Devon young farmer Rosie Bennett has been elected as chair of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC) as the organisation celebrates its membership numbers more than doubling since the pandemic.

With membership figures already outstripping those recorded around this time last year, Rosie is expected to be leading more than 25,000 members by the end of the membership year in August.

Ms Bennett, 28, a manager at agricultural specialist accountants Evolution ABS, was elected to the position of chair during NFYFC’s Council elections in Warwickshire.

A former County Chair for Devon County Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (FYFC) Rosie has been an East Devon YFC member for nearly 15 years.

NFYFC’s membership numbers dropped significantly during the peak pandemic period when clubs were unable to host their usual activities due to Covid-19 restrictions.

New national initiatives and a renewed energy from YFCs have enticed more rural young people to join a local club.

New initiatives from NFYFC have included:

l New Field Officer roles to support County Federations and clubs to deliver their programmes.

l Expansion of the national safeguarding team to offer more support to counties.

l Advice and information to support farming members with the changes in agriculture.

l New training modules and updates to existing courses for clubs to deliver.

l A new YFC Achiever Awards ceremony to recognise and reward individuals and clubs.

Rosie is keen to continue growing the membership during her year in office and is also planning a summer ball for YFC members that will be hosted in Devon in May.

Rosie said: ‘I’m thrilled to be elected as the new Chair of The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, especially at a time when our membership is growing.

‘I am keen to ensure that what we offer rural young people remains relevant and we continue to work closely with our County Federations to achieve our goals.

‘Being a member of a Young Farmers’ Club has given me so many opportunities to develop skills, travel, achieve awards and make friends for life. I want all rural young people to know those same opportunities are available to them by being part of YFC.’

More than 100 members gathered in Warwickshire and online to pass motions that affect the running of the organisation and to elect the new officers of NFYFC’s Council.

The National Council is made up of 63 members, associate members and co-options from across England and Wales and is elected by YFC members to represent their views.

Through steering groups, the National Council also decide and shape the programmes of work at NFYFC – planning events, competitions, projects and training for members.

During the Saturday of the Council weekend, YFC members also met to discuss the future of the organisation and gave input on future plans.