Strategy to encourage new farming leaders in Norfolk

An industry-wide initiative to encourage the county's future agricultural leaders was announced at the 70th annual meeting of Norfolk Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs.

Greg Smith, chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, said a programme to 'grow agricultural leaders in Norfolk' would start next year.

As a 'cheerleader' and 'catalyst for rural engagement,' the RNAA would launch an initiative with partners next year. 'It is bringing together some of the things that are already going on but actually putting them into an envelope which will help to accelerate that process. There is a huge gap in the people coming into farming as many of you know.'

He was looking forward to next year's big anniversaries – the 60th anniversary since the Queen Mother, as president, attended the first show at the new Costessey showground. On May 17, the Norfolk Federation YFCs would be celebrate its 70th anniversary with a ball at the showground.

Mr Smith, said: 'The RNAA has a real role to play. In the 21st century we are all about safeguarding Norfolk's rural heritage and landscape through education. We do want to be an authoritative voice for issues facing food, farming, rural life here in the county of Norfolk.'

The county chairman, Chris Steward, and vice-chairman, Ant Boesen, had delivered a first class presentation to the RNAA's trustees to make the case for continued support for the county federation.

Retiring chairman, Paul Hartley, said that clubs had raised £36,000 for charities and good causes including £10,000 by Downham Market YFC.

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He had travelled 3,896 miles on YFC business, visiting all 12 senior clubs. 'Norfolk Young Farmers is thriving; a vibrant and healthy membership sets us the 11th largest county in the country.' Membership at August 31 in the 26 senior clubs and Countrysiders was 671. He presented the chairman's cup to Harleston YFC.

Retiring president, Christopher Self, had kick-started the Norfolk YFC Skills Initiative Fund with a £1,000 donation. A broad target of at least £70,000 has been set to help fund agricultural training. An impromptu collection raised £340 for the fund.

Members elected Christine Hill, of Shipdham, as president for a two-year term with farmer Louis Baugh, of Neatishead, vice-president.

The county levy was set at £41 for seniors and intermediates, juniors £23. Last year, levies raised £20,565 – an increase on the year of £1,374.


Club growth - Diss YFC with 151pc increase; runner-up Wymondham Countrysiders 137pc; third, Loddon Countrysiders 125pc.

Daniels Charity – 1 Downham Market YFC £10,000; 2 Wymondham YFC £4,076.02; 3 Reepham YFC £2,600.

Paterson Club of the Year – 1 North Elmham YFC; 2 Wymondham YFC and North Walsham YFC.

Stockjudging – 1 Helen Reeve, Harleston; 2 George Collison, Terrington YFC; 3 Alison Saunders, North Walsham Countrysiders.