By David Black

IT IS pretty tough to write an opinion article when the topic is left open, but becomes easier when you’re writing about something you’re truly passionate about.

Since I have recently finished an extremely enjoyable year as Kinross JAC chair I thought it would be fitting to discuss, only partially, the fantastic opportunities being so involved with young farmers can provide.

Many people are put off at the thought of club chairmanship but I would highly recommend it. It’s an extremely rewarding job and this year has allowed me, alongside a great committee, to raise a huge amount of money for charity. The fantastic total of £6684.63 was raised for ‘MS Scotland’, a charity close to my heart!

This was done through various fundraisers including a naked calendar and it’s fair to say I was in the same boat as everyone else in being slightly nervous about our first photo shoot. We all had nothing to worry about however as it was a huge amount of fun which in turn, helped to bring the club together as a team.

I’d highly recommend clubs doing team fundraising for charity as its extremely rewarding and can be great PR for a club whilst raising money for fantastic causes. As well as the money for MS, we’ve managed to donate over £3000 to ‘Heartstart’ in Kinross which will aid the purchase of a defibrillator for the local community. I can only thank the club for all their hard work and willingness to be involved throughout the year.

We were fortunate to host a fantastic group of young farmers from Kilrea in Northern Ireland and now look forward to our return leg in June. I remember my first exchange with young farmers to the Borders! Great fun and a brilliant way to make new friends for life. I’d recommend to any young farmer to ‘broaden their wings’ outwith their own club comforts and take full advantage of all the incredible travel opportunities SAYFC and Agri and Rural Affairs offers.

I was very lucky to be picked to represent Scotland as one of the delegates for the 2018 Agri Affairs trip to California which was a truly incredible experience. It’s fair to say Californian agriculture is a different ball game from what we are used to here at home. We had some spectacular trips and although I can’t see myself managing to grow almonds in Kinross, there was a lot to be learned from the various business cooperation’s set up for farmers to help sell and market their products collaboratively. Farmers are often stuck in the trap of being a price taker and it was very refreshing to see co-ops attempting to take back control, demanding a fair price for their produce.

Travelling with such ambitious and genuinely intrigued young farmers makes these trips so beneficial to an individual’s networking and learning! There are very few organisations in the UK which offer these incredible opportunities, I cannot encourage people enough to take advantage of them. Of course they wouldn’t happen without the dedication of SAYFC’s Agri and Rural Affairs sponsors. Young Farmers are forever appreciative of the support from external businesses shown to their clubs and in individual cases such as international travel or learning opportunities and training.

In support of my once in a lifetime agricultural study trip to California, my due thanks go to; The International Trust, AgriScot, Angus Biofuels, 3R Energy, Agricar, Clark Thompson, George Colliers, Limagrain, McArthur Agriculture, Reekie Ltd, Sellars, Strathtay Potato Co, Taygrow Ltd, Mathew Trust, Cameron Trust, RHASS and Vaderstaad.

I’m very excited for what the next few years brings and look forward to my year as east regional vice chairman. I have no doubt it’ll take up plenty of my time but know it will be extremely rewarding and worthwhile… so what are you waiting for YF members?