CUMBRIAN young farmers have been praised for their resilience and hard work during the Covid pandemic.

Lockdown restrictions forced young farmers' clubs to deliver their 2020 programme of activity digitally, streaming live stockjudging and public speaking competitions, as well as hosting weekly virtual meetings to maintain member engagement.

One virtual competition the ‘Toilet Roll Challenge’ captured the imagination on the internet with 335,042 viewings of the video that went global.

The 39th Southern District’s AGM, which saw a departure from its usual format and was hosted via Zoom, heard how the district’s clubs had raised a total of £17,106 for charities and good causes. One cause close to the hearts of the young farmers saw the SD turn out in force to campaign against the closure of Newton Rigg College at Penrith, with a tractor run taking place in September. Over 80 tractors took part from all over the county with young farmers from both districts turning out (socially distanced) to show their support.

However, members heard how the crisis had also left the county £15,275.31 down on the previous year.

President John Garnett, who gave the accounts and treasurer’s report on behalf of Stephen Rowlinson, said it was hoped once the pandemic was over, the young farmers would be asked to pull together to look at ways of raising funds and replenishing the reserves.

The new SD Officers for 2021 are: president: Alan Barker; vice-president: Neil Sowerby; chair: Jess Rogerson; vice-chair: Emily Armer; minutes secretary: Rosie Parsons; competitions secretary: Becky Coward; social secretary: Jack Sowerby; treasurer: Stephen Rowlinson; independent examiner: Christine Knipe.