National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

20 August 2020

Grace Millbank might not have joined a Young Farmers’ Club until she was 18 years old but her enthusiasm for the organisation over the last six years has earned her the title of Senior Member of the Year 2020. 

The 24-year-old started at Thrapston YFC in Northamptonshire and threw herself into YFC from the off – becoming Club Programme and Competitions Secretary in her first year. She held various posts in the club for her first two years before moving to Oundle YFC where she more recently became its Chairman.  She has also supported the County with roles in PR and competitions – a passion she has taken to a national level as she is currently NFYFC’s Competitions Steering Group Chairman.

Grace said: “I’m delighted to have won this prestigious competition, and my thanks to NFYFC for making this competition go ahead despite the challenging situation. The virtual interview worked well, and although we all hope we don’t have to use this format in the future, it has shown us all what can be achieved!”

Judge Derek Carless was impressed by how much Grace had achieved for her age. 

“Grace was able to demonstrate very detailed YFC knowledge and her range of YFC experience for someone of 24 is incredibly broad,” said Derek. “Overall, her enthusiasm and ability to articulate the essence of the YFC movement was very impressive and she is a great ambassador.”

As well as committee roles, Grace has actively taken part in the NFYFC competitions programme and YFC Travel – spending six weeks in Montana in 2018. A keen mentor to junior members, around competitions especially, she was brought to tears by the success of the County Junior Public Speaking team at the East Midlands Area Finals earlier this year.

“The team was made up of two members of my Club, both of whom only started competing in YFC this year and I was very proud of them winning at this level,” said Grace. “I used my experience, gained through stewarding this competition at Area and Regional level, to mentor and guide the team.”

After taking on a national role, Grace has played an active part in NFYFC initiatives – such as attending the summit event at the start of the year to help determine the organisation’s future direction. “I was left with a feeling of positivity towards the organisation’s future, and I am encouraging all to attend if a future summit is put on,” said Grace.

As well as working towards qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor, Grace is supporting her club as best she can during the pandemic and has been organising weekly virtual meetings to keep everyone connected. She has set her next YFC target at a County level.

“I envisage that my next challenge in YFC is to be County Chairman and would really like to undertake this role in the coming years.”

Grace was revealed as the winner of the Senior Member of the Year during the Challenge Finals Day in August. All seven finalists of the competition were involved in interviews with the judges over Zoom.

Derek said: “All competitors were very smartly turned out, enthusiastic, very worthy finalists, and they were a credit to their clubs, counties and areas.”

You can read about all seven finalists for the Senior Member of the Year here.  

20 August 2020

British Food Fortnight is from 19 September to 4 October and YFC members are encouraged to get involved and help share their love for British food and its producers. 

British Food Fortnight celebrations may have to be on a different scale this year but there are still ways you can get involved. Schools are signing up to take part with themed British Food Fortnight menus, family celebrations and meals are being planned on a smaller scale and many independent shops are working on listing more British products and themed window displays

With the hospitality trade back up and running after lockdown, many need our support.  The team behind British Food Fortnight will be suggesting themed menus, food  and drink matching, supplying promotional material, plus providing ongoing support on social media encouraging customers to visit and support the venues taking part in celebrations.

There are lots of ways YFC members can get involved in your local community and here are some ideas:

1. Social Media – tag in #BritishFoodFortnight and/or #BritishFoodisGreat on any relevant posts.  Highlight seasonal foods and recipes, plus ideas on how to celebrate  #BritishFoodFortnight or highlight local British producers, independents or pubs, bars and restaurants highlighting British Food Fortnight activity or themed menus.

2. Competition – Raymond Blanc will be leading a national competition.

3. #BritishFoodisGreat poster campaign showing the face of the farmer behind our food. Share images on social media if possible and suggest producers and retailers to take part.

4. There will be BFF assets for your use on social media.

5. The BFF Online Show will launch for the first year on Saturday 19 September, new features and content will be added daily during the fortnight until 4 October, but the show will stay live until Christmas.   The show will include:

  • Panel discussions on specified topics – ideas include: Sustainability, why school British ingredients, etc
  • Meet the Producer – webfilms
  • Recipe demos – pre-recorded, highlighting British Seasonal products. 
  • Kidzone – feature lessons for children growing produce and recipes using the ingredients.
  • Trade stand
  • Nutritional chats/discussion.

Tag @NFYFC in posts you make about BFF too and so the Federation can help to share them even wider. 

For more information about British Food Fortnight visit the Love British Food website here.  

