National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

20 April 2011

NFYFC's Katherine Sealy reports from the CEJA General Assembly meeting in Brussels

We were received with a very warm welcome from the other members of CEJA who were pleased that we were considering our position with regards to membership as they felt we could all benefit from each other’s experiences.

The meeting opened with a summary of the work that CEJA has been engaged in, from the President Joris Baecke. He explained that CEJA has participated in many formal and informal discussions with agricultural minsters, representing the needs of its members directly with the Agricultural Commission. Having had the opportunity to meet previously with Gwillym Jones, I am assured of the political voice of CEJA in terms of its representation with the Agriculture Commissioner Dacion Ciolos. The membership of CEJA represents more than a million young farmers and is at the centre of the debate in European Agricultural Policy. The main objective of CEJA is to participate in discussions with organisations of any interest to its membership.

In 2010 it organised two seminars co-financed by the EU in Seville and Louvain, which had over 150 participants. It has been at the centre of discussions on CAP and the role of agriculture in society and engaged with the agricultural cabinet, the commissioner, stakeholders, banks, and member states to shape its policy and impress it upon them.

In 2010 CEJA adopted its Young Farmers Package for the CAP reform. Essentially this is a common installation policy with top up payments for young farmers and new entrants under Pillar I and maintenance and strengthening of the young farmer policies under Pillar II. With the approval of the Commission, CEJA is exploring the legal aspects of positive discrimination and binding member states to implement the Pillar II proposals.

As a stakeholder and consultee, CEJA attends the DG Agriculture chaired meetings as well as having structured dialogue with the European Parliament and an opportunity  to outreach to many political parties. They organised a farm visit for MEPs to get them on a farm out of Brussels. Their objective for 2011 is to continue to organise networking events and working groups. This includes
CEJA is engaged in a number of projects at the heart of Europe;

I believe that there are plans to investigate further projects and work, such as; looking at renewable energy, work with the World Farming Organisation focussing on generational renewal in agriculture and celebrating 50 years of CEJA. As well as continuing its outreach work with member states and raising the profile of young farmers in light of the CAP reform package, CEJA will be looking to further its partnerships and project work in 2011 for the benefits of its membership. There is a great deal of knowledge transfer and experience exchange which I think that NFYFC can benefit from with its membership of CEJA, which in turn should strengthen our organisation.

CEJA has commented on the Dess report, that it isn’t considered ambitious enough on young farmers in their opinion and they have suggested amendments to the report to call for top up and mandatory implementation of the Pillar II measures. Lobbying work undertaken by CEJA has influenced the drafting of a report by the Economic & Social Committee on a young farmer’s scheme, which includes the CEJA young farmer’s proposals.

It was at this meeting that our observer membership was agreed. As a organisation representing young farmers in a Country whose industry is dictated at from a European level, linking with CEJA to represent young farmers and new entrants and with their experience, volume and activity should strengthen NFYFC’s position and be beneficial to the membership, not just on CAP reform but also the experience of European young farmers and rural areas and range of projects that they are engaged in, so that we can learn from them and contribute to them.

Following the CEJA General Assembly meeting, we had the opportunity to meet with Tim Render, from the UK Representation to the EU and Brussels responsible for the Regions and Agriculture. He was delighted that we had been approved as observer members of CEJA and confirmed that they are very active lobbying the European Parliament and are well respected for the work that they undertake. We talked about how CEJA could benefit from our observer membership in terms of our experience of CAP implementation, the support that the industry received from the Government, how the Policy had been implemented in other countries and how NFYFC could benefit from such membership in terms of opportunities and skills/knowledge transfer.

CEJA President Joris Baecke will be at this year's Agriculture & Rural Affairs Forum in Blackpool on Saturday 7 May. Come along and find out how he is supporting young farmers in Europe.

18 April 2011

Students and Fresh Start Academy members are invited to join YFC members and practise their business skills for future tenancy applications.

Supported by Defra, 2011 sees the pilot of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) opening up its prestigious competition to non-YFC members in an adjacent category with its own prize of Oxford Farming Conference scholarships.

