National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

28 October 2021

New training to tackle plastic pollution by inspiring behaviour change among young farmers launches today (28 October), just days before COP26 and during National Young Farmers’ Week 2021.

The training session has been developed for the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) by the plastics and sustainability team at the Environment Agency, as part of its work on the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution Project. 

The training recognises the important role agriculture and everyone in rural locations must play in protecting the environment. The course will join NFYFC’s suite of training modules, called The Curve, which YFCs deliver during club meetings as part of their club programmes. 

The new module aims to provide solutions that will enable YFC members to help prevent plastic pollution and drive long-term positive behaviour change amongst young people. Based around six activities, the session will encourage members to think about and discuss the impacts, scale and sources of plastic pollution, particularly in rural environments. 

A major part of the module is focused on helping YFC members connect how plastic waste in the countryside results in polluting the oceans, as there is often a misunderstanding about the origin of plastic found in the sea.

Some key agricultural reminders about plastic waste include:

  • Keeping waste plastic clean, dry, sorted and contained to keep costs down 
  • Burning, burying and long-term storage of plastic waste on site is illegal 
  • The legal responsibility to manage your waste and and dispose of it properly.

On completing the module, YFC members will hopefully be inspired to make a pledge to do something to help tackle plastic pollution, like reducing their own waste production, implementing good waste management, or sharing what they have learnt with others to widen awareness of the impacts of plastic pollution. 

The module launches off the back of NFYFC’s YFC Operation Green project, which called on YFC members to help improve the environment in their rural communities through litter picks or other local projects. A YFC Operation Green toolkit to help YFCs take action was also developed with the Environment Agency and clubs have been recording their work in the build-up to National Young Farmers’ Week 2021 (25-29 October), supported by NatWest. 

NFYFC Chair of Council Rachel Goldie said: 

“With COP26 only days away, we hope the new Plastic Prevention training module will also help to encourage YFC members to take positive action against climate change. Working with The Environment Agency, we have created an interactive and engaging course that aims to inspire our members to think differently and do what they can to prevent plastic pollution. 

“As one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK, representing the next generation of farmers, it’s important we find new ways to motivate YFC members to do what they can to protect our environment.” 

During the pandemic, NFYFC also worked with the Environment Agency to develop plastic prevention resources and activities for YFC members to do at home and these are also available for clubs to run now they are meeting again. 

Environment Agency project officer Claire Horrocks said: 

“Land-based industries have an important role to play in protecting our environment. Working with young farmers is a great way to inspire the agriculture sector to take positive action to reduce and reuse plastic waste, and implement good waste management practice. 

“Young people are at the heart of our work as it is their energy and passion that can help shape new generational habits, contributing to long-term behaviour changes.” 

The training module was piloted in Leicestershire with 30 members of Rearsby & District YFC earlier in October and Club Chair Matt Kirk said: 

“This training module really opened our eyes to the problems caused by plastic pollution and showed how even making small changes can have a big impact. It’s great that this course has been developed for Young Farmers’ Clubs by NFYFC and the Environment Agency as the information has been tailored to make it relevant to people living in rural communities and working in agriculture. 

“After the session, we all discussed the pledges we would make to tackle plastic pollution and ideas ranged from drinking more from reusable cups and bottles to looking at the use and disposal of plastic on our farms.” 

27 October 2021

NFYFC held its national Competitions Day in October for the first time since July 2019 due to cancellations throughout the pandemic.

While it was a scaled down event in 2021, with only four national finals being held at Staffordshire County Showground, more than 300 YFC members and spectators were delighted to be back together competing.

YFC members competed in Tug of War, Fence Erecting, Clay Pigeon Shooting and Farm Skills. The winning ladies Tug of War team from County Durham had waited 15 years to win the national final.

Coach Alan Maddison, who was a member of County Durham FYFC and had competed in the Tug of War at the time, was delighted to see his daughter’s team bring home the trophy.

“You cannot believe how proud I am,” said Alan. “We set off with Young Farmers 15 years ago with this aim and it’s took us that long to achieve our goal.”

Yorkshire were delighted to pick up the trophy for the GENSB Tug of War, and Staffordshire brought home the men’s trophy.

George Goodwin from the Staffordshire men’s Tug of War team said: “It’s been a really good day and we’re just glad to be back. We’re happy to be here and happy that this [certificate] says first on it.” 

The Farm Skills competition involved moving machinery safely and a first aid task – with real actors. YFC members had to help someone who looked as if they had been injured in a PTO shaft. The competition was made possible thanks to support from Kuhn, Johnson’s of Cheadle, Rea Valley Tractors and Arley Medical Services. 

