National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 August 2019

Australia is the latest exciting destination to be added to the YFC Travel Programme for 2020, supported by the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, and this year, due to popular demand, there will be three choices of volunteering trips available.

It’s NFYFC’s turn to send a delegate down under this year as part of a rolling arrangement with other European young farming organisations. This amazing opportunity will give a YFC member the chance to stay with a rural family for six weeks during the months of April to June 2020.

If a volunteering adventure in some more remote parts of the world is more your thing then there are now three locations to choose from in 2020. Due to the popularity of the volunteering trips that have been arranged with Projects Abroad, we’re now offering the chance to work on life-changing community projects in Ghana, Vietnam and Peru, which includes Machu Picchu.

Four working scholarships are also available through C. Alma Baker where you will get to work on a beef, sheep and dairy farm in New Zealand. And there are homestays in Canada, the USA, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Amanda Watson went on a YFC Travel trip to Canada this year and says she’s keen to try different locations now too.

“It was my first time going on a YFC Travel trip and I’d quite like to apply for another trip now. If you want to go away from home for a significant period of time, it’s an excellent opportunity.

“You’re well supported and you’re with like-minded people. It feels like a safe environment where everyone is willing to show and teach you new things whilst learning from you too.”

NFYFC is also offering study trips to Strasbourg and Ireland with Rural Youth Europe to help you develop new skills and experiences. Following on from the success of Rural Youth Europe’s European Rally, which was hosted in England this year, there will be opportunities for members to attend next year’s Rally in the beautiful country of Slovenia.

YFC Travel is a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons without breaking the bank. Participation fees are just £60, plus a £30 refundable deposit for the multimedia competition. You’ll need to fund travel, flights, insurance, visa and social costs for most of the trips – although your County Office might be able to help you with a local bursary.

Download the 2020 leaflet about the YFC Travel programme and start planning your trip today. All information about the trips will also be online from 6 September 2019. Application deadline is 1 November 2019 and all applicants will need to attend a Selection Day for interviews in 30 November 2019.   


30 August 2019

After a week discussing mental health awareness, Rachel Goldie from Yorkshire FYFC has made friends for life and feels equipped to take more care of her own wellbeing. Rachel took part in Rural Youth Europe’s European Rally that was hosted by NFYFC in Cirencester this year, with support from the Erasmus+ programme.

Did you enjoy being on the rally?

It was really good – the best week ever!

I think all the YFC members who went had reservations as we didn’t know what to expect but we have all come away and said it was the best. There were 15 of us from the four UK teams during the week and we all connected really well.

We are now trying to share how much fun we actually had and how much we got from it – and not just the mental health side of it. We have made friends for life and that’s what young farmers is all about.

We are already planning reunions, as we all have rally blues. Every morning we were all texting each other about what time we were meeting for breakfast and then the first morning home, I was like: ‘there’s no breakfast text’.

Was the topic of mental health difficult?

There were times where it was very hard and very emotional. We covered the signs and symptoms and what to be aware of in others who may be struggling with their mental health.

The most interesting thing for me was discovering how different democracies and governments dealt with mental health. In the UK we are quite accepting of mental health but in some other countries if you went to the doctors with symptoms of depression, you’re put into an institute!

It felt as if the UK was ahead of some countries in terms of funding and general awareness even if we still have a long way to go.

Did you pick up any practical tips?

I have learnt to look out for other people more and check in on people. I’m now also conscious about not overloading myself with work and making sure I have time for myself and others.

Was NFYFC’s Rural+ campaign showcased? 

There was a session on Rural+ and Claire Worden and a representative from FCN discussed what the training involves. Other people found it interesting to see what we had done.

On the last day we were challenged with planning a campaign to raise awareness of mental health so we went an extra stage on from Rural+ and tried to link it back into the competitions programme as that’s where members really engage. It would be great to talk to the Competitions Steering Group about it to see if we can actually deliver it.

Did you have a favourite part of the week?

I really enjoyed the role playing we did about mental health. We made a video to show the signs and symptoms of certain mental illnesses – I enjoyed the acting part of it all.

There were also some great social activities in the evening – such as the international buffet, karaoke and the farming Olympics! We were also joined by YFC members from Wiltshire and Gloucestershire too. 

Would you recommend the European Rally to other YFC members?

Absolutely – you come away armed with skills and knowledge that are going to get you through life.

I applied because of the topic, not realising how much other stuff I would get out of it in terms of friendships and opportunities. We are already discussing as a group about going to some of the shows in the UK together and we’ve been invited to go over to Germany and Latvia. It’s opened up friendship circles and opportunities outside of the UK.

The European Rally is in Slovenia next year from Saturday 1 August 2019 for one week.

*New trips for the YFC Travel programme in 2020 are now open for applications.

Thank you to the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust for their support of the YFC Travel programme. #image#


30 August 2019

A long-haul adventure with YFC Travel gave 21-year old Amanda Watson from County Durham the chance to see ‘real’ rural life in Canada when she stayed in Saskatchewan on a Canada 4-H exchange. 

How did you find staying with a host family in Canada?

