National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

17 December 2020

Merry Christmas to everyone involved in YFC

When we started this year, no one could have imagined 12 months quite like these! Everyone has made sacrifices this year in their personal and professional lives – and for YFC members the impact of social isolation has been even greater than usual.

But amid the gloom, emerged something special. That true YFC spirit saw clubs mucking in and helping those around them. The community support has been immense and the kindness members have shown has been truly amazing.

When we were told to ‘stay home’ – rather than disconnecting, so many club officers came up with innovative ways to help their members stay connected. Always a challenge in rural areas – but even if it meant turning off all the digital equipment in the house just to be part of your club’s Zoom call, you did it.

YFC connected

It would be too easy to see this YFC year as one that was lost to COVID – but there is actually much for us to celebrate from a year that stole physical social contact. We join a YFC to be part of a community of like-minded people – and it’s in difficult times when the support we give each other can make us stronger. I have seen that happening across England and Wales – where people have created virtual rallies to replace the real thing, set challenges and competitions for members to keep them entertained and engaged, and come up with creative ideas for Zoom club meetings – even online AGMs. It has forced YFC to be more digital. And while we all want to get back to meeting in person, isn’t it amazing that we have still been able to connect in some way during this pandemic?

So, let’s feel thankful for what we have discovered and achieved this year – for the creative people who helped to keep us connected and for the care and compassion you have shown to each other and your communities.

Something to celebrate

Please watch the video below to see 12 ways YFC at Home has given us all something to celebrate in 2020. Why not share what your YFC has achieved this year on social media using #YFC2020? And please keep supporting the Give it Some YFC Welly Relay. Now more than ever we need to support YFC to ensure it’s here for generations to come.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and here’s to a brighter New Year.

Nigel 

 


17 December 2020

The International Cheese and Dairy Awards (ICDA) event is moving from Nantwich to Staffordshire for a three-day celebration of food on 21-24 October next year and wants young food producers to play their part.

As the largest Cheese and Dairy Show in the world, it offers trade days and stands, awards and attractions for visitors with retailers joining celebrity chefs, producers, exhibitors and buyers.

The organisers are working with NFYFC to make sure that young farmers and next generation food producers are part of this new event.  With a field to fork theme, the organisers look forward to shining a spotlight on emerging young farmer businesses.  If you have an emerging food enterprise you could be joining celebrity chefs, top retailers and food traders to network and do business whilst flying the flag for British produce and YFC.

The Cheeseboard Awards is an aspect of the show which has grown rapidly over the past two years, with preserves, chutneys, biscuits, charcuterie, beer, wine, in fact anything connected with eating great cheese. 

Details for YFC members

The ICDA Awards offer YFC members the opportunity to showcase a diversification enterprise – anything food related. ICDA will provide inside space, free of charge, for you to sell your products on Friday and Saturday 22-23 2021 at Love Cheese Live. The only costs will be for the hire of a market stall, tables, chairs and electric.

If you would like to register your interest please send your name, address, affiliated YFC County, telephone number, email, and a brief outline of your business to Adrian Lawrence.

Please respond as quickly as possible as space is limited. After registering the organisers will provide costings for anything you wish to hire.


17 December 2020

Christmas is coming and for Anna Hunt it’s the busiest time of the year on her farm, where they’re busy preparing turkeys right up until Christmas Eve.

Q. Tell us about your business?

A. I live on a mixed family farm which consists of arable, turkeys for Christmas, sheep and a suckler herd which we also show at agricultural shows. I have worked on the farm since I was young, during school and university holidays, and have been working here full-time since March, after I finished my Biology degree from Durham University. I am looking for a job away from home for some different experience and opportunities, within practical farm management.

Q. How long does it take to rear a turkey for Christmas?

A. Our turkey poults arrive at four weeks old in mid-July through to mid-August and we rear them through to Christmas when they are around 24 weeks old. This is different to a lot of supermarket turkeys, which are often reared more intensively for around 12 weeks.

Q. How busy are you in the build up to Christmas?

A. We start preparing the birds at the end of November, and we are working right through to Christmas Eve! Turkeys are a last-minute business and it’s all about remaining calm under pressure, and attention to detail when giving the final produce to a customer.

Q. What’s your favourite thing about this time of the year?

A. I really enjoy this time of year as it is challenging, but it is nice to know you have played a part in making Christmas special for so many people. I feel extremely proud to have been responsible for producing a great product, which has been reared by myself and the team, to extremely high welfare, quality and hygiene standards and is enjoyed by so many people on Christmas Day.

Q. How has COVID impacted turkey sales?

A. It may have had a positive impact for us, as we have seen a shift forward in the time of ordering, which means we have more of an idea about our sales projections further in advance. With restrictions easing around Christmas, we feel confident that butchers’ orders will remain largely unchanged. We have seen an increase in butchers’ orders due to their increased popularity during the lockdowns, which can only be a good thing with more people buying local, British produce!

Q. Has YFC helped during the pandemic?

A. I have been a member of Woburn YFC since I was 12 and it’s been great that YFC has continued throughout the pandemic. We have had a few in-person meetings as well as meetings on Zoom. It has been good to see people and to still have something to look forward to doing on a Wednesday. We’ve also taken part in competitions – the Bedfordshire team came 14th in the recent national stockjudging competition and Woburn won the County’s Braintrust competition.

I have also done a virtual farm tour and talk on turkey processing, which members enjoyed!

YFC is such a great network, I have not only made friends for life but it’s also a great support network when you need it. 

Q. Where can people buy your turkeys?

A. You can buy our turkeys through many butchers in and around Bedfordshire, or even better, come and order direct from us via our website www.watergatefarm.co.uk.


17 December 2020

When Louise Clarke isn’t busy lambing or being a Club Leader at Kenn Valley YFC, a club she restarted seven years ago, she’s creating beautiful products out of game bird feathers.

Q. Tell us about your business?

A. I create handmade and bespoke items out of feathers such as baubles, wreaths, tea light holders, cards, hatpins and pictures. All items are unique and are using feathers sourced from local shoots and the spent cartridges. We aim to bring the elegance and beauty of the countryside into homes.

Q. Where did the idea come from for your business? 

A. The idea came from seeing such beautiful feathers going to waste after the carcass has been used. I started out by selling tail feathers on eBay.

Q. Who else do you work with?

A. I currently work on my own but do call in favours from my mum, my other half and his mum to help me with the cutting of feathers and also, when allowed, the running of a stall. My other half’s mum helps a lot by being able to post all my parcels!

Q. What are your most popular items?

A. Either my pictures, as these can be personalised or bespoke pictures created, or the feather baubles.

Q. How has COVID impacted your business?

A. COVID has meant that we haven’t been able to have any of the trade stands at craft fairs, meaning we’ve lost a lot outside business. This year due to not being able to have stalls I’ve had a lot of online sales created by social media pushes.

Q. How can people buy from you?

A. We deliver worldwide and people can buy through my website www.gamebirdfeathers.com or my Etsy website gamebirdfeatherco or by messaging my Facebook page


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