National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

18 May 2011

To mark the launch of the Farm Safety Charter, launched today at the Grassland and Muck event at Stoneleigh and signed by NFYFC chairman James Chapman, Farmers Guardian is holding a live internet debate tomorrow (Thursday 19 May)  between 1-2pm.

Entitled ‘Making Britain’s Farms Safer’, it will give you the chance to question experts and make your views known on why Britain’s farms have such an appalling safety record and, more importantly, what should we be doing about it.

The debate will feature three panelists:

  • Graeme Walker, the Health and Safety Executive’s head of agriculture.
  • Peter Garbutt, the NFU’s farm safety adviser and former NFYFC ARAC chairman.
  • Northumberland YFC's Mark Mather, a farmer whose own story is featured in the HSE’s Make the promise: Come home safe campaign.
The debate can be viewed on from 1pm.

You are invited to take part by submitting questions to the panelists in advance to or posting them live and commenting on what is being said during the debate.

18 May 2011

Following its sucessful launch at last year's annual convention NFYFC's Novartis travel scholarship is again this year offering a Young Farmers' Clubs member a chance to work on a sheep farm in New Zealand.

The scholar will receive an award of £1,500 to enable them to travel to New Zealand later this year and spend two weeks gaining hands-on experience on New Zealand sheep farms, as well as having the opportunity to travel in the country.

The scholarship is being provided by Novartis Animal Health (NAH) as part of its long-term commitment to the sheep industry and its support for Britain’s young farmers.

Last year's scholarship was won by Staffordshire YFC’s Alex Mackellar: "I was shocked to win but absolutely over the moon,” said Alex, who works on the family’s sheep and arable farm. “This scholarship is a fantastic opportunity of a lifetime to really gain something - not just go somewhere different but learn something new to use in your work.”

The winning scholar is also equipped with a laptop and video camera to enable them to produce weekly blogs and a video diary of their visit which is showcased on both the Novartis and NFYFC websites.

The scholarship is open to full YFC members aged 18 by the time of travel and a maximum age of 26 on 1 September 2011.

Candidates must submit a report examining the benefits of parasite control and how this impacts on productivity in farming and the report should not be more than 500 words long.

You may wish to send in a short video presentation, of between two-five minutes, introducing yourself, where you live and detailing your career or education. This is optional and not mandatory.

All entries should be forwarded to the NFYFC, YFC Centre 10th Street, Stoneleigh Park Kenilworth CV8  2LG, marked for the attention of Diane Calvert by no later than Friday 11 June 2011.

Click here to download full details of how to apply for the scholarship.

Click here to read Alex's blog from the 2010 trip.


17 May 2011

My very sincere thanks for all the warm and touching messages and gifts that I have received following my retirement as NFYFC president.

It has been an absolute pleasure and honour to have held this post whilst just having loads of fun with you all.

This has been the most incredible journey of my life and I couldn't have done it without the support of my family and my wife, Helen, and living on the edge of the motorway network!.

It has made me so very proud to stand as president. I describe myself as the most fortunate pensioner in the world, as my circle of friends has grown and grown.

Best wishes to each and everyone of you.

13 May 2011

NFYFC members joined in the fun at the Westminster Village Youth Fete this week.

The event, run as a traditional summer fair, brought together local and national youth organisations allowing them to promote their work and network with similar voluntary sector organisations, the public and government ministers.

Opened by the Lords' Speaker Baroness Hayman the fete featured Punch and Judy, Maypole and Morris dancing and the NFYFC team of Youth Forum members Aled Jones and Becca Watkins, and Steve Vincent, Ross Symons and Kirsty Carnell from the South West area led the welly wanging.

They spent time fundraising and chatting to Defra and NFU representatives about Young Farmers' Clubs and what they get out of being a member.

As well as an opportunity to network, NFYFC's delegates were able to see what other organisations exist for young people and visit London and Westminster. And youth forum spokesman Aled Jones even persuaded Baroness Hayman to try her hand at flinging a welly.

13 May 2011

Hop over to the annual convention area of the website to give us your feedback on this year's convention and AGM in Blackpool.

12 May 2011

Cheers and a few tears were the order of the day as more than 650 Young Farmers’ Clubs members and VIPs packed into the annual general meeting in the Spanish Hall of Blackpool’s Winter Gardens to conduct the federation’s business and celebrate the year’s achievements.

