Rural young people and their supporters have been recognised for their dedication to supporting communities, boosting the rural economy and developing skills at an awards ceremony on 3 November 2023.
NFYFC’s annual YFC Achiever Awards, sponsored by Kärcher UK, recognise the achievements of members during the previous membership year. Nearly 400 young farmers, supporters and alumni gathered at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham for the event, which was hosted by NFYFC President and former international rugby referee Nigel Owens MBE.
The YFC Achiever awards comprise eight award categories, including the Heart of YFC Award, where the winner is chosen by the YFC community through a public vote. Members choose the person they feel best represents the values and ethos of YFC.
More than 1700 people cast a vote for who they wanted to win the Heart of YFC Award out of the five shortlisted finalists and this year chose Tom Retallick from Cornwall.
Tom Retallick, 26, a self-employed stockman from Newquay, has just completed a year as the County Chair for the Cornwall Federation. The judges were impressed with how much Tom has been an advocate for YFC, since he joined the organisation 12 years ago.
Most recently, Tom organised Cornwall YFC’s WotNot fundraising challenge, where 50 members embarked on a 100-mile journey across Scotland in just five days. The event raised an impressive £17,000 for three local charities.
Tom said: “I feel very proud and privileged to have been awarded the Heart of YFC Award. Being voted for by the members makes it extra special and shows their appreciation for all the tireless work that is done.
“I truly love every aspect of YFC, and I look forward to continuing to promote our federation and the opportunities that it has to offer.”
The Heart of YFC Award was one of eight awards presented on the evening, where members enjoyed a three-course meal and had the chance to meet with the President Nigel Owens.
The awards, which were first launched in 2020, are a way of recognising and rewarding members of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) for the work they do in the community, for enterprising initiatives and for helping to develop other rural young people.
Top names from the farming industry were among the line-up of judges who helped to choose the 2023 winners. Judges included TV presenter and farmer Gareth Wyn Jones, farmer and star of Born Mucky Ally Hunter Blair and hoof trimmer and founder of the popular @Keepingcowsmoovin social media profile Ant Thomas.
NFYFC’s President Nigel Owens MBE was among the judging panel who helped to shortlist the five nominees for the Heart of YFC Award.
Nigel Owens said:
“Young Farmers’ Clubs across England and Wales provide excellent opportunities for rural young people and it’s clear to see that our winners have grabbed those opportunities with both hands.
“They are using the skills and connections made in YFC to forge exciting businesses, to support their rural communities, to run efficient clubs and counties, and to mentor others to be their best. I feel very fortunate to have experienced YFC as a member of Llanarthne YFC in Wales, which also gave me skills and confidence that I have used throughout my life.”
Simon Keeping, Group Managing Director, UK & Ireland Kärcher UK Ltd, said:
"Farming in the UK, and with it, Young Farmers' Clubs, face challenging times ahead. Climate change, the impact of technology and new international trade deals all create opportunities but in turn put additional pressures on UK agriculture.
"At Kärcher we describe ourselves as 'Custodians of the brand' – it guides us in how we act and develop the business. Young Farmers are also custodians – custodians of the land, or more precisely the 69% of this country's land mass that is in agricultural production.
"It's a privilege for Kärcher to help celebrate success with YFC and to encourage young farmers to embrace their mantle of Custodians of the land."
Nominations for the YFC Achiever Awards 2024 will be open to YFC members and supporters again next year.