Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFCs) across the UK have committed to do more to support British farmers following a vote at the annual AGM in Warwickshire.
The 580 YFCs across England and Wales voted in favour of a motion to actively source and promote British local produce for their events and activities.
The vote was made at the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ (NFYFC) 90th AGM in Warwickshire on 24 April 2022.
Young farmers also pledged to share more positive farming messages in all YFC and community activities.
The motion, which was proposed by Aled Thomas from Pembrokeshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, aims to ensure that YFCs support their local farmers, as well as cutting food miles and protecting the environment.
In the proposal of the motion during the AGM, Aled told those attending about the importance of food security – especially following Brexit and the impact of the war in Ukraine.
“We need to spread the positive message about supporting local, further and wider and be more united across the membership to drive the food and farming industry forward,” he said.
“Agriculture is at a turning point and the time to ensure the industry is thriving for generations to come, is now. It won’t be an easy task but anything truly worth fighting for is never simple.”
The motion prompted comments from the floor, with some members raising concerns about the costs of sourcing local food.
Counter arguments shared ways to make it more affordable by choosing cheaper cuts of quality local meat and selecting in-season vegetables.
The motion is not intended to force clubs to use only local British produce, but it is hoped that YFCs will actively consider where they are sourcing their food from for events and activities.
Speaking at the debate, Ed Clarke, vice chair of Lancashire Federation of YFC, said that the motion was a step in the right direction but that more action was needed to support the industry by getting involved with school projects.
“We are at the forefront of agriculture for young people. We care passionately about what we do," he said.
"We can tell each other about how good farmers are but we know it already, why don’t we go tell the kids? We need to start publicising ourselves better.”
Robbie Tuer, county chair of Cumbria FYFC, won the Sidney Fawcett Trophy for making the greatest contribution in support of the motion.
“If we can source locally where we can and help farmers because it’s going to be a tough time over the next five to six years while things settle down from what’s happening elsewhere in the world.
"It’s imperative that we do support British agriculture and educate [others] by promoting local produce where we can," he said.
The motion was passed with 98.3% in favour and the result will be supported by a campaign during National Young Farmers’ Week in October.