National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 June 2022

YFC AGRI Chair Charlotte Garbutt, from Lincolnshire FYFC, was one of the lucky YFC members who was chosen to be part of a UK Young Agricultural Leaders Fellowship to the USA this year to learn more about agriculture in the country. Charlotte shares her experience of the three-week study tour, which was organised by The University of Georgia’s Office of Global Engagement.

How were you chosen for this experience?

UK fellows were selected from nominations of members between the ages of 18 and 26 by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) or the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU).

I met the criteria of experience or interest in agricultural leadership and policy as my degree, current work with Syngenta and pedigree livestock business fitted the bill. I’m so grateful that my employer supported this international experience and cross-cultural exchange of a lifetime to acquire more skills for my professional and YFC career.

What were the highlights of your trip?

From the moment we all arrived at Hartsfield International Airport, orienteering at the University of Georgia’s Centre for Continuing Education to our Washington debrief, I had the most amazing and informative time, visiting farms, colleges, feed mills and research centres as well as enjoying the famous southern state hospitality and generosity.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better….it did! Boarding a plane to Washington the day after a cultural excursion in Atlanta, a change of pace from farming to politics and perhaps a chance to put the leadership training and rural cultural activity delivered by the JW Fanning Institute for Leadership Development into practice.

What farming differences did you discover?

The most significant part of the trip was the difference in the scale of farming enterprises but also dispelling any of my misconceptions – seeing and experiencing is the only way to really understand another country’s farming culture.

Arriving in Washington DC, the political experience was as extensive and interesting as the farm and cultural ones. This agenda included visits to the American Farm Bureau, the British Embassy and with the Office of the United States Trade Representative to learn about approaches to agricultural trade negotiations. (I think this will stand me in good stead for future haggling over livestock additions….!)

What benefits have you taken from the trip?

To say that my fellowship has enhanced both my personal and professional development is a huge understatement. These types of opportunities are rare, but we all know that being a member of a YFC means that many opportunities are there for the taking.

Take up every travel or exchange opportunity that may come your way. A fresh perspective is always useful to stimulate ideas and plans for your future, as well as the obvious experience of seeing and meeting those who share your passion for food and farming.

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