17 August 2020

A homemade hamper for a key worker, a dog performing some clever tricks and a photo collage of a virtual competitions week, were all voted as the winning entries during NFYFC’s last Challenge Finals Day in August.

The event on Facebook and Instagram reached more than 60,000 people as members, family and friends voted on their favourite finalists for the Pet, Hamper and Flashback Challenges.

A hamper including a homemade gingered beef and vegetable pie and a fruity milkshake using homegrown produce received the most votes and its creator Lizzie Smallwood from Beacon YFC was delighted.

“Winning the hamper challenge was an amazing feeling. However, I did really enjoy the lead up to winning with friends and family from the YFC community liking, sharing and commenting on the post throughout the day. Even though we’re not all with each other at the moment it really did show the team spirt of the Club and County which is why I love YFC so much,” said Lizzie who gave her hamper to a family friend who works at the local hospital.

The hamper was constructed over a couple of evenings (around Zoom calls and quizzes) – with scones and cakes being baked one evening and the pie and milkshake created the next. 

“I enjoy cooking and baking but unfortunately, I don’t always have as much time as I would like to enjoy cooking,” added Lizzie. “Although after the YFC Ready Steady Cook challenge it inspired me to make time and get my apron on a bit more!”

For Max Powell, from Builth Wells YFC, the preparation for winning the YFC Pet Challenge had been ongoing for 11 months. Since his dog Hunter was born 11 months ago, Max has been teaching him tricks.

Max, who was “stoked” to win the challenge, said: “Hunter loves learning tricks so it’s not hard, he’s very intelligent. We were planning on taking him to lots of local shows this year but because of the Coronavirus they have all been cancelled. Hopefully next year I can take him and I will teach him some more tricks over the summer.”

Rounding off the challenge finalists was Becky Blanchard’s collage of images entry for the Flashback Challenge. The graphic included the winning entries from Cornwall FYFC’s Virtual Competitions Week, which was hosted in May.

“We had over 120 entries, from decorating a cake for our key workers, to a selfie with your pet, to beef stockjuding,” said Becky who is the General-Purpose Chairman of Cornwall FYFC. “The virtual event was a huge success and with our social media posts reaching more than 31,000 people, we were able to showcase some of the amazing work YFC do.”

Winning the national Flashback Challenge was an extra boost for Becky during a challenging few months. 

“Winning this competition was the icing on the cake and highlights what we achieved over lockdown when the events we loved got cancelled. Thank you to everyone who took part and voted.” 

17 August 2020

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is launching the YFC Achiever Awards, sponsored by NatWest, to recognise and reward the enterprising and supportive initiatives inspired by rural young people.

The awards have been announced following on from a period of massive disruption for Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) due to Covid-19 restrictions. Most YFC competition finals had to be cancelled during lockdown and members were unable to attend weekly meetings.

Many of the 598 YFCs across England and Wales devised new ways to stay connected during this period of uncertainty though with shows and rallies, quizzes and fundraisers all taking place online. Weekly Zoom meetings replaced the community hall gatherings and many YFC members also volunteered to support their local communities with grocery deliveries, prescription collections or by working in food banks. 

The seven award categories will celebrate the community work, the commitment to help develop other young people and the entrepreneurial side of the organisation’s 20,000 members.

The awards are supported by TV presenter Gareth Wyn Jones, a beef and sheep farmer in Ty'n Llwyfan. Gareth said: 

“The YFC Achiever Awards are a great way to recognise the amazing work that YFC members and clubs do in their local communities and I am proud to be supporting the NFYFC’s launch.

“Covid-19 has had an impact on all our lives and these awards will help to restore some positivity and excitement back into the lives of rural young people looking to celebrate the great work they have been doing.”

Gareth will be involved in judging the YFC Supporter of the Year and the results for all seven categories will be announced during National Young Farmers’ Week (26-30 October, 2020).

The award categories are:

Community Supporter of the Year

Community Spirit award

Club committee member of the year

Entrepreneur of the Year

YFC Supporter of the Year

New member of the Year

The Heart of YFC Award

NatWest is sponsoring the awards and the sixth National Young Farmers’ Week. Ian Burrow, Head of Agriculture and Renewable Energy, Natwest Group, said:

“We are proud supporters of the YFC Achiever Awards and are really looking forward to being involved in the judging and finding out more about the incredible successes in the YFC community.

“We are also delighted to be supporting National Young Farmers’ Week for a third year running and will be working with NFYFC in the coming months to plan an exciting online event.”

Nominations can be made online here and entries must be submitted before the deadline on 10 September 2020. 



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