National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

24 October 2019

As the winner of the Agricultural Student of the Year at the British Farming Awards, Aled Thomas, 23, Vice Chairman of Tiers Cross YFC, reveals how his passion for YFC has helped him achieve inside and outside of the organisation.

Fel enillydd Myfyriwr Amaethyddol y Flwyddyn yng Ngwobrau Ffermio Prydain, mae Aled Thomas, 23, Is-gadeirydd Clwb Ffermwyr Ifanc Tiers Cross, yn datgelu sut mae ei angerdd am CFfI wedi ei helpu i gyflawni y tu mewn a'r tu allan i'r mudiad. 

When did you join YFC?

I didn’t join until I was 18 years old, so a late starter. I went to a Welsh-speaking school as my first language is Welsh but that was an hour away from my home. I wanted to join a YFC so I could make some friends closer to home.

Pryd wnaethoch chi ymuno â CFfI?

Wnes i ddim ond ymuno pan fy mod i'n 18 oed, felly dechreuwr hwyr. Fe wnes i fynychu ysgol Gymraeg gan mai Cymraeg yw fy iaith gyntaf ond roedd hynny awr i ffwrdd o fy nghartref. Roeddwn i eisiau ymuno â CFfI er mwyn i mi allu gwneud rhai ffrindiau yn agosach at adref. 

Three words to describe your club?

Outgoing, sociable and fun.

We are the least serious club. There are about 60 members and we love to compete but whether we come first or last, we’re just there for a good time. We are quite notorious in the county that if we turn up you know it’s going to be a good night!

We just like to support other clubs in all the events they do because if we support them they’ll support us.

Tair gair i ddisgrifio'ch clwb?

Brwdfrydig, cymdeithasol a hwyliog.

Ni yw'r clwb lleiaf difrifol. Mae gennym tua 60 aelod ac rydyn ni wrth ein bodd yn cystadlu ond p'un a ydyn ni'n dod gyntaf neu'n olaf, rydyn ni yno am amser da yn unig. Rydyn ni'n eithaf drwg-enwog yn y sir, os ydyn ni'n troi i fyny rydych chi'n gwybod y bydd hi'n noson dda!

Rydyn ni'n hoffi cefnogi clybiau eraill yn yr holl ddigwyddiadau maen nhw'n eu gwneud oherwydd os ydyn ni'n eu cefnogi nhw, fe fyddan nhw'n ein cefnogi ni. 

Best thing you have done with YFC?

The 250-mile cycle ride up to Blackpool for charity with Pembrokeshire FYFC in 2018. I’m hardly the fittest person in the world but the thing that kept me going through the whole thing was being there with my YFC friends and the camaraderie. That’s just what the true meaning of YFC is to me – we’re all there for each other no matter what.  We also raised more than £25,000 for three charities.

Y peth gorau rydych chi wedi'i wneud gyda CFfI?

Y daith feicio ‘Pembs YFC’s Big Adventure’ 250 milltir i fyny i Blackpool ar gyfer elusennau gyda ffederasiwn Sir Benfro yn 2018. Go brin mai fi yw'r person mwyaf ffit yn y byd ond y peth a'm cadwodd i fynd trwy'r holl beth oedd bod yno gyda fy ffrindiau CFfI a'r cyfeillgarwch. Dyna'n union beth yw gwir ystyr CFfI i mi - rydyn ni i gyd yno i'n gilydd byth bynnag. Fe wnaethom hefyd godi mwy na £ 25,000 ar gyfer tair elusen. 

Greatest achievement in YFC?

I am going to California next year with a scholarship from the Elwyn Jones Memorial Fund through Wales YFC. I am going over there for a month to see how they grow cauliflowers and to do a research project on it. My research topic is on how we can maintain a better supply of vegetables in the UK.   

During my degree at Harper Adams I worked on a placement year at Puffin Produce and they supply most of the vegetables to supermarkets in Wales. I worked on the vegetable team so all I did was eat, sleep and breathe vegetables for a year! Since then I have a bit of thing for them. 

Eich cyflawniad mwyaf yn CFfI?

