Young farmer numbers increasing year on year

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The Scottish Association of Young Farmers (SAYC) is going from strength to strength with membership numbers at their highest since 1999.

The trend is reflected in the Border Federation District where numbers have increased year on year, with more than 100 14- to 30-year-olds now enjoying the clubs in their area.

The new district office bearers are: Angus Beck (chairman), Andrew Tullie (vice chairman), Jamie Gilchrist (secretary), Ben Moffat (assistant secretary), Robert Fleming (treasurer) and Mathew Ramsden (assistant treasurer). Part of the teams’s work is to support the clubs in the area. SAYC’s motto is “Not just for those who wear wellies” and officials are keen to stress SAYFC is for anyone who would like to be part of an organisation that offers personal development opportunities.

Angus, 23, who works on his family’s mixed farm, joined local club Ednam YFC when he was 16, becoming treasurer then chairman before taking on those roles at district level.

He said: “The Young Farmers organisation is fantastic. It has let me meet a good group of friends with the same interests, and has given me the confidence to speak in front of anyone.”

Ednam YFC celebrates its 70th anniversary this year and recently took part in the East Regional Sheep Dressing competition, reinstated into the syllabus at the request of members from the Border Federation District.

Treasurer Robert Fleming, 24, is particularly proud of his club, Reston JAC, who recently won the East Regional Hockey competition.

“Over the next year we hope to encourage more members to take part in regional and national events – it is a great way to try out new activities,” he said.

Another local club, Ettrick and Lauderdale, came second in the East Region Clay Pigeon Shooting where district assistant Secretary Ben Moffat, 22, was part of a team of three.

Ben, who works on his family stock farm, was competing against ten other teams : “Through competitions such as this one, and all the social balls and dances I’ve met a lot of people from all over Scotland and made good friends. The clay pigeon shoot was one of the highlights for me last year.”

Regional vice-chairman Finlay MacFarlane, 26, said: “Border Federation is a very strong district who continuously look for ways to get members involved.

“Over the last year we have seen them take part in more regional and national events, and this is something I hope will continue to grow.

“It is important that our members help drive the association forward, and by taking on an office bearer role we have the opportunity to reinvest our experience and knowledge in new and younger members.”

Other club competitions include stockjudging, arts and crafts, drama, ten pin bowling, speechmaking, quiz, go karting and football.

Anyone interested in joining should contact their local club secretary – Garry Fleming (Ednam YFC) on 07791 951907; Ben Moffat (Ettrick & Lauderdale JAC), 07860 456508; Fiona Mitchell (Reston JAC), 07515 099305; Iain Livesey (Teviotdale YFC), 07746 643981 - or Jamie on 07747 096751.