A Yorkshire young farmer has been elected as the new chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) 25 years after her father held the postition.
Rachel Goldie has been a member of Great Smeaton Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) for 15 years and was elected as NFYFC’s chairman at its first-ever online council elections on Thursday (18 February).
She follows in the footsteps of her farming father, Alan, who held the post in 1996. It’s the first time in the Federation’s 90-year history that two generations of the same family have been elected as national chairman.
“I am really proud to be elected and to bring the title back into the Goldie family after 25 years,” says Rachel.
“I hope I do as good a job as my dad and I’ll certainly be tested as I’m taking on this role amid a pandemic.”
It’s fair to say her dad’s time in office was not as challenging as the one she now faces. Coronavirus restrictions mean that clubs cannot meet, and are unlikely to be able to do so for some time yet.
The organisation has adapted to life online and recently won funding to help improve its website and digital offerings.
However, the national office and county federations are suffering from significant financial shortfalls following a year of cancelled events, limited fundraising opportunities and a decline in membership.
“The past 11 months have not been easy for YFC members, with clubs forced to close during lockdowns and having to follow restrictions when we could meet up.
“The levels of isolation rural young people are facing at the moment is immense, and during my year as chairman I’m keen to encourage YFCs to continue to reach out in their communities and support others,” says the 27-year-old, who has been NFYFC’s vice-chairman for the past two years.
Two YFC members have been elected as vice-chairmen and will support Rachel in her year in office. Ed Dungait from Northumberland YFC was elected for a second year, while Rosie Bennett from Devon YFC was elected for the first time.
More than 100 members gathered via Zoom video call to pass resolutions that affect the running of the organisation and elect the new officers of NFYFC’s council.
The National Council is made up of 63 members, associate members and co-options from across England and Wales and is elected by YFC members to represent their views.