National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

29 March 2021

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), The Farming Community Network (FCN),  and The DPJ Foundation are working together to support young farmers’ mental health and wellbeing through the development of new Rural+ training modules. 

This initiative, titled ‘Supporting Together’, has been made possible by funding from The Westminster Foundation, which is Chaired by the Duke of Westminster and aims to encourage young people in farming families to take action early and to plan for the challenges and restructuring that the industry now faces.

NFYFC and FCN have worked in partnership to develop and deliver mental health awareness training to Young Farmers’ Clubs in Wales and England through the Rural+ module since the launch of the project in 2013.

About Rural+  

The name Rural+ was chosen to encourage young people to feel positive about rural life and to utilise the great network of friends and support that comes with being a member of a Young Farmers’ Club. Rural+ was the brainchild of the National Chairman of Council (2013/14) Claire Worden.

FCN, along with NFYFC and The DPJ Foundation, are working together to develop the new Rural+ mental health training module, which is aimed at 10-26 year old YFC members and 16-25 year old agricultural students yet to embark on their first placement or role in the industry.

The training is collaborative and is being developed with young farmers, young agriculture professionals and volunteers from FCN and The DPJ Foundation to ensure it is relevant and beneficial to young farmers.

The training will focus on understanding stress and anxiety; managing personal mental wellbeing; how to talk about mental health; seeking support and supporting others.

Increase in calls to helplines 

This focus on mental health awareness is timely. FCN, a charity and voluntary organisation with volunteers in Wales and England, has seen an increase in the percentage of calls to its Helpline (03000 111 999) from the farming community over the past year that contain a mental health component, such as stress or anxiety. 

Meanwhile, The DPJ Foundation has seen an increase in access to professional counselling through its Share the Load service (0800 587 4262) and high demand for its Mental Health Awareness Training.

Richard Jeyes, NFYFC’s Youth Forum Chairman, said:

“The development of the Rural+ training module will give Young Farmers’ Clubs an essential resource to support their members’ wellbeing. We hope this training will help to improve resilience as we face major changes in the industry and additional pressures from the pandemic. We are delighted to be working with FCN and The DPJ Foundation to develop training that will equip young farmers with vital skills to help them manage future challenges.”  

Jude McCann, Chief Executive of The Farming Community Network, said:

“This training comes at an important turning point in farming. With significant change and restructuring affecting farmers and farming families throughout the UK, supporting young farmers’ personal resilience and providing mental health training will help to ensure they’re equipped with the knowledge, understanding and tools needed to thrive and create a sustainable farming future. We look forward to collaborating with The DPJ Foundation and NFYFC to deliver this training, working together to support future generations of farmers.”

Kate Miles, Charity Manager of The DPJ Foundation said:

“We know that the last 12 months have been especially difficult for young people. We have supported many with concerns around isolation, social anxiety and adapting to studying online alongside farming as well as supporting parents who have concerns about their children. As such, we are really pleased to have been able to work alongside NFYFC and FCN to develop this resource which will enhance the offer available to the farmers of the future to help them cope with the challenges that they may face.  We are now looking forward to rolling this training out and reaching as many young people as possible.”

The Duke of Westminster, Chair of the Westminster Foundation said:

“It’s widely recognised the farming industry has some of the highest levels of mental health issues compared to other sectors, yet too many people still suffer the silent pain of loneliness and isolation, without knowing how or where to seek help.

“Rural+ will play a vital role in enabling the next generation of farmers tackle the pressures facing the industry with renewed resiliency in the years ahead. It is a brilliant example of how the most positive initiatives for young people are usually borne out of collaboration among like-minded organisations and through listening to youth voices. The farming sector is an important community to us all, whether you are from a rural background or not, and we owe it to the next generation of young farmers to provide them the best possible opportunities to succeed.”

With Covid-19 restrictions still in place, the training will initially be delivered remotely by experienced Rural+ trainers, however, additional in-club modules and activities will be available later in the year.

The first of the new training modules are planned for delivery from April.

For more information about the Rural+ training, please contact Vicki Beers, National Partnerships Manager. Watch videos about the new training and find out more details here

25 March 2021

YFC members are being offered a new informative resource that will support career development and provide insight on key industry topics through a joint venture between Kuhn Farm Machinery and NFYFC.

Representatives from Kuhn are recording a new podcast series with Meet the Farmer podcaster Ben Eagle that will explore topics such as careers, regenerative farming and quality forage.

The first podcast has been recorded and discusses Kuhn’s history, dating back to 1828, and introduces some members of the team – Managing Director Sian Pritchard, Marketing Manager Kate Hughes and John Lovell Technical Support Manager in the South of England – all of whom are former YFC members. The discussion highlights why the company has supported NFYFC for a number of years, the roles in the business and also passes on tips to people looking for a career with the farm machinery giant.

