12 May 1995

RESOUNDING NO TO

RAISING AGE LIMIT

Fun was the principal pursuit of the 4000 young farmers who went to Blackpool for the 1995 convention of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs. Tenpin bowling, karaoke and late night dances were on the programme. But some serious matters received attention, too. Ann Rogers reports

HOW young is a young farmer? As young as 10 and no older than 26. Thats official.

A move to raise the upper age limit to 30 was defeated by a majority of delegates at the NFYFCs annual general meeting held in Blackpools Winter Gardens.

The motion to raise the age limit came from Devon federation. Proposer James Morrish spoke of the boost that this would give to membership and the encouragement it would give to young people to join YFC after their college training. He said that it would also put the movement on an equal footing with other European organisations of this kind.

Devon county federation chairman Andrew Mather suggested that raising the age limit would fill the gap between YFC and NFU, but the majority of those who spoke on this issue opposed the motion.

Associate members, they said, those over the age of 26, could still get fulfilment from the movement by helping and encouraging the younger ones and taking part in activities without being competitive.

It was also claimed that raising the age group would put at risk the part of YFC funding which comes from the Department of Education.

YFC finances need all the support they can get and vice-chairman of council Alan Goldie proposed a 5% increase in the levy from clubs, with effect from Jan 1, 1996. He said that subscriptions only covered the competitions programme, the international programme, the newspaper Ten – 26 and about 15% of the running costs of central office and running the democracy. The remaining 85% of central office and running the democracy, marketing, training and development, and agricultural and rural affairs had to be funded from other sources.

This motion was accepted on a majority vote, while the motion from Carmarthen federation was accepted unanimously.

Proposed by Enid Williams and seconded by Teifion Williams, it called upon the house to demand "that the European Commission ensures that other EU countries implement fair and reasonable welfare codes of practice, as a matter of urgency, thereby showing care and consideration for the welfare of animals and confirming that a level playing field does indeed exist".

Members of the international steering committee mime to their chairmans report of cultural tours to Cuba, Nepal, China, Egypt, Russia and Europe.

Retiring chairman (above left) Glenn Jones: With 60% of members from non-farming backgrounds, YFC has an important role to play in shaping public attitudes. Chairman (above right) Sarah Rogers:Dont let us go down the social club avenue, but do more for the junior members, they are our future.

James Morrish (above left): Called for age limit to be raised. Jo Lewis (above right):Said people over 26 had had their day, and won a cup for her speech.

Alan Goldie (above left):Proposed levy increase. Enid Williams (right):Confirm level playing field.