The financial future of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs (NFYFC) was up in the air this week after 60 per cent of Young Farmers voted to overturn a proposed 30 per cent levy increase.
Spearheaded by Lancashire and Yorkshire YFC at last weekend’s AGM, delegates were forced to cast a paper vote where the majority won a 10 per cent rise of only £1.64, instead of the £5 suggested by the NFYFC.
The proposed increase of membership levy is part of NFYFC’s strategy to become self-funding following cuts to funding from central Government and NFYFC’s commercial trading arm HOPS Labour Solutions.
But last Sunday’s decision, which saw 134 young farmers vote for the amendment and 87 against, left questions over future funding for the organisation.
Chairman Lynsey Martin said it faced losses of about £175,000 this year and a potential £250,000 next year, although no further details were given.
Former chairman Ed Ford backed NFYFC’s motion.
“None of us deny we get a hell of a lot for our money. But is £16.38 really sustainable? I along with the board of management know this is not,” he said.
"Gone are the days that HOPS writes cheques to NFYFC of around £320,000 every year.
"We are offering a busier schedule than we were five years ago on just half the budget. A £16.38 annual levy contributes to just 26 per cent of the running costs of the organisation. A further 17 per cent comes from the annual convention profits.
“The organisation needs a reality check; it needs to have a word with itself.
“The annual convention is a really good money maker but we do not know its lifespan or how long can we rely on it for.”