National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

22 April 2021

Young farmers looking for ways to help the industry reach net zero by 2040 can now seek inspiration from a new Climate Change Guide launched by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC).

The guide, which is supported by Defra and in association with the NFU and Championing the Farmed Environment (CFE), launches in the same week as the government announced its new target to cut emissions by 78% by 2035.

NFYFC’s digital interactive guide includes the results from NFYFC’s 2020 Climate Change Video Challenge, which asked young farmers to record a short video explaining their ideas for reducing carbon emissions on farm.

Organisers were delighted that Reaseheath College integrated the challenge into an agricultural course module, which produced some highly recommended projects from students.  It is hoped more YFC County Federations, clubs and land-based colleges will follow this initial lead.

More UK countries launched their own video challenges following on from the success of the competition in England – and in preparation for one the most important climate change conferences of 2021, the United Nations’ COP26 on 1-12 November.

As well as videos from the winners of the video challenge, the new guide contains FAQs, case studies and references for more information from the NFU and CFE to help young farmers better understand the climate challenge and how to tackle it.

The online guide also includes a foreword from David Kennedy, Defra’s Director General for Food, Farming and Biosecurity.

In the foreword, Mr Kennedy says: “There is a global challenge for us all and the guide will help to explain this, the actual task in hand and how we can all play our part. The ambition to achieve net zero emissions is clearly demonstrated by work highlighted by the NFU and the CFE and farmers who are already applying measures to combat climate change successfully.”

Tom Pope, Chair of NFYFC’s Agricultural and Rural Issues group (YFC AGRI), said: “This new guide will be an essential resource for any young farmer who wants to make an impact on climate change. It’s encouraging to see the success of our original challenge is continuing to inspire and we hope that this guide is shared widely to encourage young farmers to play their part in securing the future.” 

19 April 2021

With restrictions easing and clubs able to meet again, Chair of Louth YFC Callum Forsyth shares his experiences of leading a club over the last few months and meeting again after lockdown.

Q. What have been the challenges for your committee during lockdown?     

A. We have found it challenging keeping everyone engaged with the club and ensuring the members still feel they are getting value out of being part of YFC. We are desperate to keep the club alive and exciting for our members so that the club has a stable future. We currently have 23 members (which is around half what the club had last year).

Q. What did you do to help your members feel engaged during lockdown?     

A. We kept our virtual programme as full as possible, giving all our members the chance to socialise. We have had various talks, farm visits, lambing live, as well as the general quizzes, bingo etc – but all from our lockdown armchairs.

Q. What have you learned from the experience?                                       

A. As a club we have learnt that face-to-face socialising was a big part of the way we ran the club and having to adapt to a virtual programme hasn’t suited all of our members.

Hopefully with the changes to come – and the push to have Covid secure face-to-face  meetings – we can bring members back. None of us like change but it has been great to see the YFC spirit still carrying on when we have been able to have our weekly Zoom meetings or activities.

Q. What have been the challenges now you are starting to host Covid-secure meetings? 

A. Our struggle coming out of lockdown and working with the new restrictions for face-to-face meetings is ensuring everyone can get involved. We are a large club, with members aged mostly over 18 (only five members are currently under 18), so having to put the ‘rule of 6’ in place is difficult for us.

But we’re not letting this hold us back and we are thinking outside of the box to keep things moving forward. We are giving fence erecting training for groups of six and going to the golf range by allocating times for smaller groups.

Q. What tips would you give to other clubs that are considering hosting Covid-secure meetings?     

The main thing is to ensure our members are safe – simply following the guidelines allows us to do this. There is plenty we can still do even under the current restrictions and I’m hopeful it won’t be that long until we can get the club fully back together. Let’s just keep reminding people what a great community and support network Young Farmers can be. 

If you would like to share your story about running your YFC during lockdown and beyond please email NFYFC.  


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