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Essex Young Farmers: Lorryloads of goodwill at Essex Young Farmers as Ed led #ForageAid efforts

16:00 02 March 2014

Sam Iddison, Andrew Sell and Jess Roche

Sam Iddison, Andrew Sell and Jess Roche

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Well what a month February has been, writes Jess Roche

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Normally it is fairly packed with competitions, events and parties, but I have never had a month as manic as this one!

Flooding has been constantly in the news during February with awful scenes of whole villages and streets under water. Our farming counterparts in Somerset have really been struggling as their farms have become lakes, and all their livestock has had to be sent to market or moved to other premises. There has also been a great forage shortage because of the flooding, and this will continue to be the case for many months to come.

We Young Farmers don’t like to sit back when things like this occur, so we decided to do our bit for the #ForageAid campaign. Led by our vice-chairman, Ed Ford, we set about ringing local farmers to see if they could donate any hay or straw that we could send down to Somerset. What started as a small idea grew to a massive logistical project which involved Tesco and a county full of very generous farmers! We looked into how much it would cost us to take a lorry load of forage down to Somerset and we were looking in the £700 per load price bracket. We were happy to pay for this from money we had raised at the New Year’s Eve party, but luckily Tesco stepped in. They very generously agreed to transport all forage we collected down to Sedgemoor Auction Centre who was distributing all donations.

We are very grateful to Tesco for offering such a generous helping hand but especially all the Essex, Suffolk and Cambridge farmers who have donated so much to such a worthwhile cause! At the moment we have sent 18 loads down to Somerset bringing the total donations sent to over 200 tonnes! We are still receiving donations which are currently being stored for when the Somerset farmers need more.

Not only have we been loading forage, we have also been practising our singing skills! Essex Young Farmers are releasing a charity single in May, with the aim to get into the UK Top 40! We have paired up with Audio Network to release an original song called, “Put That Hoedown!” We have had a lot of meetings about the challenge, and have started to gather quite a following on social media! If you are a Tweeter or Facebooker, search for “Farming4No1” and keep updated with our news! This single is raising money for two fantastic charities, Young Minds UK and The Farming Community Network. We hope now not only to get into the UK Top 40 but also aim for a number one! If we achieve this dream, the money we will raise will make such a difference to these charities. We are recording the solo parts of the song this week at a studio in London, and the chorus where we hope as many Essex Young Farmers as possible join in, will be recorded at the world renowned Abbey Road Studios!

You may think that is quite enough to pack in for one month, but let us not forget all the other things we have been up to! We had the county round of public speaking, which was debating for Seniors and “Just a Minute” for Intermediates. Congratulations to both Dunmow and Halstead for winning the Senior and Intermediate competitions respectively. We have also had our usual share of parties and meetings, which has made the shortest month of the year the busiest we have ever had!

Next month I will be able to give you a final total on forage donations and also give you more information on our charity single!

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