Limited levy rise secured for members of Young Farmers' Clubs

An attempt to raise the levy paid by local Young Farmers' Clubs to the organisation's national body by almost a third has been defeated in a vote.

Ed Bentley, vice chairman of the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs spoke out against the proposed 30 per cent levy rise at Sunday's AGM.

Yorkshire’s federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs supported an amendment put forward by its Lancashire counterparts against a motion put forward at the group’s annual general meeting at Blackpool at the weekend.

The move secured the backing of enough members to ensure the amendment was carried and instead, a ten per cent levy increase will be introduced by the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs in September. The increase amounts to an annual rise of £1.64, rather than £5, and takes members’ subscription costs for 2018/19 to just over £18.

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Ed Bentley, who as vice chairman of Yorkshire YFC represents 45 Young Farmers’ Clubs in Yorkshire and around 1,700 young members, spoke at the meeting and said afterwards: “There were mixed feelings from across the country, but a number of other counties spoke in support of Lancashire and Yorkshire’s joint effort, including Cameron Shell, the northern area chairman.

“He emphasised the fact that the levy has increased so drastically over the past five years, and his ‘ruler shot off the page’ when he added the extra 30 per cent being proposed by NFYFC.”

Members voted 138 for and 87 against the amendment which limits the rise to 10 per cent.

“This is a testament to the democratic process of the YFC movement and members voted with their feet,” Mr Bentley said.

Ahead of the meeting, Lynsey Martin, the NFYFC’s chairman of council, had said the levy rise was a positive step to help the Federation and ensure it could continue to deliver services and develop the organisation.

And after the vote, she said: “While it is disappointing that the proposal for a £5 increase in the national subscription – the levy – was not carried, it was impressive to see so many YFC members speak passionately about the Federation and represent their counties and clubs.

“The approved increase of £1.64, as proposed by Lancashire FYFC, will still go some way to help NFYFC’s finances but is obviously not the amount needed to support the necessary changes. NFYFC will now discuss the full implications of the members’ decision with the Board of Management and will report back to members at the next Council meeting in June.

“While there are challenges ahead for the Federation, NFYFC will work hard to ensure we can still provide services that support and develop rural young people across England and Wales.”