02 May 2012
NFYFC have teamed up again with Novartis to run a travel scholarship competition. The winning scholar will travel to New Zealand for two weeks to learn about farming techniques on a sheep farm.
Download flyer for further details. Closing date is Friday 8 June.
02 May 2012
Minister for Agriculture, Jim Paice MP, was a surprise guest at this year’s National Federation for Young Farmer’s Clubs Agricultural and Rural Affairs forum, and had to face some tough questions from members about the future of the industry.
The forum, which is an annual event for the organisation, is a chance for YFC members to interact with industry and government leaders and to have their voices heard in a national arena. This year the forum was looking to the future, with Yeo Valley’s Director of Marketing, Graham Keating, talking about the importance of brand and marketing to the growth and development of the industry.
Jonny Williams, Wales YFC Rural Affairs vice chairman, added that farmers need to have a whole range of skills to survive in this industry; “Agriculturalists have to be economists, commodity traders and current affairs specialists. They need to know of the latest disease challenges and chemical resistances, of weather patterns in Argentina, Ukraine and New Zealand, of demographics in China, India and Africa, not to mention the national debts of our European colleagues,” he said.
Helen Reeve, Chairman of the NFYFC Agriculture and Rural affairs committee, also stressed that skills and training would be key to young farmers, whatever the outcome of much anticipated CAP reforms. She announced some exciting new NFYFC projects. A feasibility project for a matching opportunity service and a pilot CPD programme to give YFC members as many opportunities for their future careers as possible. Following on from work initiated last year between NFYFC and the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB), the two organisations will offer YFC members the chance to visit BWMB’s Bradford headquarters and see the wool supply chain in action as well as training opportunities.
Representatives of British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB), were present at the Forum to provide information on BWMB’s work, the Campaign for Wool and details of the training courses BWMB offers. "While most sheep farmers sell their wool through BWMB many do not know what happens to their wool once it leaves the farm" explained Gareth Jones, BWMB’s Producer Relations Manager. "In 2012 we are teaming up with the NFYFC to offer YFC members the chance to visit BWMB’s Bradford headquarters and see the wool supply chain in action."
The study trips will include the chance to see one of BWMB’s electronic wool auctions in action and also see wool being graded in the Bradford depot. Additionally, YFC members on a visit will be able to visit a scouring plant to see the next stage of the wool supply chain.
As well as looking to the future, the forum also celebrated this year’s winner of the Campaign for the Farmed Environment YFC Competition which demonstrates the support of YFC members for the campaign. Judges selected the winning team of Dorset-based Carl Hoskins, Julie Ridout, Matthew Cradock and Jennifer Diment – all students at Kingston Maurward College - their assessment of existing habitats on Lynch Farm, in Bridport, and proposals to enhance the farmed environment while boosting the commercial business. The team’s proposal included both Entry Level Stewardship and voluntary options to support the CFE across its three themes; farm wildlife, farmland birds and resource protection.
Environmental sustainability was also an issue that NFYFC President Matt Baker held close to his heart, stating after the forum that; “If we want farming and the environment to survive together we are going to have to farm sustainably.” This was a topic which also arose during the Q and A session with Graham and the minister.
Members also raised concerns about support for new entrants into the industry and the spread of TB and asked how British agriculture could adapt in the new global market.
With London 2012 fast approaching, The National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs is teaming up with Natural England to run a series of cook-athons during the Olympic Torch Relay that will help celebrate the best of the country’s locally grown and sustainable produce. The ‘Great British Food for Great British Athletes’ initiative will see members of Young Farmers' Clubs showcasing local British produce at cookery demonstrations and events during the Olympic Torch Relay.
Mark Felton, Natural England’s Director for Land Management Development, said: “As well as their primary work of producing food, British farmers play a vital role as stewards of our countryside. The Olympic Torch Relay Cooking Demonstrations will be a truly marathon undertaking and one of the most ambitious events ever held by YFC members. It’s a golden opportunity for young farmers to enthuse and inspire local communities and young people across England about the role that they play in producing food and in the conservation and enhancement of our natural environment.
“Natural England is very supportive of the work of Young Farmers' Clubs and we are really pleased to able to be working with them and LOCOG in this exciting initiative. We are looking forward to some fun cooking events and delighted to be sharing in the excitement of the Olympic Torch Relay.”
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.
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!