YFC AGM: Northern federations rebel over subscription rise

The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs is facing a six-figure funding shortfall after a proposal to increase its funding from members was watered down in an AGM rebellion.

The national body is set to be short of £380,000 over the next two years after northern counties, led by Lancashire, lined up to voice their disapproval of a £5 increase per YFC member in the national levy, currently set at £16.38.

They succeeded in passing a more modest increase of £1.64 per member after winning support from representatives from Yorkshire and Northumberland at the AGM, held in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, as part of the NFYFC Annual Convention.

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Katy Dutton, speaking on behalf of Lancashire YFC, said that they could not sanction such a significant increase in funding for Stoneleigh without putting services in their home county under threat, as subscriptions had already been fixed for this year.

“If your mortgage payments increased by 30% in one year you might have something to say about it,” she said. “Why so much at once with no warning?”  

But incoming NFYFC council chairman Lynsey Martin, while praising young farmers for exercising their democratic rights, warned that the smaller increase could cause funding shortfalls in future.

She said: “The approved increase of £1.64, will still go some way to help NFYFC’s finances but is obviously not the amount needed to support the necessary changes.

“While there are challenges ahead for the Federation, NFYFC will work hard to ensure we can still provide services that support and develop rural young people across England and Wales.”

What is the NFYFC levy?

County federations are obliged to send a portion of the subscriptions they collect from members to the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, which uses it to fund administrative staff and events such as national competitions and the Annual Convention.

The rest of the subscription is retained by counties to fund local organisers and events, such as the annual Rally and other competitions.

County federations have also been under financial pressure in recent years after other sources of funding, such as county council children’s services budgets, have been slashed.