This month we are delighted to welcome guest blogger Edward Ford, newly appointed Chair of Council NFYFC.
Ed, who is a member of Chelmsford YFC, part of the Essex County Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, has pledged to revisit farm safety and work with the Five Nations alongside Yellow Wellies to spread the reach of the campaign. Farm safety is an issue close to Ed’s heart and is one of the areas that he will be focusing on in his plans for 2017/2018. We are delighted to have his support and look forward to working together over the year.
We live amongst a lovely community in beautiful areas of the countryside and we all love what we do whether it be within work or young farmers. However these great communities are shaken far too often within the agricultural world. Every single one of us has been affected by a farm accident in one way or another.
In the year 2015-2016, 29 people died on UK farms and, over the last 5 years, 160 lives have been lost. Farming accounts for just 1% of the UK’s workforce however it account for 15 -20% of UK workplace fatalities.
This is simply not good enough and unacceptable in this day and age.
The Youth Forum do an amazing job working closely with the Farm Safety Foundation whose Yellow Wellies campaign does an amazing job training young farmers and raising awareness of farm safety but can only do so much. I plan to work closely with them and the five nations to spread the word on a far larger scale. I would like to challenge you all to help the PD steering group to deliver the Farm Safe curve module to five clubs per area over the next year.
I think it’s fair to say that February 2014 was a turning point in my Young Farmer career and I would not be here today if I hadn’t got involved with Forage Aid.
Forage Aid would never have happened without the Young Farmers. They sprung into action in all corners of the country in response to a plea for help from Somerset Young Farmers. The Somerset Floods simply brought out the best in Young Farmers and one of my aims for the year, now that Forage Aid is a charity, of which I am a Trustee, is to put Young Farmers at the centre of anything we do going forward.
We all live incredibly busy lives. We are all over-committers. We all try to squeeze so much into our daily lives. I regularly have to remind myself that Young Farmers is not actually my full time job but Lynsey Martin, Katie Hall and the wider officer team will get to everything we can over the next year to drive the federation forward.
I have got more than most from young farmers. It has simply made me the man I am today.
Now is my chance to give something back. I certainly never thought I would be Chairman of Council, facing one of the most uncertain, yet exciting, years for the UK’s agricultural industry.
This is a critical time. We have the opportunity over the next 12 months to really shape the future for young rural people across the UK. It is our chance to rip up the rule book and get what we want – our chance to shape the future and our chance to put young farmers at the forefront of UK farming going forward.
Follow Ed on Twitter @Ed_Farmer_Ford