Knaresborough Tractor Run 2020

Tractors  on the road aren’t traditionally the most popular of vehicles but residents of North Yorkshire turned out in force to cheer on a fabulous fund-raising effort.

A record 360 tractors turned out to support the Knaresborough Young Farmers’ Club annual run, adding at least £10,000 to the £40,000 the event has already raised for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Yesterday’s turnout is thought to have secured the event – organised in memory of former member Mike Spink – as the biggest tractor run in the whole country.

There was a new starting point, from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s (YAS) headquarters in Harrogate, as it had outgrown its old gathering point; but the route took in all its traditional Nidderdale drive-throughs including Knaresborough and Pateley Bridge.

“There are no pre-entries so you never know until the day how many are going to turn up,” said one of the event organisers Steven Brown.

“We got to last year’s total of just over 300 and then they just kept coming; it’s a happy but very emotional day for all of us who new Mike. He would absolutely capped to think of all these tractors turning out to remember him and raise money for such a good cause.”

The new starting point of the YAS headquarters also proved popular because it is the new home for the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFYFC).

“Of course, I must thank all the marshals and helpers,” said Steven. “But what really makes the day is the spectators. It makes all the hard work organising worthwhile when you see so many people cheering and waving as you go by on the tractors.”

Sunday’s event was the fourth annual tractor run the club has organised since 24 year-old Mike died in a road accident whilst working on a farm in New Zealand in 2017. His friends from YFC wanted to do something to honour him and a tractor run seemed the most fitting tribute.

“It’s breathtaking to think how this event has grown in such a short space of time,” said Steven. “It started out with just a dozen of us going for a run out on our tractors to remember Mike. To see the 360 turn out this year is very humbling.”

It is hoped there might be another legacy in Mike’s name … Knaresborough YFC is in need of new members to turn up to its weekly meetings.

Another one of the event organisers, James Parker, explained: “It’s just happened that a lot of us have become over the official age for young farmers at the same time.

“There used to be about 35 members turning up for meetings every week and now the club’s down to only about ten. It would be absolutely wonderful if some of the youngsters who come out to see the tractor run started to come along to young farmers. We meet every Wednesday night, either at Knaresborough Football Club or are out visiting a farm or doing some activity or other. Everybody is very welcome; you don’t have to live on a farm to join young farmers.”

For further information about the tractor run or joining Knaresborough YFC visit or telephone Knaresborough YFC on 07920 884575.

Knaresborough tractor run 2020 GYS car park - permission Barker Farming

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update 03.03.2020

Please see the guidance note issued to all clubs and districts of YFYFC on 03.03.2020 by NFYFC in relation to the global outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

YFYFC requests you follow this advice:

Club and District Meetings:

Ask everyone on arrival to wash their hands and again before they leave – ensure soap and hand towels are available.


✓ cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you
cough or sneeze
✓ put used tissues in the bin immediately
✓ wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and
water are not available
✓ try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell


x do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.

For an in-depth response to the Coronavirus, please read the advice issued by NFYFC on 03.02.2020.

032a-20-A Coronavirus Advice 03 March 2020


Workshop drives home the farm safety message

It goes without saying that safety awareness needs to be part of every farmer’s daily routine. With this in mind, members from Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (YFYFC) were invited to a special Massey Ferguson Machinery Maintenance and Safety Workshop at distributor Peacock & Binnington’s Selby branch on 18 February.

These evening workshops feature both theory and practice. Topics covered include why farm safety matters, the importance of an annual tractor safety check and guidance on how to carry out daily checks on machinery.

Leading the group from Yorkshire was Lewis Marshall, YFYFC Development & Marketing Vice Chairman and Chairman of Went Valley District. “The training event was well attended by young farmer members who enjoyed analysing the faults on a young farmer’s tractor which was in for service. That caused some amusement!” he says. “We learnt lots of hints and tips to keep our machines on the road including legalities and regulations. It is great to see large companies giving a bit back to the farming community. Many thanks to Massey Ferguson for supporting Yorkshire Young Farmers.”

Host for the evening was Marcus Bourne, Director & Branch Sales Manager, Peacock & Binnington. Technical Support Specialists Richard Cox and Michael Butland from Massey Ferguson led the workshop. The event was supported by AGCO Parts and the Farm Safety Foundation. Those who came along to the evening also got the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a £100 voucher to spend on Massey Ferguson branded merchandise.

“The correct use and maintenance of machines is a key part of the farm safety message,” said Richard Cox. “We had a very successful workshop at Selby with a great group of young farmers who were really engaged in the importance of the topic.”

Editorial by Sally-Ann Dennis from Massey Ferguson AGCO PartsMassey Ferguson 7

Can you take the reins?

Perhaps it was because farmers felt at home in the rural atmosphere of a livestock market, but a debate about the often difficult subject of succession planning was hailed a success.

Every year the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFYFC) – which has a strong tradition of public speaking – hosts a forum. This year’s was titled Can you take the reins? and was held in the main ring at Skipton Livestock Market.

