Young Farmers Put Skills To The Test

Wed, 2001-01-31 00:00

Young farmers dug deep to try to outdo each other in a range of traditional agricultural crafts and activities last weekend.

Hundreds of Young Farmers’ Club members from across the North gathered at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus to compete in 40 events of a rural and rustic nature.

It was County Durham’s turn to host the competition, and, as in 2005, Houghall, a leading land based college with its own farm, was the ideal venue.

Peter Whitfield, Houghall Farm Manager, said “We were absolutely delighted that after a long absence from Houghall, the organising committee decided to utilise the great resources that we have on site for this very important part of the Young Farmer’s calendar.”

Fierce competition flowed  through the day in everything from livestock judging and Land Rover driving to tug-of-war and ploughing, with health and safety also featuring as a major consideration for the modern farmer.

Janice Baker, Secretary of the Durham Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, said the wet weather failed to dampen enthusiasm.

“If anything, it galvanised it as farmers are used to getting wet” she said. “The rain probably helped to increase the turnout because many people couldn’t get on with work on their farm, so they decided to have a look at the event.”

Yorkshire took the overall trophy, but County Durham, despite being the smallest team, was top at the stock judging.

Winners in the various categories will all go on to represent the North of England in the national finals at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, later in the summer.

On Saturday night, all competitors put aside their local rivalries for a social event in a marquee on the Houghall Site.