THE government’s Chief Whip has praised the work of young farmers’ clubs to mark National Young Farmers’ Week.

The event, now its fifth year, promotes the role of YFCs to make young people aware of the benefits of being a member.

Mark Spencer, Chief Whip and MP for Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, was chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs 20 years ago, before embarking on a career in politics.

Mr Spencer discussed the role young farmers’ clubs had in rural communities.

He said: “I think they’re absolutely fundamental.

“Young people need somewhere to go, social activities to enjoy, the ability to network and socialise with each other.

“Young Farmers is the perfect platform to do that in a safe environment, in a structured way. It gets you out having fun, it gets you meeting people and socialising.

Mr Spencer was speaking to demonstrate how the YFC could develop skills and influence careers.

He added that his membership inspired his political career.

“I still think of myself as a farmer, although I don’t get a lot of time to do that, but I think Young Farmers pulled me into politics slowly,” said Mr Spencer.

“You sort of get drawn into young people’s issues, whether that is housing, rural transport, the issues around access into agriculture, succession planning.

“You find yourself moving from thinking about rugby and socialising and drawn into those political issues.”

National Young Farmer’s Week runs from September 30 until October 4, and is sponsored by NatWest.