The panellists lined up under the auctioneer’s rostrum and the audience was seated around the auction ring. Among them was the recently-elected MP for Keighley Robbie Moore, who is from a farming family and is a qualified rural chartered surveyor, so has helped many clients tackle the often complicated maze of farm succession.

He spoke about the “four D’s” – death, divorce, debt and dispute – which were traditional triggers for looking at a farm’s future.

“It’s so much easier to tackle this subject in your own family’s time around the kitchen table rather than as a knee-jerk reaction to one of the four D’s when emotions will already be running high,” said Mr Moore, who in 2007 set up a plastic recycling business that has now grown to consist of a national network of franchises collecting and recycling farm plastic waste.

Others who had come along to support the debate included Dorothy Fairburn, northern director of the Country Landowners’ Association.

The event, which was sponsored by CCM Auctions and Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors, was hosted by Georgina Fort, a dairy farmer and chairman of YFYFC.

Panellists were specialist agricultural solicitors Clair Douglas and Lucy Steven, of Crombie Wilkinson, farmer’s son and chairman of Boroughbridge YFC George Gill, former YFYFC chairman and chartered accountant Helen Herd, chartered surveyor John Akrigg, David Moyles of The Samaritans and dairy farmer Ian Collins.

Ian, who supplies milk from his cows to the famous Longley Farm dairy, spoke about being in his early 20s with a three month-old baby when his father passed away suddenly back in 2004.

“With a bit of planning life would have been such a lot easier,” he recalled, talking about practical problems such as the freezing of the farm’s bank account.

“I couldn’t even pay money in – never mind take any out,” he said.

Other areas covered included death and tenancies, mental health challenges of taking on the responsibility of a farm and the fair treatment of all siblings.Forum snip 2020 image of panellists

Pastures New – YFYFC Office Relocation

YFYFC Move to Pastures New
Left to Right: Nigel Pulling (Chief Executive, Yorkshire Agricultural Society), Georgina Fort (YFYFC Chairman), Darren Coates (YFYFC Trustee)

AFTER more than 40 years in the same office, the team that supports Yorkshire’s Young Farmers’ clubs has moved to pastures new.

In a historic move, which marks a new era for the organisation, the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFYFC) packed its belongings into a cattle trailer at the weekend (Feb 8th) and moved from its old headquarters in Knaresborough.

Just a few miles down the road, the new location in the Regional Agricultural Centre at Harrogate will be well-known to many of the federation’s 1,400 members …

Continue reading

County Sports & Public Speaking 2020

One of the most eagerly anticipated competitions in the diary of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFYFC) took place at the weekend.  ((Sun, Jan 19th))

This year’s County Public Speaking & Sports Day was held at Harrogate High School, with many youngsters leaving home in the morning before it was light and travelling back in the dark after a very long day of competition.

In the sport, Harrogate district swept the board – taking the wins in all three categories of ladies’ netball, junior kwik cricket and men’s five-a-side football.

Members from Craven district were very strong in the public speaking, taking the Yorkshire Post Trophy for the highest overall marks in the competition.

Teams from the South West district took first and runners-up honours in the junior reading competition. Harrogate district took top place on the overall junior public speaking scoresheet.

For the intermediate age group, Harrogate district won the ‘call my bluff’ competition. The senior debate was won by a team from Craven district.

Jacob Ryder, from Harrogate district, won the junior member of the year competition, with the senior title going to Rachel Goldie, from Cledales district.

Just a handful of points separated sisters Lizzie and Anna Elgie, both of Boroughbridge Young Farmers’ Club, in the situations vacant competition. But in the end, after level-pegging for most of the challenges, Lizzie managed to take the win.

Alistair Wilkinson, from Ryedale district, won the ten minute speech with a humorous talk on how much money his initial £30 YFC membership had led to him spending, what with nights out, skiing trips, a girlfriend from a neighbouring club and … a baby!

County Sports was kindly sponsored by Hollings, Crowe Storr LLP and all the Public Speaking Competitions were kindly sponsored by Harrowells Solicitors.

Winners of many of the competitions, will go forward to the Northern Area Weekend, hosted by Lancashire Federation YFC, on the weekend of 29th February and 1st March 2020. From here, those who are victorious will go on to the prestigious national finals.Public Speaking 2020 10Rachel Goldie, of Cledales district, receiving the Senior Member of the Year trophy from County President Dave Scruton

