National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

28 July 2021

After a year off from shows and rallies, YFCs have been making the most of the events that have managed to go ahead in 2021.

Despite the challenges of keeping members safe from Covid-19, organisers of Devon FYFC’s marquee at the county show say the benefits far outweighed the extra work.

The County Federation needed to ensure its marquee was Covid-Secure, which involved re-designing the layout to enable a one-way system and recruiting stewards to carry out lateral flow tests and restrict the number of people entering the tent.

Dan Grist, Devon FYFC’s Events and Marketing Administrator, said: “It was so important for us to have this event take place this year and it was the first opportunity for members across the county to meet up and compete in person in over a year. Although the marquee couldn't be quite the same this year, the whole team felt that it was definitely worth the extra effort!”

The County’s presence at the show was a big success – with competition classes in floristry, cookery and stockjudging showcasing the best of YFC to spectators. They were joined by representatives from Yellow Wellies and The Farming Community Network, and also welcomed Farming Minister George Eustice MP into the tent to talk about YFC's position in helping to communicate changes to agricultural legislation.

Devon also held its annual agricultural debate at the show too, which can be viewed below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5AtNNnJsc4.

Vice President of Kent FYFC Claire Eckley supported YFC members at the Kent County Show and told BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme how much the event had been missed.

“Young people have missed out on so much in the last 18 months and just to come together, and camp, get wet and show our livestock and gossip … is just what we need at the moment.

“My club Weald of Kent YFC have never brought livestock to the show before as we’re still less than five years old. They have got a really nice little haul of red and blue rosettes, so we’re delighted,” said Claire.

Listen back to Claire on Radio 4 here (around 3 mins into the programme).

Further north in Yorkshire, the county federation was excited to have a stand at the Great Yorkshire Show this year after the event was cancelled in 2020. While members were desperate to be back at the show, there were challenges to hosting a YFC stand there.

Ed Bentley, Yorkshire FYFC’s County Chair, said: “We had to jump through a lot of hoops and making all activity Covid-safe was a particular challenge, but well worth it because we had missed last year’s show.

“The Great Yorkshire Show is a holiday for many people – including our members, past and present. Many pride themselves on the stock they rear and produce, and this has been the first shop window to showcase them for 16 months.”

While all YFC activities had to be held outside at the show this year, which restricted some plans, the glorious weather more than made up for it.

“We had a number of new member enquiries, so it was great to see an appetite for YFC still, following Covid," added Ed who was also thrilled to meet The Prince of Wales when he visited the YFC stand. Prince Charles chatted to members of Reeth YFC who helped clear up after the floods hit the region in 2019.

NFYFC’s Chair Rachel Goldie and Vice Chair Ed Dungait also spent time at the Great Yorkshire Show on the YFC stand.

Rachel said: “It was brilliant to see YFC members out and about enjoying themselves again. While we have all adapted to doing most things online, it can never compare to actually being together. It was one of the first times I had met with Ed at an event since he was elected as Vice Chair last year. We had a great time – even if I did get soaked on Yorkshire’s dunking chair!”

In Lincolnshire, YFC members supported the Cereals event and were praised by organisers for their volunteering efforts. YFC AGRI also held two debates, Healthier Minds, Healthier Attitudes and YFC Climate Change Challenge, in the show’s AHDB and Young Farmers’ Sustainable Solutions Theatre featuring young farmers and industry guests. 

And as the summer progresses, more counties are hosting rallies for the first time since 2019. While clubs need to remain vigilant to Covid-19 and ensure safety precautions are in place, face-to-face meetings are certainly a welcome relief for everyone involved in YFC. 


28 July 2021

A late starter to YFC, soft fruit grower Dan Hawes wasted no time in getting involved in the YFC AGRI group to learn more about the industry. With the pandemic thwarting most physical connections, he’s looking forward to experiencing YFC in person again soon!

Q. Are you involved in farming? 

I’ve always been around and involved in the agricultural industry, living in a rural village, and frequent visits to the relatively small 100-acre family farm (mainly arable) ran by my uncle just outside the village. Harvest was (and still is!) my favourite part of the year. 

My first proper job was on another farm on the outskirts of the village, I use to cycle up on a Saturday, aged 13, to help collect eggs at weekends, cut the grass and help with other tasks. Looking back, I was paid well for my age, and was so busy earning that I never really had the chance to spend it. I’ve always worked on a farm, ranging from a livestock producer to a large arable unit.

Q. Tell us about your career? 

As the family farm is fairly small, I always knew I’d have to forge my own career. Coming from east Anglia, the home of cereals, the dream was to work up to farm management. Going to university at Harper Adams to study Agriculture and Crop Management was a chance to help on this route, improve knowledge and open some doors. 

During the first year a lecture on fresh produce swayed my interests from management to agronomy – fast paced, intensive production cycles seemed more interesting. 

Combining both interests led to my current graduate role on the back of a placement year for a large innovative soft fruit grower in Kent, aiming towards a grower role. There’s lots of things going on, working with some great people and we do some really interesting things, especially with the recent automation/robotics being developed. 

The weather rarely plays ball but it’s nice to be out and about in the different fields and locations, and although it’s usually a team effort, the satisfaction of seeing what you’ve been part of is great! 