Rwy’n mynd i California y flwyddyn nesaf gydag ysgoloriaeth Goffa Elwyn Jones trwy CFfI Cymru. Rwy'n mynd draw yno am fis i weld sut maen nhw'n tyfu blodfresych a llysiau eraill, ac i wneud prosiect ymchwil arno. Mae fy mhwnc ymchwil yn ymwneud â sut y gallwn gynnal cyflenwad gwell o lysiau yn y DU.

Yn ystod fy ngradd yn Harper Adams gweithiais ar flwyddyn leoliad yn Puffin Produce ac maen nhw'n cyflenwi'r rhan fwyaf o'r llysiau i archfarchnadoedd yng Nghymru. Fe wnes i weithio ar y tîm llysiau felly'r cyfan wnes i oedd bwyta, cysgu ac anadlu llysiau am flwyddyn! Ers hynny mae gen i ychydig o beth iddyn nhw. 

Greatest achievement outside of YFC?

The only reason I believe I got my British Farming Award was because of what I contributed outside of being a student. Without my involvement in YFC and all the things I do with it I wouldn’t have got my award. There was some really strong competition and I wasn’t expecting to win.

It can be challenging to dispel the myths around agriculture and events like the British Farming Awards keep us real and refreshing and relevant.

I also have an Shwmae Award for promoting the Welsh language in the county of Pembrokeshire and throughout YFC. There were only two Welsh speaking members of our club – me and my brother. We have worked with the club to encourage them to enter more competitions in the Wales YFC Eisteddfod; the only bilingual Eisteddfod of it's kind in Wales.

I have been trying to bring Welsh back into the club as much as possible. We are getting more Welsh members and we are entering more into the Eisteddfod so it’s definitely getting better.

Eich cyflawniad mwyaf y tu allan i CFfI?

Yr unig reswm y credaf imi gael fy Ngwobr Ffermio Prydain oedd oherwydd yr hyn a gyfrannais y tu allan i fod yn fyfyriwr. Heb fy rhan yn CFfI a'r holl bethau rwy'n eu gwneud ag ef, ni fyddwn wedi cael fy ngwobr. Cafwyd cystadleuaeth gref iawn ac nid oeddwn yn disgwyl ennill.

Gall fod yn heriol chwalu'r chwedlau ynghylch amaethyddiaeth ac mae digwyddiadau fel Gwobrau Ffermio Prydain yn ein cadw ni'n berthnasol.

Mae gennyf hefyd Wobr Shwmae am hyrwyddo'r Gymraeg yn Sir Benfro a ledled CFfI. Dim ond dau aelod oedd yn siarad Cymraeg yn ein clwb - fi a fy mrawd. Rydym wedi gweithio gyda'r clwb i'w hannog i gymryd rhan mewn mwy o gystadlaethau yn yr Eisteddfod CFfI.

Rwyf wedi bod yn ceisio dod â'r Gymraeg yn ôl i'r clwb gymaint â phosib. Rydyn ni'n cael mwy o aelodau Cymraeg ac rydyn ni'n cystadlu mewn mwy o'r Eisteddfod felly mae'n bendant yn gwella. 

Has YFC supported your studies?

If it wasn’t for YFC, I might never have gone away to university.

I actually pulled out of university when I finished school. I had a place but I decided I was just going to stay at home. Coming from a small area and living on a farm, I didn’t know if I wanted to go away and be different. 

Before I joined YFC I was very shy and I wouldn’t speak to anyone. YFC has completely changed me. We are all friends in YFC, we are all there for each other and all have the same interests.

As I started getting deeper into YFC, some of my new friends – specifically people like Non Thorne – encouraged me to go away to university. That support gave me the boost I needed to go to Harper Adams. I didn’t enjoy it the first couple of weeks but by Christmas I couldn’t wait to get back there.

A yw CFfI wedi cefnogi'ch astudiaethau?

Oni bai am CFfI, efallai na fyddwn erioed wedi mynd i ffwrdd i'r brifysgol.

Fe wnes i dynnu allan o'r brifysgol mewn gwirionedd pan wnes i orffen yr ysgol. Roedd gen i le ond penderfynais fy mod i'n mynd i aros gartref. Yn dod o ardal fach ac yn byw ar fferm, doeddwn i ddim yn gwybod a oeddwn i eisiau mynd i ffwrdd a bod yn wahanol.

