YOUNG FARMER Annual General Meeting (AGM) season is here again and it is the perfect time for you to seize the opportunity to take on a role whether it’s at club, district, regional or national level or a committee member, secretary, treasurer or chairperson position.

Growing up on the family farm and having an outgoing fun-loving mother who was heavily involved with SAYFC and who always encouraged me to join a club and take on committee roles made joining West Fife Young Farmers Clubs a natural step.

I will be forever grateful for her encouragement, because my involvement with SAYFC has been a whirlwind of remarkable experiences, meeting new people, making lifelong friends and, most importantly, having great fun.

To begin with, I only attended the social events but after I finished my Business Management degree at Edinburgh University I became involved with the committee by starting out as assistant club secretary. I have now worked my way up through the district and east regional committees to east regional vice chairperson and I have never looked back. My only regret is that I didn’t start earlier!

Through taking on a role you will learn so much about yourself, develop new skills, strengthen your team working skills and will be involved in numerous training sessions. All of which is invaluable experience for your self-development and chosen career path. Employers love to hear about the experience gained in SAYFC office bearer roles and they are always impressed if you can tell them how you have contributed to the Association.

Joining a committee and investing time and effort improves your prospects of exploring other SAYFC opportunities e.g. competing in the Member of the Year competition and participating in international travel. During the interviews for these openings it stands you in good stead if you are in a position to tell the panel what you have achieved for the Association. I have had the good fortune of experiencing many of the international travel opportunities during which I have met most of my closest friends and I would strongly encourage anyone who has not already travelled with SAYFC to apply to do so when Covid-19 restrictions lift.

The experience will result in you meeting new people from all over Scotland that you wouldn’t normally meet and you will build up an extensive and extremely valuable network of contacts.

Taking on a role will give you the chance to give something back to the organisation which has given you so much and the more effort you put in, the more you get out of the experience. Your hard work will be noticed, appreciated and rewarded. People who strive for the best in their positions stand out and enhance their prospects within the Association and with their professional career.

Your club, district and region can only develop as a result of its members efforts. Make your voice heard on a committee and have your say whether you agree or disagree with an opinion or a project.

The Covid-19 pandemic has restricted us from meeting in the normal face to face way but hopefully we can get back to holding physical meetings and competitions soon. However, this has been a good time to reflect and explore new ideas and as restrictions ease, this year is the perfect time to start afresh and revamp certain aspects of the Association for the better. Committees need new blood and opinions to challenge the way things have always been done to ensure a bright and prosperous future for the Association.

Set yourself goals for the year and put your stamp on it. You will finish the year feeling proud that you didn’t just sit back in your comfort zone, you contributed to and benefited the rural community and brought new ideas to the table. You will have a tremendous sense of achievement.

The past year has taught us many things but especially to spend more time with friends and loved ones and to grasp as many opportunities as possible because we never know what the future holds.

Make the most of your young farmer years and be involved.

Take on a role, get stuck in and have enormous fun!