Farmer and professional rugby league player Eddie Battye has told of his sadness at the controversial cancelling of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs’ annual convention.
Eddie, who looks back fondly on his time as a Young Farmer in Yorkshire, said he could see why scores of young people were so frustrated at the move.
The decision looked set to dominate the NFYFC council meeting this weekend.
Yorkshire YFC has been at the forefront of calls for a motion of no confidence in the national board of management for the way it handled the AGM cancellation; with members finding out second-hand from social media.
The motion will be made at the meeting in Warwickshire on Sunday (October 21).
Eddie, a prop with the London Broncos, the team that hit the headlines earlier this month when they won the final Super League spot for next season by beating favourites Toronto Wolfpack in the Million Pound Game, said: "I have been to a fair few in my time and it is so good for young people - who often lead quite isolated lives working in the countryside - to get together and meet other members from all over the country.
"Young farmers have had a bad press recently and I really hope they get it all sorted soon. They do a lot of good work for charity and need to be back concentrating on all the positives.”
When Eddie is at home he helps out on his family’s buffalo farm at Oxspring, near Barnsley.
“I was at a farmers’ market the other day selling the buffalo meat,” added the 27 year-old, previously a member of Cawthorne Young Farmers’ Club
“I put my hand up for everything - panto, entertainments, rallies, tug of war - and strongly recommend others do the same. I learnt all sorts of skills like team building and made friends for life. Although I came from a farming background it does not matter if you do not.”
Eddie moved to London three years ago with the dream of the Broncos getting into the superleague.
His parents, Steven and Cath Battye, quit dairy farming after becoming disillusioned by plummeting milk prices and soaring feed costs.
Back in 2009 they bought 15 domestic Asian water buffalo from a farmer in Wales, after reading an article about how easy they were to keep and the high quality of the meat.
Snowden Hill Water Buffalo was born, and the couple have not looked back.
They now have more than 100 of the animals at Tenter House Farm, just outside Oxspring.