YOUNG farmers from across Yorkshire are supporting a public awareness week to celebrate the organisation’s 85th anniversary.
National Young Farmers’ Week, which runs until Friday (22nd), aims to give an insight into the lives of the 23,500 members nationally of the Young Farmers’ Club (YFC). The campaign has received some high-profile support from a wide cross-section of people, ranging from Radio 1 DJ Chris Stark to television presenters Adam Henson and Jimmy Doherty.
Yorkshire is one of the largest counties by number of young farmers in the country. It has more than 1,700; with 45 clubs spread over nine districts. There is a national network of 619 clubs, with members aged between ten and 26.
YFC has been given a huge boost this year with the appointment of a new president, Farming Today and Countryfile presenter Charlotte Smith. She made a special visit to this year’s Great Yorkshire Show to support the county’s members.
“I want the nation to know more about one of our countryside’s best kept secrets,” says Charlotte.
“YFC is more than farming – it’s one of the only rural youth services we have that helps develop young people’s skills and provides a much-needed social network in the countryside.
“I’m always going on about involving the next generation and how farming needs to widen its appeal so supporting the young farmers’ movement is important to me.”
Clubs across Yorkshire are just getting back into the swing of their weekly meetings after the traditional harvest break and many are organising special new member evenings.
Chairman of Yorkshire YFC John Craddock believes very strongly that as long as somebody has a “rural mindset” then their background is irrelevant.
“Young farmers is a true rural organisation and is no longer just for farmers,” said John, who farms at Kirklington, near Masham.
“Instead clubs have evolved and weekly meetings are very diverse. One week they can be doing something very traditional like cattle judging and the next they can be go-karting or public speaking.”
Fundraising is also a big part of the YFC movement, with the Yorkshire region’s members raising more than £45,000 for different charities last year. This year’s efforts included a mammoth cycle ride of 360 miles from county headquarters in Knaresborough to Torquay, raising more than £4,500 for the Anthony Nolan charity.
For further information about joining YFC visit www.yfyfc.org.uk or telephone the county office on 01423 865870.