Tensions were high as rivals Yorkshire and Lancashire YFC teamed up for victory in their proposal for only a 10 per cent levy increase.
The controversial win came following weeks of heightened social media hype with plugs to get Young Farmers to back the amendment, which split the room during the morning meeting so much so the decision was passed to a paper vote.
It surpassed an initial motion by NFYFC Council to increase the levy by 30 per cent – a £5 rise per YFC member – and instead limited the subscription to a 10 per cent rise of only £1.64, taking the subscription cost for 2018-19 to a little more than £18.
Outgoing chairman Ed Ford seconded the motion where he championed the organisation for pulling together during situations such as the Torquay 2017 AGM hotel fire and last year’s Royal Welsh Show where a Wales YFC member sadly went missing.
“None of us deny we get a hell of a lot for our money,” he said. “The organisation needs a reality check; it needs to have a word with itself.
“We are offering a busier scheme than we were five years ago on just half the budget. The annual convention is a really good money maker but A) we do not know its lifespan and B) how long can we rely on it for?”
Lynsey Martin, who picked up the NFYFC chairman role in February, added the organisation was up against losses of about £175,000 for 2018 and a potential £250,000 for 2019.
“This levy is absolutely needed,” she added, although no details were passed about the deficit.
Katy Dutton of Lancashire YFC who proposed the 10 per cent amendment, said ‘such a desperate need’ for finance should have been forecast in advance.
She said in 2015 when NFYFC was dealt one of the biggest financial blows through the removal of HOPS, the levy increased by only three per cent. “I was taught that charity begins at home,” she said.
Yorkshire YFC chairman Ed Bentley, who spoke to back the motion, added: “30 per cent is a little steep in one year. Reviewing the levy on a year-by-year basis is not sustainable for this organisation to go forward.
“Since 2014 when our levy was around £11, this 30 per cent rise would take it to an eye-watering 93 per cent rise over the last five years. I know my wage package has not increased that much.”