Active Farmers Elected to Lead Young Farmers’ Clubs
For the first time in six years the Chairman of The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) is an ‘active’ farmer and will lead the organisation during a challenging year in the industry post-Brexit.
Edward Ford, 26, a member of Chelmsford Young Farmers’ Club in Essex was elected unanimously by members at the Council meeting on 19 February in Coventry. Ed, along with his father, mother and brother, manages a 1500 acre family farm in south Essex, cropping both winter and spring combinable crops.
He will be supported in his role by self employed livestock worker Lynsey Martin from Ashford and District YFC in Kent who will serve a second year as Vice Chairman. Katie Hall from Gloucester YFC in Gloucestershire takes on the role of the second Vice Chairman alongside her full time job as a calf nutritionist and Regional Sales Representative for Bonanza Calf Nutrition.
The trio take on their roles at a critical time for the industry as negotiations and discussions continue about a future British Agricultural Policy. As members who live and work in the countryside the top team have also first-hand experience of the cuts to rural services over recent years and are keen to raise awareness of the impact this has on rural young people and promote the benefits of YFC membership.
During his year as Chairman, Edward plans to be the voice for rural young people and ensure Young Farmers are heard by Government.
Edward Ford, National Chairman of NFYFC, said:
“I know how much it means to members to have an active farmer at the helm of the Federation during these uncertain times and I will do my best, along with the rest of the officer team, to ensure Young Farmers’ views are heard at the highest level.
“We’re not just an organisation for young people involved in farming – we offer support and a social life to all young people in the countryside and I am eager to promote how fantastic it is to be a member of this great organisation. Luckily I have an understanding family and team on the farm at home who understand I’ll have a few more commitments this year!”
Edward is also a trustee of the charity Forage Aid and played a key role in the setting up of the charity following his involvement in supplying forage to the Somerset Levels in February 2014.
The team will be responsible for leading the Federation’s Council, encouraging members of the Council to continue the development of the clubs that make up the NFYFC, to help them to meet the needs of YFC members and further enhance the image of YFC.
More than 100 members gathered in Coventry over the weekend to pass motions that affect the running of the organisation and to elect the new Council. Five steering groups represent the views of the members and include: Competitions; Events and Marketing; Personal Development, Agriculture and Rural Issues and the Youth Forum.
The National Council is made up of 63 members, associate members and co-options from across England and Wales and is elected by YFC members to represent their views.
Through steering groups, the National Council also decide and shape the programmes of work at NFYFC - planning events, competitions, campaigns and training for members.
Steering Group Chairs that were also elected during the weekend include:
Agriculture and Rural Issues Steering Group: Chairman: Harriet Wilson, Staffordshire FYFC Vice Chairman: James Hutchinson, Wiltshire FYFC
Competitions Steering Group: Chairman: Rachel Parker, Lancashire FYFC Vice Chairman: Fay Thomas, Herefordshire FYFC
Events and Marketing Steering Group: Katie Hall, Gloucestershire FYFC, Vice Chair: Ben Cavill, Cornwall FYFC
Personal Development Steering Group: Chairman: Laura Sumner, Lancashire FYFC, Vice Chairman: George Goodwin, Staffordshire FYFC
Youth Forum: Chairman: Thomas Oatey, Cornwall FYFC, Vice Chairman Rachel Black.