The Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC) has continued its recent resurgence with an increase in membership and the re-establishment of a number of clubs.
Speaking at the annual meeting, retiring national chairman Scott Wilson said membership had increased for the third consecutive year and now stood at over 3,500. He also pointed to the re-opening of SAYFC clubs in Mid Argyll and Islay as further proof that the organisation was on an upward curve.
This success he put down to the benefits members were getting through belonging to a national body that organised events, training, travel as well as accessing a wide social network.
Taking up the chairman’s role for the coming year is Belhelvie JAC member Stuart Jamieson, who farms with his parents on the 500-acre Mains of Leask farm at Ellon where they keep 80 suckler cows and 400 ewes.
Jamieson joined Belhelvie, which is one of SAYFC’s smaller clubs with only about 20 active members, at the age of 15. By doing so, he followed his older brother and his parents in becoming a Young Farmer.
Looking forward to his year in the top seat, he said he wanted to build on the success of the movement. He was encouraged not only by the increase in membership but also because there was a big jump in members actively taking part in the various competitions organised by SAYFC.
“We had 15 per cent more members participating at last year’s Highland Show and I want to see those numbers increase further,” Jamieson said.
However, the organisation faces a financial challenge with the ending of a £66,000 annual grant from the Scottish Government. However, the financial gap was subsequently reduced with a £30,000 grant by the cabinet secretary Richard Lochhead aimed specifically at developing the training available to members.
“We have managed to secure additional sponsorship but we are still projecting a financial loss for the coming year,” Jamieson admitted.
The new national vice chairman is Suzie Dunn of SSS YFC who also takes on the role of west chairman. The others regions will be headed up by Lynne Macarthur of Nairn JAC in the north and David Barclay of Bankfoot JAC in the east.
Gemma Bruce of Udny JAC was elected as the international chairman. Sarah Allison of Lanark YFC takes on the role of agri and rural affairs chairman for a second year, whilst Duncan Morrison of Inverurie JAC takes on the new post of agri & rural affairs vice chairman.