A restructuring at the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs has resulted in its board of management being replaced by six committees.

These six – Agri and Rural Affairs; International Travel; Risk and Finance; Comms and Marketing; Activities and Events; Wellbeing and Development – will all involve various members who are keen on a particular topic collaborating together.

The national council made the decision to give a clearer structure to the association, as well as more transparency to both members and external stakeholders. It has also allowed for the clearly identified roles and responsibilities of these committees to be established, and for more members to get involved in what they are interested in.

The past national chairperson, Gemma Bruce of Udny JAC, commented: “I believe the groups will allow more focussed discussion and member-led development in each area of the association.

"We asked grassroot members past, present and future where they want to see the future of the association in our recent consultation. SAYFC have used the information and have developed a brand new six week training program, a member-led farm safety training and a new mentoring program – to name but a few! There is a lot of potential behind the restructure, and we look forward to seeing how it progresses," concluded Gemma.

Newly elected chairman of the Agri and Rural Affairs committee, Ally Brunton, of East Fife JAC, added: "This past year has been very difficult for everyone, but I feel as though SAYFC have made the best of a bad situation. As Jack Jarvis once said 'when life hands you melons, make melonade' and at SAYFC we are drowning in melonade.

"This year we aim to give our members a voice, and provide them with development opportunities. But most importantly get them back out enjoying what the association has to offer," added Ally.

Taking on chairmanship of the Finance and Risk committee is Peter Duthie of Garioch JAC: "It is a privilege to be elected as chairman. I look forward to working collaboratively with the other national groups in the year ahead as we restart activities following the latest lockdown," he said.

Peter will work alongside chairman of the Communications and Marketing committee, Hamish Logan, of East Lothian JAC: "I am honoured to be elected as the first chair of the new Communication and Marketing group within the changed SAYFC structure. The association has had a difficult year with the pandemic but I am looking forward to overcoming the challenges. The new structure has brought a lot of changes to the association and I am excited to be involved with this change in the year ahead.”

Annabel Baker, of Bell Baxter ADS, was elected as chairman of the Development and Wellbeing committee: "I feel privileged to have been elected as the chair of the newly created committee. I am excited for the year ahead and building on the fantastic work the committee have already done with the success of the new club development programme which has taken place over the past six weeks. Now more than ever, development and wellbeing are two very important topics given the impact of the pandemic, as we navigate our way towards normality and beyond."

The SAYFC International Travel committee is in the capable hands of Lucy McClymont, of Lower Nithsdale YFC: "I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead the international committee! I have been fortunate to travel to a number of destinations through the international travel programme. I hope to be able to promote and encourage all members to get involved when normality returns!"

As well as taking on National vice chair, Lucy Mitchell, of West Fife JAC, has also been elected as the new chair of the Competitions and Events committee.

"I am delighted and excited to be chairing the new national Events and Competitions committee this year. This committee is made up of members from all three regions and will focus on arranging the national Young Farmer calendar of events, ensuring that SAYFC's offering is relevant to its members.

"I hope that Covid restrictions will continue to ease so that the committee can start planning physical events and introduce new ideas and events to ensure that all members make the most of what SAYFC has to offer."

The new President of the SAYFC Young Farmers, Bill Arnott, a former Bell Baxter ADS member, commented: "I am very honoured to be elected to the post of SAYFC Hon President; little did I know that when I joined Bell Baxter all these years ago that I would be elected as National Chairman, never mind joining the roll call of Presidents of this association.

"SAYFC clubs and members have had a tough year but I am confident that they will be stronger for it and having spoken to members it is clear that they feel they have learned so much about how they can progress in the future. Membership is down, as is to be expected when very few actual face-to-face meetings were held and life has been conducted virtually, but Young Farmers are a resilient bunch and once we come out of lockdown I am confident we will see enthusiasm for membership and competitions rise again.

"With the excellent office bearers in post alongside myself, I know together we can support and guide the Young Farmers over the next year to ensure that the positive lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic can be built on and implemented ensuring our wonderful movement will continue to flourish and to grow again."

Elected as the National vice president was Alex Allison, former Lanark YFC member and Lanarkshire District chairman.