Lancashire came first in the competition and Abigail Stansfield said it was down to good teamwork. 

“All of us just worked as a team to come together to win. We all work safely at our jobs and it’s about putting that into practice.

“It feels great for everyone to be back face-to-face and competing properly. Back to normal!”

The Fence Erecting teams worked hard in the wet weather conditions but it was Leicestershire who claimed the trophy with a team from Ashby YFC. The competition was supported by Estate Wire.

In the Clay Pigeon Shooting, which was supported by BASC, Oliver Collins from Parbold YFC in Lancashire, was the overall winner of the day. 

Oliver, who had to enter a shoot off at the end for first place, has been taking part in the sport since he was around 11 years old but this was his first time in the senior competition. 

“It’s good to be back. I cleaned the first stand and had a few odd misses here and there. I didn’t think I would win the shoot, I thought there would be a score a touch higher than me, but you always think that.”

Competitions Day was followed by the annual Sports Day, with County Durham winning the Netball, Cumbria winning the Football, Lancashire winning at Jump Rope and Yorkshire winning the Kwik Cricket. 

27 October 2021

To help farmers in England through the transition away from Direct Payments, Defra is funding free and confidential business advice for 9,000 farmers between now and the end of February 2022. The NFU is encouraging farmers and growers to apply soon as spaces are filling up.

The aim of the advice, enabled through Defra's Future Farming Resilience Fund, is to:

  • Help farmers understand the changes that are happening.
  • Identify how they may need to adapt their business model to take account of the ending of BPS and the disappearance of the income stream it provides.
  • Know what they need to do and when they need to do it.
  • Have access to tailored support including 1-2-1 business advice.

Advice is available throughout England, to all sectors and regardless of tenure type. 

There are 19 different organisations that have been funded by Defra to provide this support, with AHDB, Promar International, Ricardo AEA, SRUC, RSK ADAS, and the LandWorkers Alliance all providing national coverage.

Others, such as the Prince’s Countryside Fund and Brown and Co, cover most but not all areas, and a number of small providers are more regionally focused. 

26 October 2021

Young Farmers’ Clubs are being offered an exclusive opportunity to access support and materials for their club buildings thanks to a new project launched by The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) in conjunction with Eternit UK. 

The new scheme, which launches during National Young Farmers’ Week (25-29 October 2021), will enable clubs and counties to seek support and free materials from Eternit for repairs and renovations, as well as seek help with new builds. While many YFCs meet in the local village hall, a growing number are building or renovating their own premises. County Federations have also renovated their own buildings to ensure they have a permanent space too.

The offer means YFCs could access free materials to help with a new roof or for external wall renovations (facades) as well as getting structural advice on repairs too. As YFCs are charities they often do not have the resources to be able to repair, renovate or build their own club venue. It is hoped this scheme will provide some vital resources to help clubs tackle building issues.

Robert Baldwin, UK Marketing Manager, Eternit UK said:

“The team at Eternit UK are proud to be a supporter of NFYFC and as part of its ongoing relationship it is reaching out with a hand of support to help a YFC building that might be in need of materials or advice.

“We know how difficult it can be for small charities operating in rural communities and this new scheme is just one way to help YFCs get further on in their building or renovation projects for the club.”

The application process is now open for YFCs, with the aim of the support for projects being offered in 2022.

NFYFC Chair of Council Rachel Goldie said:

“We are delighted to be working with Eternit UK on this project to help YFCs and County Federations seek materials and advice to help them develop their club buildings.

“As YFCs are small local charities, they often do not have the resources to manage major repairs or to contemplate building their own venue. This project will really help to make YFC buildings more sustainable and we’re grateful to Eternit for their valuable advice and generous supply of materials.”

Threemilestone and District Young Farmers’ Club in Cornwall is just one example of a club that owns its building and is therefore responsible for its repairs and maintenance. The club has recently been fundraising to purchase the land where their club building is located to secure its future but still faces ongoing expenses to keep the building up to scratch. The club is very close to finalising the completion of their fundraising campaign and the purchase of the land after fundraising £52,000 during the Pandemic since the campaign started in January 2019. 

Natalie Brown, Threemilestone and District Young Farmers’ Club Leader, said: “The building is an old RAF building and requires regular repairs and ongoing maintenance, which can be costly. It’s great to know that Eternit are supporting YFCs with this scheme as we are all small charities and often don’t have the funds to cover big repair jobs. Threemilestone and District Young Farmers’ Club are extremely grateful to the support of Eternit to ensure we can keep the pride of our Club Hall and maintain it to a high standard for the Hall we are lucky to call our home” 

 YFCs interested in applying for the scheme can do so online here.


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