Federation representatives from across England and Wales travelled to the annual convention in greater numbers than seen in the past couple of years for a jam-packed agenda which included a final official engagement for retiring NFYFC president Lionel Hill MBE after five years’ tireless work for Young Farmers’ Clubs.

Minute’s silence

Proceedings opened with a minute’s silence in memory of Ken Unwin MBE and David Gillam. Ken, who was regarded as the father figure of Staffordshire farmers, died on 6 December. He was heavily involved with Cheadle YFC, and went on to be president and honorary life president of Staffordshire YFC. David, along with his wife Valerie Baker-Gillam, was a driving force behind the Three Counties Ball, one of the main fundraisers for Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire YFCs.

Election of NFYFC president

Proposing Countryfile and One Show presenter Matt Baker as NFYFC president, this year’s personal development steering group chairwoman Claire Swinburne (County Durham YFC) described Matt as “a president many a young farmer can aspire to” adding that NFYFC could look to him to promote awareness of the organisation in the wider community.  Events chairwoman Hollie Harris (East Riding of Yorkshire) second the motion, pronouncing him “The One for the job”.

Once Matt had received his president's badge from 2010 chairwoman Helen Roberts, Lionel quipped that he had once been as good looking as Matt prior to 50 years with YFC, and that he was invoicing Matt for £1,076 which is what his grandchildren had spent voting for Matt in the Strictly Come Dancing competition.

A delighted Mr Baker told the federation: “It is a real honour. I know that Lionel is much loved by all of you and you are incredibly grateful to the legend that is Lionel. He has travelled the length and breadth and hasn’t been home at all. But what I can try to do is raise the profile of YFC with the public so that people can latch on to all your enthusiasm for farming and agriculture.”

Lionel was elected life vice president of NFYFC for his services to NFYFC and the YFC federations and was presented with a carriage clock, a book of memories and a commemorative photo of all the NFYFC chairmen and women who had served during his time as president.

Having moved the meeting to tears with his emotional farewell speech, Lionel received a standing ovation and three cheers from the audience – before carrying on with the business of the AGM in his usual inimitable style.

Election of officers

Pembrokeshire’s Katie Davies and Lancashire’s Katie Delaney proposed and seconded the motion that the 2010 deputy presidents be thanked for their services to the federation over the past year and that the following be elected for the year from May 2011-2012: Christopher Hunt (Eastern area), David Herbert (East Midlands area) Gary Davies (Northern area), Alethea Snelling (South-east area), John Lee FRAgs (South-west area), Gwynne Davies (Wales) and David Heminsley (West Midlands area).

Annual report and audited accounts

NFYFC chairwoman for 2010 Helen Roberts and the year's senior officer team of Katherine Sealy (ARAC),  Rob Cann (personal development), James Sage (competitions), Rhiannon Rees (events), and Enfys Evans (Wales YFC), presented the annual report (which is available to download online, with hard copies from NFYFC on request).

Gwent’s Mark Williams and Lancashire’s Sam Ainscow proposed and seconded the motion from NFYFC council that the audited accounts for 2010 as printed be adopted and Michael Harwood & Co be thanked for their services, and that Grant Thornton UK LLP be appointed as auditors for 2011.

National subscription (national levy)

A motion that the gross national subscription for September 2011 to August 2012 be increased by 10 per cent (approximately £1.04 per member) was proposed by Warwickshire’s Anna Blythe, in a speech which also won her the Sydney Fawcett Trophy for the member making the greatest contribution to the democratic proceedings at the AGM, and seconded by Kent’s Lucy Puttick.

Radnor’s Jonathan Williams and Pembrokeshire’s Aled Johnson proposed and seconded the amendment that the increase should be 5 per cent, which was carried when put to the vote.

Young Farmers Ambassadors (YFC)

Discovery continues to receive generous support from YFC, an association of past YFC members who have all travelled with NFYFC’s travel and exchange programme. YFA members help run the selection days and hosting arrangements and financial support. Staffordshire’s Donna Tavernor presented a cheque for £4,000 to Lionel Hill.

YFA scholars, Uttoxeter YFC's Jeffrey Goodwin and Cornwall's Emma Ead, also received cheques on behalf of YFA. Jeffrey will be travelling to Germany and Emma to Canada.

Rural Youth Trust

Rural Youth Trust presented a cheque for £16,000 to CEO Diane Calvert to help with the future of YFC by funding a strategic review and business plan for the organisation. The trust was set up as an independent charity to help all rural youth organisations and also offers and automatic grant of £500 to help start up new YFCs.


Designed by Kevyn Williams