Cyn i mi ymuno â CFfI roeddwn yn swil iawn ac ni fyddwn yn siarad ag unrhyw un. Mae CFfI wedi fy newid yn llwyr. Rydyn ni i gyd yn ffrindiau yn CFfI, rydyn ni i gyd yno i'n gilydd ac mae gan bob un yr un diddordebau.

Wrth i mi ddechrau dyfnhau i CFfI, fe wnaeth rhai o fy ffrindiau newydd - pobl fel Non Thorne yn benodol - fy annog i fynd i ffwrdd i'r brifysgol. Rhoddodd y gefnogaeth yr oeddwn ei angen i mi fynd i Harper Adams. Doeddwn i ddim wedi mwynhau'r ychydig wythnosau cyntaf ond erbyn y Nadolig, allwn i ddim aros i gyrraedd yn ôl yno. 

Best thing you have ever made in YFC?

Invitations to our opening social that I did when I was secretary of the club when I was 18. I made the invitations in Publisher, printed them out, glued them to a bit of card and hand-delivered them to all the local farms. While the invites were pretty basic, they worked really well as our numbers grew from 25 to 75 members! We went from being one of the smallest clubs to the biggest.

It just proves how powerful it can be when you get out and meet people and tell them about YFC.

Y peth gorau i chi ei wneud erioed yn CFfI?

Gwahoddiadau i'n noson cymdeithasu agoriadol a wnes i pan oeddwn yn ysgrifennydd y clwb pan oeddwn yn 18 oed. Gwneuthum y gwahoddiadau yn Publisher, eu hargraffu, eu gludo i ychydig o gerdyn a'u dosbarthu â llaw i'r holl ffermydd lleol. Er bod y gwahoddiadau'n eithaf sylfaenol, fe wnaethant weithio'n dda iawn wrth i'n niferoedd dyfu o 25 i 75 aelod! Aethon ni o fod yn un o'r clybiau lleiaf i'r mwyaf.

Mae'n profi pa mor bwerus y gall fod pan ewch allan i gwrdd â phobl a dweud wrthynt am CFfI. 

Who would you like to thank in YFC?

I would like to thank former senior members who were senior members when I started. Without the senior members of a club it will never thrive. A lot of the responsibility falls back on the senior members especially when it comes to making sure the younger members are ok. They are people who don’t get thanked as much – they might not be ‘officials’ but they are still looking after the younger members in meetings and on trips. 

Pwy hoffech chi ddiolch yn CFfI?

Hoffwn ddiolch i gyn-aelodau hyn a oedd yn aelodau hyn pan ddechreuais. Heb aelodau hyn yn glwb, ni fyddai byth allu rhedeg. Mae llawer o'r cyfrifoldeb yn disgyn yn ôl ar yr aelodau hyn yn enwedig o ran sicrhau bod yr aelodau iau yn iawn. Maen nhw'n bobl nad ydyn nhw'n cael eu diolch cymaint - efallai nad ydyn nhw'n ‘swyddogion’ ond maen nhw'n dal i ofalu am yr aelodau iau mewn cyfarfodydd ac ar deithiau. 


23 October 2019

It was an unforgettable summer for Steph Watkins who spent six weeks in Canada making friends and experiencing Canadian culture.

Did you travel alone?

I travelled with four other young farmers from all over Europe – including Austria, Ireland, Germany and Northern Ireland.

We stayed with host families organised by the Canadian JFAO (Junior Farmer Association of Ontario).

They all became friends – or you could say my new family. It’s bazaar how close you become to four people who were complete strangers six weeks earlier!

Was it enjoyable?

This summer has been truly unforgettable. Meeting both young and old people in the agriculture industry within Canada. It has been inspiring and I'm sure we have all taken some great ideas back home.

It's true to the stereotype that Canadians are all polite, all the Junior Farmer families have been so welcoming to us and I can't thank them enough – I will be back!

What did you do?

The days and weeks flew by! I visited Toronto, Durham West, Wellington, Peterborough, Renfrew and Ottawa and toured many farms and spent time with JFAO members. One evening I experienced s’mres – the proper way with marshmallows, gram crackers and chocolate.

