Suffolk Young Farmers column: Summer, and a Pimms opening

Suffolk Young Farmers' new headquarters at Stanaway Farm, Otley

Suffolk Young Farmers' new headquarters at Stanaway Farm, Otley - Credit: Archant

At last something summer like has appeared and the Young Farmers are making the most of it, writes Suffolk YFC co-ordinator Tory Lugsden.

Members of the Junior Forum committee try their hand at tractor handling

Members of the Junior Forum committee try their hand at tractor handling - Credit: Archant

Harvest will have started in some parts of the county and by our next report it should be in full swing. Let’s hope this reasonable weather stays with us for the farmers’ wives sakes!

Members of the Junior Forum committee try their hand at tractor handling

Members of the Junior Forum committee try their hand at tractor handling - Credit: Archant

We started July with PA1 and PA2 courses running for a number of our members in our fantastic new offices. We were delighted to hear that tests were passed by those taking part and it is nice to be able to offer training opportunities for members via YFC links. The weather stayed nice for the training courses in the main with the telehandler course being slightly toasty but with a sudden downpour to test PPE efficiency!

The fields of wheat across the county have been judged as part of the AtlasFram and Suffolk YFC inaugural wheat competition. Entries of commercial wheat crops were duly judged by Mike Warner of Avocet Agronomy and Peter Waite from AtlasFram Group. It was amazing for me to see the entry forms from junior members stating drill dates, fertiliser details and spray ratios. I struggle to make Yorkshire pudding on a ratio basis never mind keep a crop clear of blackgrass (although I did hear that there was some late night weed pulling in some of the crops!). The clubs are very excited about getting the results at our AGM in October.

The Junior Forum for our junior clubs to have their say on the future of Young Farmers was a fantastic day. We spent the day with 12 junior members letting them tell us where we are going wrong. Luckily there weren’t too many bad points and we were delighted with the positive, forward thinking members coming up. The Junior Forum committee has set rules for a 30 minute ring display at our country fair in April, have set the theme, budget and venue for the Junior Ball in November and is putting together a promotional leaflet. Once we’d finished putting them to work we called upon the skills of John Attridge of Easton and Otley College to put them through their paces on a beginners tractor handling course. I believe it went well and from what I gather some of the members were able to show him a few tricks of their own. A great day was had by all.

We celebrated our move into the amazing new YFC Office at Stanaway Farm, Otley, with a Pimms reception and BBQ for members, sponsors and supporters on a beautiful July evening and it was lovely to see so many people there. We are looking forward to a great, and warm, winter in our new premises with huge thanks to Easton and Otley College and Felix Cobbold Trust.

Our final event of the year before harvest was the Suffolk YFC Annual Ball held at the Cameo Hotel, Copdock. 200 members and friends of the federation had a great “Life’s a Beach” themed evening. From what I hear it was a brilliant end to the year and a fantastic celebration of what, for Suffolk YFC, has been one of our best years in recent times.

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And so to August, for the members the hard work starts. For the office the background work starts. Sponsorship for the 2014 Country Fair is virtually all in place so work will start on preparing the days activities and schedules. Our biggest job for the next few weeks is the launch of our newest club. Melton Young Farmers will be returning for people between the ages of 16 and 30.

The launch evening will take place on Wednesday 18th September at the Coach and Horses in Melton. We would love to see any new members for a drink and a chat to find out what we are about!