Kate, who has been working with Kuhn for six years, talks about the impact YFC has had on her career in the first podcast. She said: “I would say to [YFC] members at the moment, take advantage of all the skills and opportunities you can take from Young Farmers. There are so many different things such as organisational skills, public speaking that you can really use and transfer into job roles in the future.

“Take pantomime organisation or cookery, or being a club chairman or secretary – you might not realise at the time the skills you are taking from it. I wish I had done more public speaking – I have had to try and develop it afterwards so I wish I’d had a go at it more in YFC.”

Company progression 

Shortly after the recording of the podcast, both Kate and John were promoted to new roles, which Managing Director Sian says is testament to the progression that can be achieved in the company.

“I knew Kate and John were going to be promoted to managers before the podcast but wasn’t at liberty to say at the time, but I think their promotions only further demonstrate the opportunities at Kuhn, which we highlight in the podcast.

“The team are really looking forward to recording the next two podcasts for NFYFC members and I hope that they prove to be useful for career development.”

It is hoped that the podcast can be used by YFCs for club programming and prompt discussion between members about the issues they raise. Throughout the series the podcasts will highlight future farming and offer advice on efficient production, land management and cultivation.

Presenter Ben Eagle, who hosts the successful Meet the Farmer Podcast, is producing the podcasts with Kuhn for NFYFC.

NFYFC’s AGRI Chairman Tom Pope said: “It’s good to continue developing projects with the team at Kuhn, with whom we have a long-standing relationship. These podcasts are ideal for YFC members wanting to learn more about the industry and progressing their career.

“This first podcast highlights how important YFC skills are for preparing young people for their future career and it’s ideal for anyone wanting tips on how to seek employment in farm machinery. A huge thank you to Ben Eagle too for helping us by presenting and producing these podcast episodes for members.”

The first podcast can be listened to below and YFCs are encouraged to share with their members. 

24 March 2021

British Wool has launched an exclusive competition for one YFC member from England, Scotland and Wales YFC Federations to win a place on the organisation’s new training and development programme.

The new programme will mean the lucky YFC members will each receive one year’s free access to British Wool’s training courses, including machine shearing (two courses), gear training and wool handling. 

The successful entrants will also be invited to Bradford to visit British Wool’s head office and grading depot as well as learn more about the wool processing chain.

The competition is also supported by Lister Shearing who have provided a package of shearing equipment to the value of £500 for each country’s winner.

Competition winners will be expected to work with British Wool by sharing their training journey over 14 months on social media, in the press and online. 

Rachel Goldie, NFYFC’s Chairman of Council, said: “NFYFC is delighted that one lucky YFC member will have the chance to go on British Wool’s new training and development programme.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for a young person, with or without shearing experience, to learn more about wool and the shearing industry. Good luck to everyone who takes part and we look forward to seeing updates about their experiences.”   

How to enter

To be in with a chance of winning one of the places available in England and Wales, entrants will need to be a registered YFC member, with or without shearing experience. You will need to submit a short video or send an email explaining why you should be chosen for the opportunity. You must also have been 16 + and under 27 on the 1st September 2020.

Send your video or email entries along with your name, date of birth, address and YFC membership number to; England - Wales -

Closing date for entries is 31 March 2021 and the competition will be judged by a panel of industry experts from the shearing sector and British Wool. 

More information on the competition rules and how to enter can be found here


23 March 2021

NFYFC has joined with other leading agricultural organisations and educational charities to sign a letter urging the government to ensure all children have the opportunities to rebuild confidence, skills and improve overall wellbeing.

The letter, which is addressed to new Education Recovery Commissioner Sir Kevan Collins at the Department of Education, highlighted the role that rural and agricultural organisations can play in providing skills for life to young people. It asks that vital food and farming and outdoor experiences are included in government plans alongside topics such as sport, music and drama.

The call to action also asks Government to support organisations to work together to provide these opportunities and ensure that they are accessible to all children.

You can read the letter in full below.

23 March 2021

Dear Sir Kevan

Congratulations on your recent appointment as Education Recovery Commissioner.

As I am sure you are only too aware, the recent Education Policy Institute (EPI) report found that the education catch-up plans of all four UK nations offer insufficient support for pupils and are unlikely to address the scale of learning loss following the pandemic. We are writing to highlight the potential for food, farming and countryside experiences to help with the national effort to support children who have missed out most, to re/gain social skills, confidence, improve wellbeing and access real world/irresistible learning opportunities.

