Suffolk: Tory Lugsden reports on busy start to 2013 for the county’s Young Farmers

HAPPY New Year to all our Young Farmers, farmers and supporters – we hope you have had a nice Christmas and are looking forward to a good 2013.

As always, the YFC column wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the weather. So far 2013 has managed to stay relatively dry; let’s hope it stays that way for a while to let the land dry out a bit. 2012 was a year of extreme weather and I’m sure all farmers would be content with a year of less extreme conditions for the upcoming year. Fingers crossed.

Looking back on December we started with the Senior Lazerquest competition held at Martlesham. An evening of excellent competition was had by all, according to Anni Turner our county sports chairman, and everyone there was in good form.

The members of Debenham YFC once again triumphed in this competition. I’m not sure how they manage it but every year they seem to come out the winners in this contest.

Ten members of Suffolk YFC made the trip to Birmingham to celebrate the NFYFC 80th Anniversary. A great night was had by all present and the highlight was having Matt Baker of the One Show and Countryfile there as national president.

We then held the Public Speaking competitions for our junior members by kind permission of Otley College. The Junior Reading competition was very close, with Lark Valley taking the win on the day. Both the teams from Gipping Valley and Lark Valley will go on to represent Suffolk in the Eastern Area round as well as Gipping Valley’s Public Speaking team and Lark Valley’s Matthew Clements will take on the other juniors in the Junior Member of the Year competition.

The clubs all seemed to have successful Christmas events and Stowmarket held their ever popular post Christmas party at Excel in Stowmarket. The Hero’s and Villains theme was great and the inventiveness that went in to the outfits was, as always, excellent.

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Into January we go and over the next few weeks we will be holding the Junior and Senior Ten Pin Bowling competitions, a Junior Forum for our younger members holding committee roles including Beginners Tractor Driving and the Eastern Area annual general meeting for all counties in our area. We will be hoping for another good year in the Eastern Area Club of the Year competition so fingers crossed.

We wish our outgoing county chairman Helen Walker a safe and happy trip to New Zealand for four months as part of the national federation’s Discovery programme. She will be missed but we are looking forward to having her back in May.

As well as the activities going on in January we are preparing for our big events of the year already. Work has started in earnest on the Country Fair taking place at Easton Farm Park on Sunday, April 21 with bookings being taken for tradestands and exhibitors.

The horseshow schedule is finalised and the dog show is in it’s final draft form. Full information for exhibitors and details of the classes are available on our website at www.suffolkyoungfarmers.com .