NFYFC’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee chairwoman Milly Wastie said: “The competition and its associated tenancy training is much-needed in the current financial and agricultural climate.  We want the improved standard of applications from young farmers to continue and it’s for this reason that sponsors and supporters of the competition pushed for an additional category.

“We hope this will also highlight the work of the NFYFC Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee to a wider audience as well as helping other young, potential tenants, to practise their skills.

“NFYFC is pleased that collaboration with the Tenant Farmers’ Association and Savills has paid dividends for would-be tenants.  The professional expertise is invaluable and extending the competition to non-members is a forward-thinking move that should benefit both young people and the industry.  It also helps to fulfil the AgriSkills strategy aims of promoting skills development and the concept of professionalism as being central to business improvement.”

The competition is now live and information and entry forms are available from the NFYFC website  or by contacting  The deadline for business plan submissions is 1 August and interviews and an awards ceremony takes place on 17 September at the Royal County of Berkshire Show, Newbury.

08 April 2011

There's a fantastic opportunity for two English young farmers to compete in the first-ever World Young Shepherds Competition taking place in New Zealand in November.

Qualifying competitions for English competitors aged 20-25 are taking place at the NSA North Sheep event on Wednesday 8 June in Hexam, Northumberland, and the NSA Sheep South West event on 14 June in Paignton, Devon. The highest placed eligible competitors from the two NSA Young Shepherd competitions will be able to go forward to the world championships which are sponsored by EBLEX.

The Young Shepherd Award is designed to test shepherding skills in a pentathlon of activities. Entrants will be required to sort finished lambs for slaughter and demonstrate handling tasks, shearing, vaccinating and dosing techniques, along with stock judging. They will also be questioned on flock management and health issues.

NSA North Sheep event organiser Julie Sedgewick said: "These two competitions are designed to help equip tomorrow's sheep keepers with the skills they need and give recognition once those skills are honed."

Download the flyer for more information on the competition.

06 April 2011

Check out who will be battling it out to take home the silver from the NFYFC competition finals at annual convention in Blackpool as well as this year's trophies in the annual convention section of the website.

06 April 2011

The closing date for applications for this annual bursary is 30 April, and prospective postgraduate agricultural students interested in applying for the award are being encouraged to submit their applications.

Don't miss your chance to apply for an award that could pay for 75% iof the cost of course fees.

Full details of the bursary scheme and how to apply are available in the Things to Do section of the website, under Bursaries and Scholarships.

06 April 2011

Enthusiastic Young Farmers' Clubs members are up for the challenge of making the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) succeed.

That was the overwhelming message at last week’s NFYFC Regional Link Day at a CFE Beacon farm in Gloucestershire where a group of YFC members found out how the campaign can deliver environmental benefits through practical management, without the need for regulation.

The YFC members were given a tour of host farmer Simon Pain’s 125ha holding near Berkeley to learn some practical tips on the key target options in ELS and campaign voluntary measures that count towards the CFE.

Simon Pain said: “The enthusiasm that the young people displayed for the campaign was fantastic. Hopefully they will be inspired to do the simplest of things to support the CFE on their own farms which might also encourage members of their county groups to take part in the campaign.”

Herefordshire YFC member Richard Thomas said: “The walk around Billow Farm demonstrated that through simple management we, as young farmers, can help the campaign succeed. As an industry we certainly don’t need further regulation and I will be encouraging fellow young farmers in Herefordshire to look at the management they are doing on their farms and put in place key target options in ELS and campaign voluntary measures.”

YFC members at the meeting received free supplies of wild bird seed, courtesy of CFE supporters, Kings Game Cover and Conservation Crops, to help them get on their way with option establishment on farm.

The CFE will be providing advice during the NFYFC annual convention at Blackpool in May this year where members will be able to get information on how they can support the campaign without the need for Government intervention.

Campaign for the Farmed Environment partners are the NFU, the Country, Land and Business Association, the Agricultural Industries Confederation, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Linking Environment and Farming, Defra, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the RSPB. They have been joined by the Association of Independent Crop Consultants and the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers to create a powerful national partnership.


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