I toured Hensal Co-op, which is where Branston baked beans are grown before being exported to the UK. I also saw a farm that breeds special cattle that can adapt to extremes of weather and exports embryos to Australia and New Zealand.

There were campfires and sunbathing and amazing Raclette dinners, where we would enjoyed special Swiss cheese prepared with vegetables on a racelette grill.

I also took part in a radio interview to explain why we were visiting the country and all about YFC.

I enjoyed an international Pot Luck evening where we all made traditional food from our home countries for everyone to try.

When I stayed in Renfrew we had a Barn Dance after the “RedNeck Games” which is the equivalent to our rallies.

Any highlights?

  • Canada Day in the capital – Ottawa! It was an amazing day and everyone was so proud to be Canadian. Most people were wearing white, red or a mixture of the two. We joined in going all out with red and white head to toe, hats, flags and a lot of temporary tattoos. We had a great day and a big firework display at night which was fantastic.
  • Axe throwing in Peterborough!
  • Niagara Falls was amazing and definitely worth the early morning rise to get there.
  • Cow patty golf – golf with anything but a golf club. It was fun to see what everyone brought from a squishy mop to a paddle. A great game idea for a new members’ night.
  • Seeing a live bear – I was surprised at how big it was and the fact it just casually walked across the road in front of us.

Would you recommend a YFC Travel trip?

I would encourage everyone to take up the opportunity of going on an exchange, as it certainly is a once in a lifetime experience. Being a delegate has so many advantages and you get to see so much more of an area than if you were just to go there on holiday. I have had countless new experiences, learnt so much about Canadian farming and way of life, met some fantastic people and made some amazing lifelong friends and memories!

The deadline for applying for 2020 YFC Travel trips is 1 November 2019. Find out more. 



23 October 2019

Reeth YFC in Yorkshire has been given a Special Achievement Award for helping to coordinate a clean-up operation following the floods in July that caused devastation in the Dales. 

The club were presented the award  by BBC presenter Harry Gration at the Yorkshire Post’s 2019 Rural Awards in Harrogate, which was attended by more than 200 guests. 

The club rallied more than 100 young farmers from clubs across Yorkshire and County Durham, who turned out to help re-build stone walls, collect debris and escaped livestock, as well as make repairs to buildings and fencing. Members, parents and friends of the club made sure the volunteers were fed, watered and had all the equipment they needed.

Georgia Hird, Secretary of Reeth YFC - who collected the award with Club Chairman Jack Stones - said: “The club was really surprised to be given such a wonderful award, it meant a lot to all of us.

“We are really grateful for the recognition of our work over the floods and we certainly couldn’t have done it without the help of neighbouring club, Wensleydale Young Farmers.”

Chairman of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs Georgina Fort added: “Reeth Young Farmers’ Club are a credit to young farmers, to the farming industry and to the community.

Picture credit: Gerard Binks/The Yorkshire Post.

22 October 2019

YFC clubs and counties are being urged to submit the results of their fundraising efforts for the membership year 2018-19 so they can be considered for one of two NFYFC trophies.

The Lionel Hill trophy and The Prince of Wales trophy are awarded to the YFC Club and County respectively that have raised the greatest amount of funds per member for charitable purposes over a 12 month period.

The trophies will be presented at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May 2020. Dartmouth YFC and Essex FYFC were awarded the trophies for their achievements in 2018 at the 2019 AGM.

Dartmouth YFC raised £17,000, with 18 members, meaning they had raised an impressive £944.44 per member.

Essex FYFC raised a total of £39,106.08 with 367 members, meaning they raised £106.56 per member.

The County’s winning formula, said last year’s County Chairman Jack Garwood, is the hard work the clubs put in to support those less fortunate than themselves.

“We all have a great time as Young Farmers and are pleased to be able to put a little back into something else we love,” said Jack. “All the clubs choose a mixture of national or local charities – causes that are close to their hearts.”

NFYFC received 14 County entries for the Prince of Wales Trophy last year, and the total raised from those counties was £489,478.84.

If every County Federation returned the details of their charity fundraising, NFYFC estimates YFCs raise in excess of £1.2m for charity.

Entries should be sent to Sandra Bromley before the closing date of 15 November 2019. 



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