National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

27 May 2011

NFYFC has welcomed the call for more policy measures for young farmers from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, outlined in a report adopted this week by the EU Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI).

The amended report, by German MEP Albert Dess, details the need for installation aid for young farmers to be made available in all EU Member States; calls for national reserves to be geared more towards young farmers as well as stronger investment in education and training, and also recognises the need for generational renewal in agriculture.

NFYFC, which recently rejoined the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA), supported CEJA’s voting recommendations to the COMAGRI committee, and lobbied MEPs on the future of the CAP.

The report, which is the European Parliament’s reaction to last November’s Communication of the Commission, notes that steps to target generational renewal in the sector are needed as just 6 per cent of European farmers are under 35, while 4.5 million farmers will retire over the coming decade.

It acknowledges barriers facing younger farmers such as high investment costs and access to land and credit, and calls for proposals to reverse the trend of rapid aging of the sector, including changes to the rules governing the national reserve so they are better geared towards the young.

The report also stresses the need for education and training opportunities, farm advisory services and exchange of best practices in order to modernise agriculture, encourage innovation, and recommends these kinds of programme should be available throughout the EU.

NFYFC CEJA representative Katherine Sealy said: “While a suggestion of top-ups for young farmers was not taken on board, adoption of this report by the committee makes it clear that young farmers’ concerns are being noted. We hope this review of the Common Agricultural Policy will reap the rewards young farmers and new entrants to the industry have been patiently waiting for over the past decade.”

CEJA president Joris Baecke, who was a guest speaker at NFYFC’s Agriculture & Rural Affairs Forum debate in Blackpool earlier this month, said: “We are pleased that COM AGRI recognises young farmers have obstacles to starting up. MEPs have a real opportunity to champion young farmers in this CAP reform by calling for targeted measures.”

27 May 2011

Gorge walking, night orienteering and a chance to try a host of other new things are on offer to 16-17-year old YFC members on this year's Leadership Challenge course - a two-day experience not to be missed.

This year it is taking place on 29-31 July in Herefordshire and bookings are being taken now.Click here to learn more and download your booking forms.

25 May 2011

NFYFC chairman James Chapman
The world, young people and our membership are changing. We need to move with the times so Young Farmers’ Clubs can survive and thrive.

The organisation has been making changes needed to modernise it and ensure YFC continues to be attractive and relevant to the wants and needs of young people living and working in rural areas and running those YFCs. That modernisation has included restructuring of the board of management and NFYFC staff, as well as investment in new technology, among other things.

All this work has been done to prepare us for the most important and exciting stage of the process – where you tell us what you want from your YFC, and need from NFYFC to support that, into the future.

Discussions are being held in all areas of the federation so we can hear how you want the organisation to evolve, and every one of you can give your feedback in the online poll that’s there to capture your views and ideas.

Please fill in the online survey to shape the future of YFC and NFYFC. You are in the driving seat so don’t miss out on the chance to power the federation forward so in the years to come it can continue to support other young people in ways that will be relevant to them.

It’s your organisation and you are key in steering it on its journey into its next decade.

23 May 2011

Local infrastructure and services including transport, housing and access to broadband were top of the agenda for YFC members on the regional link day to the Houses of Parliament and the NFU London offices.

Agriculture & rural affairs steering group members, including vice chairwoman Norfolk YFC’s Helen Reeve, discussed their issues and concerns with Norfolk MP George Freeman, who shared his aim of re-empowering and invigorating local communities within his Norfolk constituency.

Helen highlighted the lack of a motorway system which made it difficult for goods coming in and out of the county, issues with access to broadband services locally, and scarcity of jobs for people leaving agricultural colleges, among other concerns.

“We have several members who are at agricultural college but very few have secure jobs at the end of their training. How can we ensure that these people stay in farming rather than being 'lost' to other industries? They're obviously keen on farming because they're studying it at an FE college but it can be discouraging when jobs are few and far between.”

She added: “There's also the issue of affordable housing. I know of many young people, myself included, who would like to get on the property ladder but with land and house prices rising, this is getting harder. What steps are there for people in my position?”

The MP said he was aware of the need to encourage vibrant communities that would be attractive to younger people and told the YFC delegates that Young Farmers’ Clubs members were doing all the right things in sharing their views and concerns and acting as advocates for localism.

He was also impressed that they were prepared to help shape future agricultural policy by inputting into such things as CAP reform consultations. “I am highly impressed by the knowledge and dedication shown by the Young Farmers’ Clubs members, for whom farming is not just a job, but a livelihood. I think it is imperative that support is given to technical and scientific research to enable the agricultural and horticultural industries to adapt and improve in an evolving climate. Infrastructure, such as reliable broadband and mobile phone access has to be in place in rural communities to allow the farms of the future to function adequately in business,” said Mr Freeman.

The group also visited the NFU Government and Parliamentary Affairs Office to learn more about the lobbying and campaigning role of the NFU and got some tips from senior parliamentary adviser Matt Ware on promoting both YFC and agriculture effectively.

He urged them to spread the word about the issues they were passionate about and to cultivate relationships for the future by talking to MPs and MEPs and inviting them to see what YFC is doing to help young people wanting to enter into farming and agriculture.

20 May 2011

Farmers Guardian has launched its fourth digital magazine dedicated to the annual general convention and all that is good about being a YFC member.

It was a weekend of fun, friendship, competitions, camaraderie and even had an ongoing appearance from a celebrity.

The FG team landed in Blackpool armed with cameras, videos, freebies and much more besides to help make Blackpool 2011 an annual convention to remember.

Check out our exclusive souvenir edition featuring pictures, videos, interviews with Lionel Hill, newly elected president Matt Baker, plus lots of comments from members

Inside The Adventurer you’ll find hundreds of pictures, Saturday night’s antics caught on camera and a video highlighting the best of the weekend.

Stepping down from five years at the helm we catch up with Lionel Hill MBE to find out how he feels about his time as president of NFYFC and what the future has in store. Members share their favourite memories of him and we also catch up with a few others to ask why they’re proud to be Young Farmers' Clubs members.

Add to the mix Matt Baker, competition results and a report of all the events, The Adventurer is a souvenir edition of Blackpool 2012.

Click here to read The Adventurer

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.


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