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Young Farmer Focus: Edward Dungait - 'YFC will kick-start post Covid-19'

Edward Dungait, 27, from Morpeth, Northumberland, is an arable farmer and owns 263 hectares (650 acres) of land under Farm Business Tenancy and the Agricultural Holdings Act in partnership with his parents. He is also the current National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs vice-chairman of council.

Education

 

My dad and uncle split the old farm business six years ago, when I came home from university.

 

I had originally planned to be a vet, then an engineer, but I knew farming was what I loved and so chose to study agriculture at Harper Adams University, much to the dismay of my UCAS referee and Physics teacher.

 

I cannot speak highly enough of Harper Adams, to me it is the greatest place on Earth.

 

My placement year in Wiltshire also taught me a great deal, including about staff management.

 

YFC

 

On finishing university, I became Tritlington Young Farmers’ Club (YFC) chairman and then secretary. I thoroughly enjoyed the roles and within a few years I ended up as Northumberland county chairman and now national vice-chairman.

 

It shows huge opportunities can be just around the corner, so be aware and embrace them.

 

The greatest joy I get from YFC is seeing a member achieve something they normally would not have. Making a public speech, judging a carcase or learning a dance routine – YFC brings out the best in people.


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Covid-19

 

As vice-chairman, I should have attended multiple rallies, shows, balls, and probably met my future wife.

 

Instead it has been flat out, Zoom calling every week.

 

YFC has been proactive and adapted to lockdown in a way I am very proud of. The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs has been organising isolation challenges each week and finals days.

 

Counties have held virtual rallies with fantastic uptake from members, proving that although we often seem stuck in our old ways, YFC is very adaptable.

 

I am confident YFC will kick-start post Covid-19 as strong as before, using Zoom to our advantage in the future.

 

Looking ahead

 

Post-Brexit I hope dearly that the Government will listen to scientific advice on farming issues, rather than focusing on who shouts the loudest. Government should remember that society is only ever four meals away from anarchy.

 

We also opened a wedding venue last year. It is yet to make any money, especially in the light of Covid-19, but we have some bookings so I am hopeful for the future – diversification ‘ain’t’ easy.

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