Luckily for me I had already hosted Doug – who is a member of Canada 4-H (Canada’s equivalent of YFC) – and so I knew him before I flew out there. Doug toured the UK and stayed with different Young Farmers over here, whereas I stayed on his Grandparents’ farm for three weeks.

I got to know his family and went shooting with one of his brothers and ice skating with the other one who was into ice hockey. 

They kept calling me their British daughter and they treated me like one of the family.

Did you enjoy hosting someone in the UK?

Yes – I found I saw bits of my own local area that I normally wouldn’t bother to go and see. There’s an old mine I have driven past for years and I’ve never been, so I took Doug to see it when he was here. I also visited a lot of local farms I hadn’t seen for a while.

What did you do while you were in Canada?

We visited a few museums and looked at the history of the country. I went in a small aircraft and flew over the area where Doug lives. I also went to Alberta and Edmonton. I went riding a lot, visited a range of farms, including beekeeping, (apiculture) and went to a rodeo.

After I’d finished my three weeks with Doug I met up with my brother, my boyfriend and one of my best friends in Calgary. We drove over to Vancouver and I extended my trip for a further two weeks outside of YFC. It meant I saw two other provinces while I was there.

Did you learn more about the way they farm?

My family have an upland beef and sheep farm and so it was interesting to see the large farm where Doug lives as they have suckler and beef cows too. The proportions of farms over there are very different. In this country you think you have a decent farm if it’s 600 acres but in Canada they think nothing of 2,000 acres.

It was extremely interesting to see the differences in production systems on farms in Saskatchewan as they have much harsher winters than in England. Most cattle are never housed over winter and kept outside which I found interesting in comparison to the UK. Farmers in Canada have fewer regulations and subsidies, which also affects the management of many farms.

Did you find out more about Canada 4-H?

They don’t generally meet over the summer but I did meet up with one group for a Wiener Roast (cooking hot dogs on a camp fire). They work differently to YFC but they have a common goal. Our club meetings are for all ages and activities but in Canada they are separated into group meetings focused on specific competitions. So people who are interested in showing beef that year will all meet together and there will be another group for horse showing and so on. Occasionally they will all meet up.

They have groups for CV building, which I thought was a good idea to take back to my club. You get so much from YFC to put on to your CV but a lot of people don’t have CVs until they leave school.

There are fewer social events (including balls etc) in Canada 4-H and there is no tolerance for alcohol.

Would you recommend the trip?

It was all a really good experience. Even getting on a plane on your own is a good confidence booster when you’ve not been so far away from home before.

It only cost around £1500 for the whole trip and I got £100 from the Young Farmers Ambassadors (YFA) as well.

It was my first time going on a YFC Travel trip and I’d quite like to apply for another trip now. If you want to go away from home for a significant period of time, it’s an excellent opportunity.

What’s the benefit of travelling with YFC?

You’re well supported and you’re with like-minded people. It feels like a safe environment where everyone is willing to show and teach you new things whilst learning from you too.

The people you’re staying with also know what’s best in the area. If you go as a tourist, you never really know what’s there until you get there, whereas your hosts know you’re coming and have planned everything. You get to do things you would never experience as a general tourist.

*New trips for the YFC Travel programme in 2020 are now open for applications and the deadline for applying is 1 November 2019. 

Thank you to the NFU Mutual Charitable Trust for their support of the YFC Travel programme. 


29 August 2019

A new succession training module, developed by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and succession experts, is now available for the new membership year.  

The session, called Ready and Resilient, has been devised with Savills and Siân Bushell for Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) to include in their new 2019-20 club programmes.

The course, which has been designed to run during a club meeting and was piloted earlier this year with young farmers (pictured right), aims to highlight:

  • the concept of succession planning
  • the part communication plays
  • the process and skills needed to begin the conversation
  • the positive effects of succession planning within a variety of situations
  • the consequences of inadequate succession planning 

Charles Skelton, Food and Farming Consultant for Savills in Lincoln, said: “We want to help the younger generation of farmers to start a succession conversation. Often the whole topic seems too complicated and difficult to sort out so people ignore it, which leads to problems. Understanding, unpacking and talking about succession is a great start.”

The module, which has been supported by Defra and is part of NFYFC’s Curve training, complements the succession video and guide that were launched last year. The short film – We Really Need to Talk – was aimed at encouraging people to start thinking and talking about succession and was narrated by Siân Bushell from Siân Bushell Associates. The film showed a family struggling to communicate about the farming business and gave advice on how to resolve these issues. 

NFYFC’s Agriculture and Rural Issues Chairman David Goodwin said:

“Many young farmers are facing difficult discussions with their families and this training module gives a great insight to why the topic is so important, what can happen if the subject isn’t broached and also how it applies to any business or even a YFC.

“This is just part of a suite of resources that we have created for our members which includes videos, guides and training.  We can’t emphasise the importance of communication enough for tackling succession issues.  It’s a new YFC year and timely to consider some of the tough topics that will be so necessary during what’s become quite uncertain times.”

For more information about Ready and Resilient and the downloadable guide, visit: www.nfyfc.org.uk/successiontraining


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