I’ve been here long enough now that I’ve helped most fields in some stage of production, from building polytunnel sites to strawberry planting, I enjoy seeing the crops progress.  

Q. Why did you join YFC AGRI?  

I wanted to get more involved and it seemed like an interesting role to keep up to date with things going on in the wider industry. If I’m honest, much of what’s discussed isn’t my area of expertise (unless its crops related) but it’s good to gain a wider perspective of other relevant issues and chip in with thoughts where I can. 

I have found the visiting speakers interesting, especially those involved with the new ELM and New Entrants Schemes, and the chance to share feedback on Defra proposals and designs. It’s great that young farmers can get our voice heard in industry. 

I enjoyed meeting meet some of the YFC AGRI group at Cereals this year, and hopefully we can get some physical meetings in soon.

Q. What role do you think the group plays in NFYFC? 

It’s important for consolidating views from clubs around the UK into a central channel, which can then be used to share the opinion of young farmers with industry. For example, I was involved in the gene editing consultation response from YFC AGRI. I’m just an ordinary young farmer, yet here I am contributing to significant national issues/policy changes for the future of our industry. Never thought I’d be doing that.

Q. Has YFC helped you in your career? 

I first got involved when I moved to the area for a university placement year. Having joined at an older age, and then most of that time being in a pandemic, I’ve certainly not been able to gain the full experience! It has been really helpful for making friends after moving to a new area, and of course, the various contacts along the way.

Q. Have you remained connected to your YFC during the pandemic?

Zoom meetings never really worked for our club – we tried a couple but it just wasn’t the same. Fortunately, many of the chat groups have been active and are usually entertaining! As a small open club it was nice to meet together properly when restrictions allowed, and we recently took part in the scaled back Kent County Summer Fayre with many of the open clubs showing livestock and hosting a couple of other events, which were a great success! It was nice to be at a show and doing something sociable.



 


28 July 2021

NFYFC announced the three finalists of its Farm Safety Award, sponsored by SGN, during Farm Safety Week 2021, in the first of its announcements for this year’s YFC Achiever Awards.

It is the first year that NFYFC has run this award category as part of its YFC Achiever Awards in a bid to help celebrate YFC members who are championing farm safety.

The finalists included Emily Jones from Dilwyn YFC in Herefordshire, Maria Warne from St Mabyn YFC in Cornwall and Weald of Kent YFC in Kent.

To read about the three finalists visit here.

All three finalists demonstrated a passion for farm safety and a drive to share positive messages with others about improving safety. The winner will be announced during an online YFC Achiever Awards week from 13-17 September 2021.

The award was judged by Yellow Wellies Ambassador Hannah Jackson – aka the Red Shepherdess,  Steph Berkeley, Manager of the Farm Safety Foundation and Ed Dungait, NFYFC’s Vice Chair.

The Farm Safety Award is sponsored by SGN and SGN’s Head of Maintenance Tim Pearce said: 

“We’d like to congratulate all three finalists who have all done an excellent job in highlighting the importance of farm safety. We’re so proud to sponsor the Farm Safety Award because everyone going home safe and well after work to their families is what matters.

“Please, always put safety first and get in touch with us, and other utility companies, before starting any work on your land that is in the vicinity of our pipelines. We’ll visit you to help you plan your work, confirm and mark the location of our gas pipelines, and collaborate with you to come up with a way of working that ensures the integrity of our pipeline and your safety.”

NFYFC will announce the finalists for the remaining seven YFC Achiever Award categories from 2 August – starting with the Heart of YFC finalists. All of the judges have chosen five finalists in each of the remaining seven award categories and the winner of the Heart of YFC will be voted on by the YFC community. Voting opens on 2 August when the finalists are announced.

All of the winners will be announced during an online awards week from 13-17 September 2021.  


13 July 2021

To celebrate NFYFC’s 90th membership year during National Young Farmers’ Week (25-29 October), supported by NatWest, we are gathering recordings from current and former members from across England and Wales. We need your help to capture those stories!

We want to know how YFC has influenced your life as part of our theme this year called YFC Made Me…

We would like to create videos to share throughout the week, which are a compilation of messages from members and alumni. We need your help to gather those stories!

To take part, you will need to do the following:

1. Think about the impact YFC has had on your life (this could be anything such as your career, friendships made, involvement in YFC and experiences outside the organisation).

2. Ask if someone you know can record a video of you talking about how YFC has influenced your life or record a selfie style video. You can partner up with a friend if both of you want to share your stories.

3. Record the video in a landscape format. Try to keep the video short – 2 mins maximum.

4. When recording, try to think about any background noise (if recording outside, consider wind levels) or lighting issues (try to avoid sitting in front of a window or a light).

5. Send the video to Cheryl Liddle via email or if it's too large, it can be sent via Messenger to the NFYFC Facebook page.

Encourage fellow members in your club to record short videos too about how YFC is influencing their lives. Your Club and County can also gather these to create your own Club or County video to share during National Young Farmers’ Week. But please remember to send some of them to NFYFC so we can add them into our stories/videos throughout the week.

For more information contact media@nfyfc.org.uk 

 


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