National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

16 July 2019

As the winner of Junior Member of the Year 18–year-old Alaw Jones believes the organisation has given her the skills and support to succeed. Alaw will be studying Journalism and Welsh at Cardiff University from September but says she’ll still pop back to support Felinfach YFC in Ceredigion.

When did you join YFC?

I joined Felinfach YFC back in 2012 and have held quite a few roles in the club since then. I am also a member of the Youth Forum in Wales.

In our community, YFC is very strong. Once you come of age, it’s something that everyone joins. The fact there’s so many opportunities and experiences to benefit from the YFC is one of the main reasons I joined. I am not from a farming family but I am from a very strong farming community. It’s very much the backbone of our community in Felinfach.

Three words to describe your club?

Young, enthusiastic and friendly.

We’re the biggest club in Ceredigion at the moment with nearly 60 members. It’s a very young club. We have a lot of younger members from 12-15 years old.

Best thing you have done with YFC?

There are so many! I do love competing at County level at the Eisteddfod but the best thing is probably competing at Junior Member of the Year. I wasn’t expecting to win at Ceredigion so to then win at Wales and then national was a great experience. I am very grateful for it.

It’s great to be part of Ceredigion and Wales but to know the organisation broadens out to a national level as well is fantastic. I will definitely look forward to joining the national Youth Forum now.

Greatest achievement in YFC?

On a club level I was very proud to be a part of Felinfach YFC when we won the Eisteddfod this year but on a more personal level, winning the Junior Member of the Year at a national level was fantastic.

I was also proud to be part of an initiative in Ceredigion to boost our membership numbers. We introduced Young Ambassadors within every school in Ceredigion to help attract new YFC members. As an ambassador I did presentations about YFC throughout the year and also did activities every Wednesday to promote the Welsh language and YFC.

Greatest achievement outside of YFC?

Being elected as Head Girl for my school last year. I wanted to try and raise some money for the school to give back to them for the positive experience I’d received. I organised our first ever Christmas Fair and managed to raise £3,600 for the school. Along with school teachers and other officials I also helped to organise a concert for elderly people in Aberaeron and we performed pieces from our school Eisteddfod.

Has YFC helped you in your studies?

YFC has 100% helped me. The public speaking competitions have definitely helped– I would never have been able to compete on a national level or become head girl without those skills.

I’ve held jobs within YFC such as secretary, press reporter, chairperson – and you have to be organised, punctual and independent. I have definitely developed a range of skills that I will keep developing.

Best thing you have ever made with YFC?

I was quite proud of a cupcake I decorated for a competition we ran in club! We had someone coming in and I didn’t realise it would be as good. It was just a cupcake but then we had to do the icing and I did a tractor. I just cut it out myself – no cutters used – and I won!

Who would you like to thank in YFC and why?

I would like to thank Felinfach YFC as a whole as they have given me so many opportunities and we all support each other. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the support and the friends there. I feel part of a family.

I would also like to thank Ceredigion’s County Organiser Anne Jones for pushing me forward and supporting me on a Ceredigion level – and I think she’s absolutely fantastic at her job!

If you would like to take part in a YFC profile or want to nominate another YFC member, contact Cheryl Liddle.  


26 June 2019

If you’re looking for competitive spirit then 21-year-old Victoria Sercombe has bags of it – especially when the challenge involves sheep! As a finalist in this year’s Situations Vacant competition on 6 July, Victoria says she owes YFC a lot for her public speaking skills and for nurturing her passion for stockjudging.

When did you join YFC?

When I was 12 years old. I grew up on a sheep farm and my parents were involved in Young Farmers and I really wanted to get involved in the stockjudging competitions. I joined Melton Mowbray as that’s where my parents were involved but when the club lost a lot of members and hit hard times a few years ago, I moved to Rearsby YFC for a couple of years as I wanted to be competitive.

Three years ago Melton Mowbray put a girls’ Tug of War team together and made it to third place in the nationals. It was enough of a kick start to make us want to get the club going again so I went back to help. This year all our public speaking teams have made it through to the Area round, which is quite an achievement. 

Three words to describe your club?

Enthusiastic, eager (to learn) and competitive

Three years ago it would have been social, social, social – it’s a completely different and more stable club now. We do two socials a year to raise funds for the club and we take part in more of the programme.

Best thing you have done with YFC?

Stockjudging is definitely a good skill for someone from a farming background but it’s also helped my public speaking. When I moved into doing public speaking comps the stockjudging helped me be confident about talking in front of people.

I also went to South Africa with YFC Travel last year, which was an amazing experience where we helped create community vegetable gardens. It was great to meet other young farmers from across the country and to find out about their journey through YFC but also to be exposed to a different culture in South Africa.

Greatest achievement in YFC?

Winning the Live Lamb stockjudging competition in 2017 at the Staffordshire County stockjudging competitions at the English Winter Fair. It was a proud moment for me because that’s where my YFC journey began.

Greatest achievement outside of YFC?

Winning the Young Handlers competition at the Royal Welsh twice. That has always been a very proud moment.

Has YFC helped you in your career/studies?

Public speaking is such a useful skill. I am through to the national finals this year in Situations Vacant and this competition has proved really beneficial when I have been going for real-life job interviews and definitely helped me get my new job!

I have just finished a degree in Agriculture and Livestock Science and am about to start a new job at AHDB in the animal genetics team. I have always been really interested in the science behind agriculture and the ways we can improve and become more efficient. The population is expanding at a rapid rate so we are going to have to become more efficient to feed everyone.

Agriculture in general is such an amazing industry to be involved in. YFC creates a community amongst the younger generations. Everyone knows that farming is an isolating place to be and the weekly YFC meetings with like-minded people are a valuable part of Young Farmers.

