As The Scottish Farmer delves into what the SAYFC club Turriff & District JAC has been up to, we hear from the 2024-25 club chair, Oliver Pirie, as he answers on how Young Farmers has helped him gain new skills whilst helping the community.

How long have you been in the Young Farmers?

I joined Young Farmers as soon as I turned 14, so I have been an active member for over 10 years now.

What role in agriculture do you have outside of being in the YF?

After receiving my HND in Agriculture at SRUC Craibstone, I moved home and have been working full-time alongside my father on the family farm (just outside Turriff). Even though I have finished studying, I try to keep up to date with new agricultural developments by taking part in discussion groups as well as being a committee member in both Turriff Show and Young Farmers.

Which is your agricultural favourite show to attend?

I have been on the Turriff Show committee for 5 years now and have been part of the set-up team and show operations for almost 9 years. So, I would have to say that it will always be the most important show for me, and I would like to see it continue to succeed and grow in the future.

Second to that, I would say that the Royal Highland Show is a great social event which allows me to meet up with fellow students from my time studying at SRUC, as well as meet new people and see new developments in agricultural machinery.

How has being in the YF impacted your personal development or life?

Being part of Young Farmers has massively helped with social skills. Joining at a young age encourages you to socialise and speak to people you haven’t met before. Farming is an industry where socialising with others is very important since we work alone so much of the time. When I first joined, I looked up to older members who organised the meetings and helped us feel comfortable. So now I see it as my turn to share the organising and be there to help younger members enjoy their time at Young Farmers.

What do you find most rewarding about YF?

The most rewarding part for me is being able to give back to the local community. We have a great club and committee that organises loads of amazing fundraisers, which allows us to give back to organisations that need funding as well as offering members interesting and enjoyable visits and meetings.

Can you share a project that your club has recently undertaken that you’re proud to be a part of?

A big project that our club is proud of is getting our annual Marquee Dance back up and running after Covid. We had a lot of uncertainty about how well the event would be attended after not being able to host it for three years.

What issues do you think face young people within the agricultural industry?

The uncertainty of what we will face in the future is a very worrying problem. The weather has proven to be much more challenging for us in the past few years, with shorter windows to complete tasks such as spring sowing and harvesting. This has put more pressure on our businesses and makes younger people nervous about coming into agriculture. We also do not know what criteria our government is going to set for us to receive the equivalent to our Basic Payment Scheme, which is due to end in 2025.

Tips for being in the YF?

I would say the most important (and fun) part of being in a Young Farmers club is to enjoy getting involved in events rather than just coming to meetings. Supporting the club with fundraisers and competitions will help the club survive and continue to be strong into the future. As chairperson of my club, I really appreciate as many members as possible helping out – that makes the running of a club so much easier and is really rewarding for members.

If you were to host a party for your club, who would you choose as the DJ among your club members?

I think it would have to be my secretary Lianna Morrison. She has been keeping me right this last month or so with the organisation of the club - so I have full faith in her to pick the right music for the party and to make sure everyone has fun.

What advice would you offer to others considering joining YF?

Young Farmers has something for everyone. We have a broad range of members, many who are not from a farming background but are still interested in agriculture and want to take part in the club.

Our older members who organise the meetings work hard to make it a welcoming club that you’ll enjoy being a part of. We also work hard to plan activities that will appeal to all ages and abilities.

There really is never a dull moment – so if you’re thinking of joining a Young Farmers Club – definitely just do it. And if anyone gets a chance to join and be part of the committee – do that too and help Young Farmers Clubs survive in the future.