James Robertson appointed to New Zealand Young Farmers Contest Subcommittee

Posted by on 14 September 2020 | Comments

FMG Young Farmer of the Year winner James Robertson has been named as the newest appointed member of the New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF) Contest Subcommittee.

He said he was excited to be appointed and couldn’t wait to get started on leading the Contest into the future.

The new Contest Subcommittee is a joint representation from the NZYF Board with members Robert Barry and Sam Robinson, principal sponsor representative Michelle Stevens and three appointed members – Nigel Woodhead, James Goodwin (serving previous terms) and James Robertson.

NZYF Chair Ash-Leigh Campbell said the Board was overwhelmed with the number and level of applicants who applied for the one appointed role that was open.

“It was an extremely challenging process to pick just one applicant, there was a lot of talent,” she said.

“We’re very honoured to have appointed James Robertson, he will add great value to the contest as a past winner of FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year and FMG Young Farmer of the Year.”

Robertson took out the 2019 title, which was then carried over to this year, after the contest season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

His main goal during his three year term would be to increase participation rates and focus on continuing the pipeline of AgriKids and FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year competitors into the senior contest.

However, his first priority would be to get the 2021 season back on track while also navigating through the global pandemic.

“It was a whirlwind year with COVID and it’s still about, so we need to manage the contest expectations while still being in that environment and trying to make sure competitors feel safe but also have a great opportunity to learn and test themselves at the same time,” he said.  

As a former Teen Ag winner (now FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year), Robertson said it allowed him to add another lens and voice to the Contest Subcommittee.

“When I think of contest, I think of it as the opportunity to provide and inspire younger people into the industry rather than just the opportunity to test those that are already in it,” he said.

“I like to think about what the contest looks like to someone who’s in year 11 or 12 at school and how would it inspire them to make the decision to join the sector, join the industry and join New Zealand Young Farmers.”

Ash-Leigh Campbell said the Contest Subcommittee would meet ‘face to face’ virtually as soon as possible and was looking forward to hitting the ground running to set the scene for the forthcoming season.

Robertson has had the opportunity to work with a majority of the other Contest Subcommittee members who he called a “neat bunch of people” and also extended his appreciation to the family of sponsors. 

“I want to thank the sponsors as well for enabling contest to happen this year, keeping the momentum going and keeping the support going. It’s obviously tough times out there so that support is needed now more than ever.”

The Contest Subcommittee has replaced the former Contest Board which was disestablished after a lengthy review.

Nigel Woodhead and James Goodwin formerly sat on the Contest Board and their terms were carried over to the new Contest Subcommittee.