National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

02 May 2012

TV presenter Matt Baker has been re-elected to serve as president of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC).

The Countryfile and The One Show star was voted into the post by members at the organisation’s annual general meeting held at the International Riviera Centre in Torquay on 29th April. Born in Durham and raised on the family sheep farm, Matt has spent the last year working tirelessly behind the scenes, promoting the federation to a wider audience; “I never stop talking about Young Farmers and from my position on The One Show, you’d be amazed at the people who now know about the organisation. The conversation quite often comes around to the countryside and I always let them know about YFCs and how they are driving British agriculture forwards.

As the current President, Matt had the responsibility of chairing this year’s Annual General Meeting and admitted beforehand that he was a little apprehensive; “I’m slightly nervous, as I’m sure all Presidents before me have been, but I want to make it as relaxed as possible and encourage members to come up and talk.”

Matt was chosen by YFC members for his long-standing close connection with YFC through his mother Janice, who is Durham YFC’s county organiser, his love of the countryside, and his farming and agricultural expertise. The Annual General Meeting, which also saw Chair of Natural England, Poul Christensen CBE, elected to the post of President Elect for NFYFC, was just part of a whole weekend of events for the organization. Over 4000 YFC members from across the country travelled to Torquay, many of them raising thousands of pounds for charity along the way.

Seventy members from the Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers undertook an epic bike ride along the Olympic torch route from London to Torquay, whilst a cleverly named ‘Tor’de’Quay’ cycle ride by four members of Kent YFC raised money for Kent Air Ambulance. Yorkshire YFC took a thoroughly unique approach, as six members traveled to the event on mobility scooters, towing a giant sheep and potato, to raise money for healthcare charity, Sue Ryder.
On arrival there was no rest for the weary travelers, who faced a weekend jam packed with competitions, an agricultural conference and Radio One DJs.

Matt got a fantastic reception from members as he helped to compare the national finals of the NFYFC street dance and jump rope competitions, which saw Devon YFC and Gloucestershire YFC crowned champions.

He also attended the organisation’s annual Agricultural and Rural Affairs Forum, where the minister for Agriculture, Jim Paice MP, was quizzed by members on such topics as CAP reform, the spread of TB in livestock and the globalisation of agriculture.

Ensuring that it wasn’t all work and no play, Radio One DJs Comedy Dave, Dominic Bryns and Aled Hayden Jones rounded off the evening events, alongside live bands and a silent disco. Asked how he plans to support the organization further this year Matt replied; “From being at this weekend’s events I have seen that there is a thirst from YFC members that the organisation becomes more widely known. YFC members are incredibly inspiring and influential, and nine times out of ten when we talk to people for Countryfile they have a connection with YFC, so I think there could be more scope to promote young farmers on the show.

I’ve attended many YFC events over the years so I’m very aware of the important role Young Farmers’ Clubs play and the many opportunities they offer young people in rural areas, as well as the huge amount YFC’s young volunteers give back to their local communities and other charities.

There is a new appreciation of our British countryside, and agriculture and farming are changing rapidly. Young farmers are the future, and Young Farmers’ Clubs members have the energy and enthusiasm to drive this industry forward.”

02 May 2012

This year’s Annual General Meeting was held on a wet and windy April morning, but that didn’t stop members coming along to the Riviera Centre in Torquay and having their say on how NFYFC should be run...and perhaps trying to catch a glimpse of our celebrity president!

Matt Baker was in charge of proceedings, and admitted the day before that he was a little apprehensive;
“I’m slightly nervous, as I’m sure all Presidents before me have been, but I want to make it as relaxed as possible and encourage members to come up and talk.”

In the end Matt did a sterling job in making sure the meeting ran smoothly and he certainly achieved his aim, with members flocking to the podium to have their say.

The meeting began on a positive note, with the national president being re-elected for another year after a typically impassioned proposal speech from Aled Jones! In fact his speech was so good that at the end of the meeting, Aled was awarded the Sidney Fawcett Trophy for his contribution to AGM proceedings.

It was also decided that a new position of President Elect should be created to support the President in his work. This role was given to Poul Christensen CBE, Chair of Natural England, and a farmer himself.  

Speaking after the AGM, Poul said: “I am delighted to have been asked to be President Elect of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs.  It is a real honour to be invited to take on this role and I am hugely looking forward to supporting the Young Farmers’ Club movement in whatever way I can.”

The oracle of all things NFYFC and a familiar face to many members, Christopher Lloyd, was also elected as a trustee of NFYFC to huge applause from the audience.

Once the elections were over, the chairmen of our four steering groups; Competitions, Events, ARAC and Personal Development - took to the stand for a round-up of this year’s activities.  This was also the chance for retiring Chairman, James Chapman, to give one last speech, which received a standing ovation from the members for his incredible hard work and dedication during his year in office.

However it was the agenda items which followed this that really encouraged members to approach the podium, speak up and cast their votes. These included a proposed increase of the national levy and changes to the structure of the Board of Management and National Council.

The final motion from the membership was proposed by Vice-chairman of Council Milly Wastie representing Northampton Town and County Federation and Matthew Sharpe from Northumberland federation.  They received resounding support for their proposal that NFYFC launch a campaign to drive down the high cost of car insurance.

The morning’s meeting was rounded up with the presentation of a cheque for NFYFC from the Young Farmers Ambassadors, for continuing support to the Discovery Programme, followed by the presentation of trophies to members.

02 May 2012

Devon YFC had trophy success over the weekend, with the ‘Cruwys Massive’ aka Cruwys Morchard YFC winning the Street Dance competition on Saturday afternoon with a high energy routine, complete with flashing trousers! The competition was judged by Dance Destination’s Kate Issac and Kieran Ball and included a performance from street dance pros DV8. National President Matt Baker was also on hand to have a quick chat with the teams, and said he was blown away by the standard of all the competitors, including second place Cirencester YFC from Gloucestershire and third place Abberley YFC from Worcestershire.

That wasn’t the last success of the day for Gloucestershire, as Sodbury Vale YFC skipped to victory in the jump rope competition, showing real technical skill and precision. Cumbria YFC followed close behind in second, just ahead of Cornwall in third place. And the audience were given a taste of top notch jumping when our judges from the British Jump Rope team put on a surprise performance which was truly incredible!

02 May 2012

Wales YFC were a resounding success at this year’s NFYFC Annual Convention, claiming five of the seven national titles up for grabs at the weekend.

Builth Wells YFC from Brecknock were the stars of the show, claiming every trophy at the Pantomime competition finals on Sunday with their performance of ‘Snow White the Sequel’.  As well as winning the best pantomime, Shain Lewis and Mairwen Davies also scooped up the best actor and actress awards for their show stopping performances. Golden Valley YFC from Herefordshire were runners up in the competition, whilst Whitely Chapel YFC from Northumberland took third prize.

But it was Aled Jones who kicked off the Welsh winning streak when his confident and enthusiastic speech to members at the AGM on Sunday morning, earned him the Sidney Fawcett trophy for the member making the greatest contribution to proceedings.  His speeches, proposing that Matt Baker be re-elected as president and a lowdown on the work of the Youth Forum, were given with his usual gusto and confidence which the judges loved.

The final Welsh trophy was picked up by Aled Rhys Jones, from Carmarthenshire YFC, who was named Senior YFC Member of the Year.  He just pipped Francene Huthings from Devon YFC to the title, and she was followed by Tom Goodwin from Worcestershire.

A huge thank you goes to all of our judges for their time and support, and massive congratulations to all of the finalists for the hours of work they have put in to each competition, you are all stars!


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