Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Young Farmer’s Club - 80th Anniversary

80 Years of Young Farmers’ Club - the foundation stone for rural youth

The Young Farmers’ Club (YFU) has just celebrated its 80th Birthday in Northern Ireland.

In 1930 the first club opened officially in Limavady, after Belfast journalist Mr W. S Armour, editor of The Northern Whig first proposed the idea in 1929 after seeing similar clubs on his travels abroad.

Mr Armour saw clubs in Denmark, Canada, Australia and England and said he saw it as a way “to fill the blank in the Ulster countryman’s life, and as a hope for the creation of a rural community spirit.”

Mr Alex Blair, former Vice President of The Young Farmers’ Club of Ulster (YFCU) thirty years ago said: “The story of the YFCU is the story of a revolution. The conversion of a country youth from the backward straw-in-the-mouth image into self assured young people, articulate and knowledgable, well equipped to face the world of the twentieth century.”

In the early days the Young Farmers’ Club had the backing of many leading figures in agriculture, including the Ulster Agricultural Organisation Society and the Ulster Farmer’s Union.

They also took steps to start junior clubs in their own organisations, but later YFC became more organised as a central committee was set up.

It was the first staff member, Mr Richard Kimber who formed the first club in 1930 at Limavady. Over the next 80 years the Young Farmers’ Club produced a firm foundation for young people in the rural community.

Many people were married through meeting in the clubs, which networked across the Province through competitions, meetings, dances, picnics and stock judging events.

Today, although the title of Young Farmers’ may be something of a misnomer, the main aim of the association is to fulfil its motto of producing ‘Better farmers, better countrymen and better citizens.”

Young Farmers’s Clubs welcome new faces to show

Today YFCU members enjoy a wide range of social, educational and travel opportunities and as always have a stand at Balmoral, well staffed and ready to recruit new faces.

The YFC promotes self reliance and individual responsibility as two core values. Annually the President picks a theme. This year’s is ‘Give a little, Get a lot’ and each member takes part in this by participating in YFCU activities and events, and helping out in their local communities.

YFCU Headquarters plans many events and activities throughout the year, including Balmoral, where there is a tug of war, machinery handling, sheep shearing and Floral Art to name but a few.

There are exchange trips to Europe and America, girls’ football, group debating, Member of the Year, swimming galas, tag rugby and Ulster Young Farmer of the Year competition.

Clubs meet twice monthly and have their own programme of events including guest speakers, activity days, fundraising nights and more.

All club members are from12- 25 years of age. It is a strictly non political Association, non sectarian and is open to anyone, no matter of his or her ethnic background, religion or profession. The only qualification for membership is an interest in rural life.

To find out more on joining, visit the YFCU stand in the Nugent Hall at Balmoral. Or contact YFCU HQ on 02890 370713 or www.yfcu.org for details of your nearest club and how to become a member.

Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster plan action packed show

An action packed two days is in store for The Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, who once again have their official stand in the Nugent Hall.

Wednesday morning begins with the final of the Association’s popular Floral Art Competition in the Garden Village from 11am. The entries will then be displayed for visitors to enjoy for the remainder of the show.

At 11am in the sale ring, the annual YFCU Sheep Shearing Competition, sponsored by Lister Shearing gets underway, attracting huge interest from near and far.

The Machinery Handling Competition starts at 6pm on the Cattle Lawn on Wednesday while the Girls’ Five-a-Side Football kicks off at the same venue an hour later.

Six county teams will attempt to ‘beat the clock’ over a challenging course designed by the Health and Safety Executive NI.

The energetic young farmers are ready on Thursday for their Cook Off at the Tesco Stand from 12pm. Members of the YFCU will be put to the test in the kitchen demonstrating their culinary skills.

The Tug-of-War at 6pm on the Cattle Lawn on Thursday is the pinnacle of the YFCU Balmoral Show calendar.

Check out their stand in the Nugent Hall, at one of the main entrances adjoining the King’s Hall. It will be staffed by members who will be willing to answer any questions regarding the Association.

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