You would not believe the banter that I received for name-dropping in my last column, so I think I’ll avoid doing that again. I’m not sure I can face the embarrassment of more people singing to me.
As we had broken up for the Easter break there was plenty of time to focus on Young Farmers in April. I filled my holiday with tug of war practices, float building, rally preparations and naked calendar shoots as we proceeded into an early summer.
The unusually warm weather also helpfully coincided with a 22-mile bike ride through Staffordshire with the County Under-18s Committee (UEC). The event was organised by my sister Sammie who is currently the chairman of the UEC committee, and around 50 members participated in total. So far we have raised around £2,300 for the YFC Federation and the Rural Support Network which is brilliant. My bum, however, wasn’t feeling so brilliant the week after.
After all, it was time for Eccleshall YFC to take on the rest of the county in stockjudging and, for the third year running, we were victorious in gaining both titles – Dairy Stockjudging and Overall Stockman of the Year. All the Eccleshall competitors did brilliantly and came away with prize cards for different sections and I was particularly pleased to win the intermediate section myself.
As a welcome break from the continuous rolling I was doing at home, I attended the wedding of Mr and Mrs Cox – two close friends from Young Farmers. It was such a beautiful day and even though one of their phones went off halfway through, the boys managed to give a hilarious best man’s speech.
It was then up to Yorkshire for a friend’s 21st along with fellow stockjudger and YFC member Matt Wright, but not before he had sheared our sheep. It felt strange to be shearing in April, but it was certainly hot enough. I even had a go myself, but I don’t think anyone will be asking me to shear their sheep anytime soon, or wrap wool for that matter.
Matt and I have travelled to loads of places for stock judging including Canada, Ireland and Wales, and we were pleased to find out that Scotland will be added to our list this year as the National Limousin Young Breeders Competition will be held at the Royal Highland.
I returned to Harper for three days at the start of May where I was extremely pleased to hear that I had been selected as one of the four finalists for the YARA wheat project. Farmers Weekly’s editor Jane King also visited us as part of the Harper Forum and talked about the media’s influence on farming and why young people should embrace the media. I was particularly interested to find out that 96% of people under 30 now use networking sites, and 80% of companies recruit through these.
But the main event we were all waiting for was the NFYFC AGM in Blackpool, and finally the time had come. It was not only a great opportunity to catch up with friends, but I also met so many new people from all over the country. Thank you to everyone who came over to me to say that they read my column.
I do hope the new NFYFC president, Matt Baker, realises how much he has to live up to, but the early signs are good. He certainly caused a stir amongst the Staffordshire girls, although that might have had something to do with his impressive dancing skills.
And now I’m back at Harper, completing the final term of my first year with the prospect of exams to look forward to in the weeks ahead. But revision is going to have to be put on hold as we have a paint party and the Agric & Business Course dinner to enjoy, not to mention our Staffordshire YFC County Rally.