Stockjudging Supremos

YOUNG farmers from Yorkshire were crowned overall winners at one of the most prestigious livestock events in the country.
The English Winter Fair, held at Staffordshire County Showground on the weekend of November 16th and 17th, is one of the most highly-regarded livestock events in the farming calendar. It is the country’s largest national winter primestock show.
This event sees young farmers from the length and breadth of the country putting their live and carcase stockjudging skills to the test, with different counties competing for the fiercely-contested prizes. When all the results were added up Yorkshire A scooped top spot, with Yorkshire D team taking third place honours.
Yorkshire A team members were Charlie and Jacob Ryder of Farnley Estate Young Farmers’ Club (YFC), Jack Henshaw, of Catterick and Silsden with Skipton YFC member Christine Lofthouse Pratt. The Yorkshire D team was made up of Ben Robinson, of Tadcaster and Wetherby, Matthew Maw, of Catterick, Emma Cockerill, of Kirkbymoorside and Catterick’s Rachel Henshaw.
Catterick’s Jack Henshaw took first place in the senior beef live and carcase competition, with Emma Cockerill, of Kirkbymoorside and Rachel Henshaw, of Catterick taking the overall team win for the lamb live and carcase competition. Emma Cockerill was individual winner.YFCWinterFair19

Went Valley District Flood Community Clear-up

Young Farmers cancelled their annual winter rally yesterday (Sunday) to help flood victims.

Doncaster flood 2019 website pic

For the first time in its history, the Went Valley district Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) winter rally didn’t go ahead. Instead, members donned waterproofs and shifted over 60 tonnes of rubbish to help the flood-stricken residents of Fishlake.

Lewis Marshall, Chairman of the Went Valley District of young farmers, which is made up of clubs in Doncaster, Pontefract and Selby, said the suffering of local residents had made it impossible to continue with the day of competitions and fun.

“What we’ve got is plenty of vehicles and trailers and strong young people,” explained Lewis, whose mum cooked breakfast for the helpers in Sykehouse Village Hall – which had already been booked for the cancelled rally.

“We aren’t the biggest of clubs but there were about 35 of us and we split into groups, going around collecting rubbish to fill multiple 14-ton skips and 15-ton bin lorries.

“We’d all seen the pictures on the news but until you are actually there in real-life you have no idea of the devastation. There were fridges in fields, cars in ditches. It was very humbling to feel we’d made a difference. Facebook has been full of residents thanking us and the council has gone from being wary of us arriving to so grateful for all that we got done and the money we will have saved them.”

The young farmers’ efforts were featured on local ITV television news programme Calendar. Several businesses made donations of cleaning equipment, food and drinks, including workwear company Arco which gave full protective equipment kits of body suits, goggles and gloves.

Lewis added that a few of his young farmer members have been affected by the flooding. His family farm is about four miles away from Fishlake.

“As farmers, we notice the Environment Agency failing to perform basic watercourse maintenance. Or if work is done, it follows European directives which have shifted away from dredging towards being more bothered about ecological status.

“Even some of our youngest members could talk knowledgeably about the importance of keeping ditches clear and dredging rivers. It’s infuriating that nobody listens to all the years’ of experience farmers have.”

Georgina Fort, chairman of Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, added her praise.

“We were all devastated to see on the news the damage the rainfall has done to South Yorkshire,” she said. “Farming has been hit hard by the weather once again.

“In true farming spirit the area is pulling together and it is tremendous to see that YFC members put others first and cancelled plans for their winter rally and got together to help those that needed help.”

Young farmers won national praise earlier in the year when they helped with the clear-up after the floods in the Yorkshire Dales.

A huge thank you to the following companies that supported the clear up:

– ARCO UK (protective and safety equipment)

– Blacker Hall Farm Shop (pork pies and sausage rolls for volunteers)

– Marr Grange Farm Shop (food supplies and catering support)

– ASDA (endless supply of bottled spring water)

– British Red Cross (heavy duty hi-vis bomber jackets and coats)


Editorial by Sarah Todd

Yorkshire Post Rural Awards – Reeth YFC

Reeth award photo 2019

A prestigious awards ceremony has recognised the community-spirited efforts of one of our Yorkshire young farmers’ club.

Over 200 guests attended the Yorkshire Post’s 2019 Rural Awards, sponsored by Bishop Burton College, which were held at the Pavilions of Harrogate.

The BBC presenter Harry Gration presented the awards, which were attended by special guest Johanna Ropner, Lord Lieutenant for North Yorkshire.

Reeth Young Farmers’ Club picked up the Special Achievement Award for its efforts in coordinating a clean-up operation following the July floods which brought devastation to the Dales.

The club rallied more than 100 young farmers from clubs across Yorkshire and County Durham, who turned out to help re-build stone walls, collect debris and escaped livestock, as well as make repairs to buildings and fencing.

Members, parents and friends of the club made sure the volunteers were fed, watered and had all the equipment they needed.

Georgia Hird, secretary of Reeth Young Farmers’ Club – who collected the award with chairman Jack Stones – said: “The club was really surprised to be given such a wonderful award, it meant a lot to all of us.

“We are really grateful for the recognition of our work over the floods and we certainly couldn’t have done it without the help of neighbouring club, Wensleydale Young Farmers.”

Chairman of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, Georgina Fort, added: “Reeth Young Farmers’ Club are a credit to young farmers, to the farming industry and to the community.”