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Jess V Chris - who will be the next NFYFC chairman?

Five Young Farmers from across the country have put themselves forward as nominees for the positions of National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs national chairman and vice-chairman for 2016/17.
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It is the ultimate battle! Who will become @NFYFC chair as two opponents go head to head?! #YFC

For the first time since 2011, two vice chairs battle it out for the crown! Who will be the next chair? #YFC

This year will mark the first time since November 2011 that NFYFC Council members will get to vote for who they would like as their new chairs of council. Since 2011, nominees for these positions have all run unopposed.

 

Chris Manley, Culm Valley YFC, Devon, will be up against Jess Townson, Bolton-by-Bowland YFC, Lancashire, for the position of national chairman. Both candidates currently hold the two vice-chairman positions within NFYFC, with Chris having held the position for the last two years and Jessica for one year.

 

Caroline Baker of Stockton YFC, Co Durham, Ed Ford of Chelmsford YFC, Essex, and Lynsey Martin of Ashford and District YFC, Kent, will compete for the two vice-chairman positions.

 

James Eckley, NFYFC chief officer, says: “Following the last three elections, it is exciting to think this year, Young Farmers will have a choice when they elect their new chairs.”

 

Click here for Jess Townson

Click here for Chris Manley

 

Jessica Townson, 26, Bolton-by-Bowland YFC, Lancashire

Jessica Townson, 26, Bolton-by-Bowland YFC, Lancashire

When did you join YFC?

 

In 2004 at the age of 15.

 

What ideas will you develop if you are elected chairman?

 

I am a firm believer that, as a federation, we need to ensure we are moving in a direction members want.

 

If I am successful in February, I hope to improve communication throughout YFC. We have made brilliant advances in past years, but there is still room for improvement.

 

I also aim to increase involvement in YFC activities. As I am coming towards the end of membership age, I have been training younger members for competitions and giving advice to those in office if they require it.

 

I feel we can really drive more members to participate, certainly at a national level, and realise their potential to achieve.

 

If you do not get in as chairman, what will happen next?

 

I will continue to support my club, county, area and NFYFC as I do at the moment. Currently, being club leader and club safeguarding officer keeps me in touch with where it all started and enables me to support upcoming members.

 

Sitting on regional, county and NFYFC committees will allow me to remain involved. Over the past year, I have enjoyed judging and stewarding many YFC competitions and hope to continue to do this, as, for me, competitions is a very important part of what YFC is all about.

 

What have you been doing to raise your profile to members?

 

I am lucky to have such great support from my county and they have set up a Facebook event for my campaign.

 

It outlines my involvement in YFC over the years and demonstrates my skills for the role. I have also contacted council reps and county chairmen to engage with them to promote myself and raise awareness.

 

Why are you fast-tracking a year and standing for chairman, when normally vice-chairman sits for two years?

 

After carrying out the YFC roles I have to date, I am currently in a position where I feel I have the knowledge, experience and support to stand as chairman of council.

 

Being very active in and out of Young Farmers, standing for chairman this year will allow me to devote all the time needed to be successful in the role without compromise.

Chris Manley, 31, Culm Valley YFC, Devon

Chris Manley, 31, Culm Valley YFC, Devon

When did you join YFC?

 

In 2001 at the age of 16.

 

 

In what way has being a member of YFC helped you?

It has helped me achieve my full potential by giving me confidence to take on fresh challenges; communication skills to relate to different people on an individual and group basis; and a network of friends from all over the UK and the world.

 

 

How do you feel about Jess fast-tracking?

 

Healthy competition shows the strength of NFYFC and gives members a choice to decide on the future of their organisation.

 

What ideas will you develop if you are elected chairman?

 

If elected I plan to introduce a blood donation campaign with the strapline ‘Young Farmers: the life blood of the rural community’.

 

I will refresh the club exchange programme by encouraging clubs from across England and Wales to do exchanges for the benefit of having fun, sharing ideas and creating a wider network of friends.

 

I will also set up regional Young Farmers discussion groups which are focused on members wishing to have a future in farming and are willing to learn and share in progressive farming techniques, business skills and market awareness.

 

I would do this in conjunction with key farming and food industry partners.

 

If you do not get in as chairman, what will happen next?

 

I will strive to play an active role in British agriculture. I will continue to encourage YFC members to achieve and work as part of the NFYFC AGRI Steering Group team, to give young people a voice on key agriculture and rural issues.

 

What have you been doing in terms of your campaign and upping your profile?

 

The most important part of my campaign is trying to spend as much time as I can with members. It is important for them to feel close to the organisation, so I have been trying to get to as many area and county meetings as possible to meet members from other parts of England and Wales.

 

I have been lucky enough to build up a team of supporters who have created a campaign through social media, which plays on my likeness to the Milkybar Kid. The campaign highlights my profile within Young Farmers, as well as focusing on something fun and enjoyable for members to take part in.

 

The #milkybarchallenge is giving a lot of smiles throughout England and Wales.

 

Who will be running for the vice-chairman positions?

Ed Ford

Ed Ford, 25, Chelmsford YFC, Essex

Caroline Baker

Caroline Baker, 25, Stockton YFC, Co Durham

Lynsey Martin

Lynsey Martin, 27, Ashford and District YFC, Kent

Democratic voting

Democratic voting

With more than 25,000 members, the NFYFC operates a democratic structure.

 

The national council is made up of 63 members, associate members and co-options from across England and Wales, who are elected by members to represent their views.

 

NFYFC council members will vote for their new chairmen on Sunday, February 21, and the result will be announced on the @NFYFC Twitter page from about 10.30am.

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