The new chairman of Cornwall YFC has spoken of his determination to support the county’s young farmers and help them to reach their full potential.
Tom Retallick, 25, has just taken on the role of County Chair of the Cornwall Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFC).
He celebrated his appointment by organising a Harvest Festival, which was held at St Columb Church on Friday, September 30.
It was staged with the support of leading rural insurer and Cornwall YFC sponsor, NFU Mutual.
The festival featured readings, prayers and hymns as well as a performance by a newly-formed choir consisting of members from St Columb and Wadebridge Young Farmers’ Clubs.
Tom says he can’t wait to get started in his new role. He says: “I’m excited and a bit overwhelmed to be taking this on.
“I want this year to be all about the members and raising the profile of our young farmers and what they do.
“We are all so proud to be young farmers and want to be able to share that with like-minded people with an appreciation for rural life. There’s a real pride in our industry as a whole.
“When you join a young farmers club, it’s a time of your life where you start to gain some independence and that’s a hugely important part of it.
“The different events and activities, such as the speaking and stock judging competitions for example, only serve to grow you as a person.
“There are so many life skills that can be gained and these experiences really do teach you so much more about yourself and help to build confidence.”
Both NFU Mutual and Cornwall YFC have a long-established commitment to helping young farmers to make a success of their agricultural careers.
Tom takes the lead at a pivotal time for Cornwall YFC as membership is at an all-time high following a high-profile recruitment drive.
The club welcomed its 1,000th new member in July, marking a successful conclusion to its Project 1,000 campaign, which was sponsored by NFU Mutual.
Cornwall YFC now supports 20 clubs across the county, which are open to members aged 10 to 28.
Sixth generation farmer Tom wants to continue to build on the federation’s success, having been a proud member of St Columb YFC for 13 years.
He says: “I was brought up on the farm and since I was born I’ve been involved with young farmers in some way – my dad Trevor is a former club leader, President and Chair, so I didn’t have a choice really! I wouldn’t have it any other way though.
“One of my key areas of focus will be on our events. I absolutely love the social side of it and it’s such an important part of what we do.
“When we had our first event together after the pandemic, I remember seeing people meeting up who hadn’t seen each other for 18 months. We took it for granted perhaps, but it makes us appreciate what we have here.
“We are extremely grateful to NFU Mutual for its ongoing sponsorship and support of Cornwall YFC, which helps us to continue to ensure young people in rural areas have access to a community of individuals who are there to support each other.
“I am looking forward to working with the team over the coming months to ensure we can continue to build on this success.”
Phoebe Ridley, from NFU Mutual’s South West Team, said: “We are really excited to be working with Tom in his new role as County Chair.
“His enthusiasm and passion for the role young farmers play in our industry is clear, and we are looking forward to supporting him and all of the club’s members.
“We are proud, long-standing sponsors of Cornwall YFC and have seen first-hand the positive impact of the work they do, helping to nurture and support the next generation of farmers and to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need for the future.”
Formed in July 1937, Cornwall YFC offers a range of benefits to young people in rural locations across the county. As well as a diary of vibrant social events, there are opportunities for foreign travel and skills training in areas such as public speaking, leadership and event organisation.
Cornwall club members also raise thousands of pounds for charity each year.
NFU Mutual provides further support to young farmers with post-graduate training bursaries and travel scholarships. It is also involved in a range of other industry initiatives, including the Farm Safety Foundation and its Yellow Wellies campaign, which focuses on good farming safety practices.