National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 January 2020

Inspired and informed is how two YFC members felt after attending the Oxford Farming Conference in January as NFYFC scholars.

Emily Smith from Buxton YFC in Derbyshire and Georgina Radmore from Clunderwen YFC in Pembrokeshire both attended the three-day conference in Oxford after being awarded an NFYFC scholarship by the Worshipful Company of Farmers (WCF).

This year’s conference theme was Growing a Healthy Society and was focused on strengthening the relationship between the population, the land and the people who produce the nation’s food. It was an aim that certainly resonated with Georgina.

“I found the science lecture very interesting, the learning behind food for health was very insightful and debunked a lot of theories out there about red meat,” said Georgina. “I also found the Frank Parkinson lecture interesting as the speaker talked about ways in which we can engage and entertain the public about agriculture. The sector is rich in content that we can use to promote our industry.”

As well as dedicated workshops for scholars, there were plenty of debates and sessions on wider topics that Emily confirmed left a positive impression. 

“It was great to hear and feel that agriculture has a future,” said Emily who also attended an OFC Scholars’ day in November. “The positivity and factual knowledge were astounding. I particularly enjoyed the science lecture as the data was clear and easy to follow but went against a lot of the negative press that surrounds red meat.”

The scholars also got to hear from leading industry figures, including key note speeches by NFU President Minette Batters and Defra Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

Both scholars were impressed with the contacts they made during the event, which could prove to be beneficial in their careers.

Georgina met with a farmer from Northern Ireland where she is planning to take students from Coleg Sir Gar, where she works as an agricultural lecturer.

“Making these contacts can help me enhance the education of my students in Gelli Aur. I also met delegates from large retail chains and levy bodies. The best networking was between the other scholars on the programme.”

Equipped with insights and facts to help both scholars promote the industry, Emily now understands what role young farmers can play in making change happen.

“There is so much happening in the industry, this is both a challenging and exciting time to be in agriculture. I take away from the conference inspiration and confidence that agriculture does have a place in the future, and we can make the difference at the source.”

Georgina described her experience as “an incredible opportunity to feel a part of some of the most important discussions affecting UK agriculture today.”

Every year the Worshipful Company of Farmers sponsors two YFC members to attend the conference and any YFC member can apply for these places.

For more information about future scholarship opportunities at the Oxford Farming Conference, contact Sarah Palmer


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