Over 300 young farmers attended the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster AGM and conference, sponsored by Massey Ferguson, one of the world’s leading tractor brands.
The event was held on Saturday at The Armagh City Hotel.
The YFCU put together an informative morning programme for members as well as delegates from sister organisations, the National Federation of Young Farmers and Welsh Young Farmers to take part in.
Before embarking on the day’s proceedings, members had an energising workout provided by Bob Esler, YFCU honorary treasurer.
Members then separated into two groups and attended two workshops, one run by Nexus which explored online dating and a second lively jiving workshop run by YFCU vice president, William Beattie and YFCU member Christina McCollam.
The association’s most eagerly awaited competition took place just prior to the AGM.
Five clubs had made it through to the final of the Club of the Year competition sponsored by Power NI. Dungiven YFC, Glarryford YFC, Kilraughts YFC, Collone YFC and Randalstown YFC.
Each club delivered a presentation to a panel of judges.
After a nervous wait, Glarryford YFC were announced as winners and received the Club Of The Year trophy.
The Ulster Young Farmer award was also presented on the day, with Timothy Savage from Annaclone and Magherally YFC taking the trophy for this year’s competition.
Sponsored by Danske Bank, the Ulster Young Farmer of the Year competition is one of the most prestigious competitions in the association’s calendar.
After qualifying through two preliminary rounds, Timothy made it through to the final.
At this stage of the competition Timothy was asked to answer questions on a series of topics including finance, countryside management, beef, arable, machinery, sheep and dairy.
YFCU also presented awards for junior and senior member of the year.
Taking the junior member of the Year title was Georgia Nicholl, Randalstown YFC.
Andrew Patton, Newtownards YFC was awarded senior member of the year.
During the AGM in the afternoon, the presidential team for 2018/19 was announced.
James Speers, (Collone YFC) was elected into the position of president of the association and Zita Blair, (Moneymore YFC) was elected to the position of deputy president.
The positions of vice president went to re-elected members William Beattie (Finvoy YFC) and Peter Alexander (Glarryford YFC) while Stuart Mills (Moneymore YFC) and Andrew Patton (Newtownards YFC) were elected for the first time as vice presidents.
David Oliver (Dungiven YFC), and Harry Crosby (Spa YFC) stepped down as vice presidents at the meeting.
President James Speers thanked both David and Harry for all their hard work and wished them well in the future.
During the AGM, the president also made reference to his theme for the past year, ‘Members Success’ and announced his new theme for the incoming year, entitled ‘Embracing Change’.
James commented: “At the AGM and conference last year I announced that my selected theme would be ‘Members Success’.
“Over the past 12 months members from clubs throughout Northern Ireland have gone the extra mile and epitomised this through participation in events and competitions at both club, county and Northern Ireland level.
“As I begin my second year as YFCU president I would again reach out to members and ask them to embody another theme, ‘Embracing Change’.
“In the coming year we face a number of challenges at local and regional levels.
“From wide ranging issues affecting everyday farming life to the uncertainty looming around the UK’s exit from the European Union, 2018/19 promises to redefine the landscape for farmers and rural communities throughout Northern Ireland.
“I strongly believe that change brings opportunity in every sense. Opportunities to learn, to develop new skills, to meet new people and form new opinions. Change is positive and challenges each of us to step outside our comfort zone in order to react to new developments. This year I encourage all YFCU members to join me and ‘Embrace Change’!”
The YFCU would like to thank Massey Ferguson for their sponsorship of the annual general meeting and conference and Armagh City Hotel for providing a superb venue.