We fully support outgoing Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield’s, call for a Year of Opportunity for Children.  The National Tutoring Programme is providing an essential service supporting children with their academic work, however, there is also a pressing need for a broader and more balanced offer. Our programmes are designed to support children to develop ‘skills for life’ such as character and confidence, they can open new horizons, and help children to better understand how the world works, their own place in the world, their health and the health of the planet.  We believe all children should have the chance to thrive and stand ready to help along with farmers across the UK. 

We therefore urge you to ensure:

ALL children have the opportunities and experiences they deserve to help rebuild confidence, skills and improve overall wellbeing so they can thrive, and that vital food and farming and outdoor experiences are included alongside sport, music drama etc.

Government supports our organisations to work together to provide these opportunities and ensures that our most persistently disadvantaged children can access them

Support is targeted to benefit those who need it most

There is no ‘cliff edge’ after a year … support is sustained /sustainable

Please let us know what steps will be taken to make the necessary provision available for those children who most need it.

Yours sincerely,

Jill Attenborough, Chief Executive Officer, The Country Trust

Kate Brown, Director, The Westminster Foundation

Lord Curry of Kirkharle, Member of House of Lords

Jen Fox, Interim CEO, Action Tutoring

Anabel Knight, Chair, Bernard Sunley Foundation

Rob Percival, Head of Policy, The Soil Association

Anna de Pulford, Director, The Dulverton Trust

Gary Richardson Chief Executive Officer, Countryside Learning

Sarah Jayne Stanes OBE, Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Culinary Arts & Adopt a School Trust

Minette Batters, President, National Farmers’ Union

Alistair Bryce-Clegg, Early Years Consultant

Caroline Drummond, Chief Executive Officer, LEAF

Patrick Holden, Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Food Trust

Tim Ledbury, Chief Executive Officer, FarmLink

Tom Pope, Agriculture and Rural Issues Chairman, National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC)

Andy Robinson, Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Outdoor Learning

Victoria Vyvyan, Vice President, CLA

Inigo Weston

Joe Brindle, Campaign Co-Ordinator, Teach the Future

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Chair, The Ashden Trust

Richard Dunne, Director, The Harmony Project

Anne Hunt, Chief Executive Officer, Council for Learning Outside the Classroom

Charlie MacNicol, Director, The Stody Estate

Sue Pritchard Chief Executive, Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

Suzy Russell, Network Co-ordinator, Community Supported Agriculture

Fidelity Weston, ?Farmer Host for educational visits and Vice Chairman, Pasture Fed Livestock Association

11 March 2021

County Federations, clubs and YFC members are being encouraged to enter the Rural Youth Europe (RYE) Project competition to gain recognition on a European scale for projects, individuals or enterprises.

A Rural Youth Project is a project where young people have worked together towards a common goal on a voluntary basis.  The year 2020 was very different because of the COVID 19 pandemic and RYE wants to recognise and celebrate the resilience, creativity and innovation of rural youth through these awards.

This competition can gain your project visibility on a European level – there are three categories:-

Rural Youth Project of the Year

A project on which an individual or group of young people have worked together for the benefit of themselves, their local community or the greater good. 

Download the entry form here.  

Inspirational Rural Youth Person or Club of the Year

A young person or group of young people / club who have set an example for others through the challenging and uncertainty of the global pandemic and who have been truly inspirational in their actions and/or words.

Download the entry form here. 

Rural Youth Enterprise of the Year

A young person or group of young people who have used their skills to set up or further their own business to make an income or raise funds for charity.

Download the entry form here. 

There are also two age categories for each category.

  • Senior category – projects that have been run by youth 18 years and older.
  • Junior category – at least half of the team members are 18 years or younger.

If there are less than three entries received for each category RYE retain the right to combine the Junior and Senior categories and have one overall category

How to enter?

1. Complete the application form

2. Create a video or an automated presentation, no longer than three minutes. All submitted materials should be in English.

3. Submit the form and presentation to NFYFC by emailing to Sandra Bromley by 1 April 2021 (12 noon).  If the file is too big to submit via email, please use a large file sharing site such as WeTransfer or similar.

11 March 2021

British Wool will host an online presentation for all YFC members on Wednesday 17 March to explore the wool industry and how to get involved in it.

During the evening members will learn more about British Wool’s exclusive training offers and gain a greater understanding about sustainable wool and its uses.

British Wool’s Shearing Manager Richard Schofield will share details about British Wool’s beginner shearing course and the wool handling course, which are both offered to YFC members at discounted prices. There will also be an opportunity for YFC members to ask questions.

Following on from Richard’s talk, British Wool’s Product Manager Haldi Kranich-Wood will talk about sustainable wool and how it is used in various industries.

The evening promises to be informative and engaging and it’s free to attend.

How to join the British Wool talk 

To get involved, you can join the British Wool talk at 7pm on Weds 17 March 2021. Please click on the following link to join the meeting at the correct time on Wednesday evening.


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