National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

24 June 2020

YFC members are invited to get involved in four online agri debates organised by Devon FYFC and NFU Mutual.

The agri debate is traditionally held during the Devon County Show but this year’s event had to be cancelled due to Covid-19. But thanks to support from NFU Mutual, the County has been able to move to an online format to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing farmers in the South West with a panel of top speakers.

The first debate – ‘Is recruiting and retaining new entrants key to driving the agricultural industry forward?’ – is being held on Thursday 25 June at 7:30pm and is free for anyone to join by registering here.

The online debate is part of series of four sessions organised by Devon FYFC and NFU Mutual, with experts from farming and agriculture coming together to discuss topical issues and share best practice. David Fursdon, Lord Lieutenant of Devon, will chair all four debates which will cover recruitment, the environment, diversification and mental health.

The panellists at the first debate include Ali Capper, NFU Mutual Board Member and a national expert on labour issues affecting agriculture as Chair of the NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board. Leading figures from the South West who will be on the panel include Matt Darke, Devon YFC Vice Chairman, who runs a mixed farm in South Devon with several generations involved in the family business;  dairy farmer Chris Cardell from Grampound, Cornwall who has been the National Farmers Union (NFU) Tenants Forum Chairman since 2014 and Peter Reed - Programme Manager at Bicton College and Duchy College.

Ali Capper said: “It’s a great honour to be taking part in this debate as the next generation of farmers will be leading the future of the industry.  We are facing some of the biggest challenges in farming since the Second World War, including a critical shortage of farm workers in this country.

“Commitment and experience are vital to productivity as well as having the right career routes for people from within and outside farming to make the most of the opportunities that the technological revolution will bring to our agricultural future outside the EU.”

Helen Bellew, Devon YFC AGRI Chairperson for Devon YFC, said: “Our debates at Devon County Show are always passionate, topical and insightful and we are determined to keep this vibrancy alive with our online events this year.

“We appreciate the support from NFU Mutual supporting the online debates which will discuss a variety of key issues that affect the future of our industry.

“We have a strong tradition of debating and our Devon YFC debating team were winners of the South West regional finals and were due to travel to the national debating finals in March which were cancelled. Despite this setback and the cancellation of the Devon County Show we are pleased to be staging our own series of agri-debates.”

To register to attend the first online debate, visit here. 


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