future land use opportunities. Construction and energy company offers for land is already widespread, but caution (and professional advice) is advised for any consideration of change of land use or business arrangements that might have far-reaching impacts on succession or business status.

Despite the many carbon calculator tools and current lack of clarity for final scheme payments, the generic industry advice is to start or continue soil sampling, recording and benchmarking. Taking account of what happens on your land will ultimately help with future business decision making.

The discussion also highlighted that the roadmap to net zero will be a finely tuned balancing act which should not mean taking land away from food production but analysing marginal land, collaborating with neighbouring land owners and taking professional advice before making any long-term decisions.

If you have questions to ask Hannah or Georgina at Savills after watching the recording, please contact Sarah Palmer.

01 June 2022

It’s National Volunteers Week (1-7 June 2022) and NFYFC President Nigel Owens pays tribute to the many volunteers who have helped make YFC happen over the past 90 years.

Young Farmers’ Clubs are so important to our rural communities. They give young people opportunities, confidence, and safe spaces to socialise. They help combat isolation in remote locations and celebrate all that is great about the British countryside, food and farming.

And without the generosity and goodwill of hundreds of volunteers across England and Wales, they simply would not exist.

As a member-led organisation, it is young people who step up and volunteer to chair our clubs and county federations. They take leading roles in running their charities and providing valuable experiences for nearly 23,000 rural young people.

They lead and inspire their volunteer teams of secretaries, treasurers, club leaders, trustees, advisory committees and parents. All of whom play vital roles in the running of our 580 clubs and 46 county federations.

We are indebted to all our volunteers for the time they give to YFC and for helping NFYFC deliver its charitable objectives.

As we celebrate NFYFC’s 90th Anniversary year, it’s also an ideal time to reflect on the many thousands of people who have volunteered over the past nine decades to support this organisation.

The dedication of those who have served, and continue to serve, as club, county and national chairs, vice chairs, presidents and life vice presidents have made an indelible mark on YFC’s history. Thank you for your passion and commitment.

And, it feels poignant that in our 90th year, we are also celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of our Patron, The Queen. NFYFC is extremely proud of its Royal association that officially started in 1957. As someone who works incredibly hard in the areas of public and charitable service, The Queen is a true inspiration to YFCs. Thank you to The Queen for her public support of YFC and congratulations on the last 70 years.

And finally, thank you to everyone who has volunteered for YFC in whatever capacity over the last 90 years. Be proud of what you have helped the organisation – and so many thousands of rural young people – achieve.

Diolch yn fawr.

Nigel Owens
NFYFC President 2022-23


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