As the Devon Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs celebrates its 90th birthday, Princetown farmer Charlotte Abel shares her thoughts on why it is so important to her

Charlotte Abel Tavistock Young Farmers
Charlotte Abel Tavistock Young Farmers (Charlotte Abel)

Charlotte Abel farms near Princetown and has been a member of Tavistock Young Farmers for the past six years and has loved every moment.

The 20-year-old is the latest generation to farm at Higher Godsworthy which has been in the Abel family since the 1600s.

A beef and sheep hill farmer Charlotte knows how isolating and how much hard work the job can be with very little time off so the YFC (Young Farmers’ Club)has been a great way for her to meet like-minded people and socialise.

Now secretary of the Tavistock group, Charlotte told the Times it was down to YFC that she had been on a scholarship to Sweden, got involved in lots of fundraising events, built her confidence through stock judging and met up with friends two to three times a week.

She said: ‘My parents were involved in YFC and so I suppose it was a natural thing for me to join but I found it provided so many great opportunities, not least being able to see other people’s farms and learn from them and get involved in lots of activities and fundraising.

‘We do an annual dung sale plus speed shearing, a Christmas big breakfast, bingos, quiz nights and car washes, all to raise money for charity.

‘We also do stock judging which involves public speaking. You have a give a speech at each of the classes in front of a class judge and that is a way to build your confidence. In farming being able to speak to other people and talk about what you do is really important.

‘Since covid I think being a farmer has become even more isolated so an organisation like young farmers which encourages you to mix with other people is all the more crucial.

‘I was lucky enough to win a scholarship to Sweden to see how farms worked out there. There were other young farmers from Devon on the trip but I didn’t know anyone before I went. Now I have friends from all over Devon and have learn a lot about Swedish farming. We hope to do more exchanges in the future so people can come over here from Sweden to see how we work.’

Charlotte said although YFC was agriculture focused you did not have to be a farmer to join, anyone with a love of the countryside could come along.

‘Whatever links you have with agriculture you can share them with other people,’ she said. ‘Young Farmers is about having fun as well.’

Anyone over the age of 10 can join the YFC. Tavistock currently has 65 members. See the Tavistock Young Farmers Facebook page for more.