Cumbrian young farmers held their annual meeting on Friday — not at the George Hotel, Penrith, as usual, but by Zoom.
Nothing had been left to chance, with the “top table” having had several practice runs.
The meeting was chaired by YFC county president Judith Emmott, who did an excellent job of steering proceedings and was delighted to see so many young farmers past and present in attendance from the comfort of their sofas and kitchen tables.
Judith commented that what the young farmers had achieved was incredible given the restrictions imposed on them for much of the year.
The successes of the northern area weekend, where the three Cumbrian teams took first and joint second, was a particular high spot, with another being the community and charity work they had undertaken.
She finished by saying Cumbria YFC was an outstanding organisation and that whatever is thrown at the young farmers they will come out stronger and more resilient.
County chairman Neil Curr thanked Cumbria County Council for continuing to award an annual grant, which allows the young farmers to carry out the training, competitions and activities which are essential to the YFC movement.
Thanks also went to Cumbria Community Foundation for providing funding that enabled Cumbria YFC to purchase Zoom subscriptions for its clubs, allowing members to continue holding meetings and activities.
Newton Rigg College, Penrith, was thanked for continuing to provide office space for the young farmers, and Neil expressed the hope the college would be able to continue providing skills and education for many years to come.
Neil recognised the achievements of the young farmers in lockdown, taking part in the virtual field day and loo roll challenge as well as helping out in their communities and staying in touch with each other.
Amy Swinbank and Imogen Johnston were thanked for their work on the digital year book — a first for Cumbria YFC and possibly the way forward.
Helen Millican’s BBC Radio Cumbria Thursday evening show which had shone a spotlight on the young farmers’ clubs was mentioned, with thanks to Helen and district chairpeople William Longmire and Robbie Tuer.
The young farmers raised an amazing £50, 300 for charity through activities including curry nights, cake bakes, car treasure hunts, sponsored bike rides and bingo nights.
Neil added that the tractor run in support of Newton Rigg and the sponsored bike ride had shown how young farmers could still pull together to support things they believed in.
County treasurer Kevin Batty said that, setting aside the pandemic, there had been an underlying trend of declining revenue from competitions and entertainments for a number of years.
The cost of organising events is largely fixed, so there is a need to look at what can be done to increase numbers going forward.
He stated that the next 12 months would be difficult for clubs and this was why it had been agreed the county and districts would pool their resources to cover the cost of club levies this year.
Kevin said reserves were intended to be held for “rainy days”, and it was definitely pouring at the moment.
He hoped this contribution would allow clubs to make the best use of their funds and get ready to attract new members when the time was right, so Cumbria YFC would bounce back once the pandemic was over.
Re-elected were: President, Judith Emmott; vice-president, Stephen Procter; chairman, Neil Curr; vice-chairperson, Sarah Emmott; and treasurer, Kevin Batty. A second vice-chairman, Robbie Tuer, was elected.
Trophies awarded were: Top Club Award for greatest increase in membership — Crook YFC (21 per cent); Alan Bowe Charity Award for club raising most for charity — Penrith YFC (£11,020); Mrs Dorrie Galbraith Trophy for member making greatest contribution to YFC— James Taylor, Crook YFC; Penrith Farmers’ and Kidd’s Chairman’s Trophy for club making most effort — Eden Valley YFC; High Sheriff Award for best community project — Cartmel YFC for work helping an injured farmer.
Judith brought the evening to a close by thanking everyone who had attended and said she hoped to see them again in person at the annual meeting in 2021, which will be held on 5th November.