Best thing you’ve ever made with YFC?

Creativity isn’t my forte but when I was a junior, loom bands were a big craze and I used them to make sheep and a border collie dog. The sheep had a toy wooden gate and the collie dog was rounding the sheep up. My efforts came second at County. I still have the loom band sheep somewhere!

Who would you like to thank in YFC and why?

Amiee Mahony from Leicestershire FYFC for inspiring me to achieve more at stockjudging. I remember scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a few days before I was off to compete at the English Winter Fair and I saw Aimee had shared an old post about winning one of the classes a few years before, and I thought if I could join that ‘elite’ group of people one day I would be a very happy person. Then when I achieved that goal two years ago, I sent Amiee (who was our County Chairman at the time) a message to tell her that I’d won and that I’d finally joined her ‘group’. Amiee told me that my message had reduced her to tears.

Sadly, Amiee lost her dad last year and her family donated a new junior stockjudging trophy for this year’s County Rally. Our Club managed to win it, which I thought was really fitting. 

If you would like to take part in a YFC profile or want to nominate another YFC member, contact Cheryl Liddle.  


26 June 2019

A chance to experience rural life in Northern Ireland was the perfect escape for 23-year-old Hannah Mason from Herefordshire in May this year after she successfully applied for the trip through the YFC Travel programme. Hannah reveals why every YFC member should take advantage of the YFC Travel programme and what she discovered on her journey. 

Why did you choose to apply for Northern Ireland?

I thought it would be a good one to go for as it was my first time travelling with YFC as it’s not too far away. I live on a small beef and sheep farm in Herefordshire and I was interested in comparing how the farms operate in Northern Ireland.

Where did you stay?

I travelled with Emma Topham from Derbyshire FYFC and we stayed with two families. The first family was a young couple in County Down who were actively involved in the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) – Northern Ireland’s equivalent of NFYFC. The second week we stayed on a small dairy farm in County Armagh with a family who also had a tea room. People would come from miles around to drink tea and eat cake in their converted conservatory! It was a real community hub and one of the reasons why the owner had wanted to open it.

We also spent the second week with other exchangees from around the world.

What activities did you get involved in?

We did around eight farm tours, visited museums and landmarks and spent two days at the Balmoral Show, which was amazing. We went to a few pubs and parties and helped set up our host club's barbecue (what we would call a barn dance). We visited the Giant’s Causeway, a cider apple orchard and bottling plant and saw a vegetable packing process as well as ate lots of lovely food.

We also watched the farmers making silage – it was fascinating to see large groups of people pulling up in cars to sit and watch the contractors at work. We occasionally get a small child popping their head over the fence to watch us at home but nothing like this! There’s a genuine appreciation of the work, which was satisfying to see.

What was their version of YFC like?

Their clubs were full of young farmers who were actively involved in farming. In Teme Valley there aren’t that many members who actually farm. They also had large numbers at their events. One club's barbecue attracts 1300 people! They’re huge events in Northern Ireland and massive fundraisers too that help the club keep going.

Their membership age is up to 30, which I really liked – especially for someone like me who only joined YFC when I was 19.

What did you enjoy about your experience?

Doing a YFC Travel trip is completely different to going travelling on your own. You get to see inside the people’s lives and experience their world for a while. When we were watching the silaging, I was chatting to the contractors whilst sat in their vehicles and these are things I doubt I would have done had I gone to Northern Ireland on holiday.

I also met other exchangees from America, Canada, Germany and Scotland who are all part of my Snapchat group now.

Would you recommend YFC Travel?

Absolutely. I would definitely apply for another trip now and will probably try going further afield next time. It’s a relatively easy application process and a brilliant way to meet new people and gain new skills. I’m someone who likes to have a go at everything and I am so glad I did this.

A huge thank you to The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust for supporting YFC Travel. New YFC Travel opportunities for 2020 will be advertised in September 2019. 


30 May 2019

A dry wit and a love of YFC helped Northumberland's County Chairman Ed Dungait win the Sidney Fawcett trophy at NFYFC's Annual General Meeting in May. When he's not leading his County Federation, winning awards or spending time with his club Tritlington YFC, 26-year-old Ed is busy working on his family's arable farm near Morpeth.

When did you join YFC?

10 years ago

Why have you remained a member?

Because it’s the best organisation ever. I’d have been lost without Young Farmers.

Greatest achievement in YFC?

Winning Northumberland YFC Male Party Animal of the Year 2015. A close second would be winning Best Male Actor 2019, or Trit winning Club of the Year 2017 – or being asked to be County Chairman after everyone else turned it down!

Greatest achievement outside young farmers?

Getting one of the top 10 marks in the country for my Physics A Level. It comes in really handy day-to-day on the farm.

Top skill you have learnt through YFC?

Acting – making people laugh (usually at me, sometimes with me).

I’d never been on stage before until two years ago when Trit joined with Coquetdale YFC to scratch a panto together. We were told by the judges it was “the funniest thing they’d ever seen”. It brings out talents that we never knew we had, and confidence comes with that.

The best thing you’ve ever made with YFC?

Friends.

Three words to describe your club…

Small, Mighty, Oneclubonelove

Has YFC helped you in your career/studies?

Yes, making contacts, and communicating with people.

Someone you would like to thank in YFC and why?

Peter Howie & Jack Kelcher. They joined on the same night as me 10 years ago and have taken the club from strength to strength, making the Trit Trojans a force to be reckoned with. Not forgetting all the other members too!

 

If you would like to feature in our YFC profile or want to nominate someone to be profiled, email magazine@nfyfc.org.uk 



Social


Designed by Kevyn Williams