Modernising the organisation and making it appeal to a wider audience are key priorities of new NFYFC chief executive James Eckley.
“Everything is changing – and we’ve got to change, too,” said James, who took up the post in early April.
“YFC will never forget its traditions, but we need to recognise our place in a modern society.”
One of the big changes is responding to the higher proportion of members at the younger end of the 10 to 26 age range, with 50% of the 20,000-plus members under 16.
He also wants to spread awareness of the movement. “It’s recognised and highly respected in the agricultural sector – but it would be nice if we were more widely known about.”
Membership brings many benefits, stressed James. “It gives young people opportunities that they’d otherwise never get. It helps them develop as young people into active citizens and gives them a chance to get involved with their communities.
“It’s also an opportunity to have a lot of fun and form some lifelong friendships.”
Farmer’s son James, who’s spend most of the last 15 years working for the NFYFC and was once Oxfordshire county chairman, plans to take a “hands-on” approach to the job. “I will be member-facing and work with the members.”