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.”


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