Board Nominations


Name: James Hurstresizedimage400679 James Hurst

Club: Five Forks

 Tell us about yourself in 100 words. Include relevant skills, qualifications and background.

I’m a farmer born and bred. Ive been working full time as a farmer for 14 years. I spent 5 years managing Tarahills station in Omarama gaining a lot of useful management skills. I then did a year on a dairy farm before returning home to my family farm. I meet my partner through young farmers at the regional final.

Why are you standing for the Young Farmers Board?

I believe that the young farmers board needs a farmer on it.
I want to see young farmers strive as a organisation for generations to come. I also want to further my skills and to learn more about governance. Currently I’m in a great position to be on the board, as I have stepped back from management roles in my work life and can make young farmers a priority.

What skills do you think you will bring to the Young Farmers Board?

As mentioned above I have learned great management skills. I have gained leadership skills through previous involvement in young farmers. Previous experience on the young farmers national committee has taught me decisive action is important.

Name one key area of Young Farmers that you would like to focus or build on and describe why.

I’d like to focus on the contest, I’d like to make it more focused on what members believe is important to be the young farmer of the year. Currently I feel it’s becoming a sponsors event and not representative of the membership base.

What has been your contribution to Young Farmers whilst a member?

I originally joined the Upper Waitaki Club and revived it from 2 members to a thriving club. I went on to chair Upper Waitaki for 3 years. Following this I became chair of the Aorangi region and currently have been for the last two and a half years which has included being part of the national committee. I’ve convened a district contests and been on the regional final contest committee twice. I’ve entered the district contest 3 times and qualified for the regional final last year, only for it to be canceled by COVID. I’ve helped organise and competed in competitions most years and represented Aorangi at the finals for clay bird shooting.




Capture5 Name: James Robertson

Club: Auckland Young Farmers Club

 Tell us about yourself in 100 words. Include relevant skills, qualifications and background.

I've had the pleasure of being involved with New Zealand Young Farmers for the past 9 years, holding various roles and chairmanships with clubs ranging in size from 15 members to 250 members. I have a passion for the Agri sector and creating opportunity for our young farmers within it. Throughout my career and studies I have developed a broad network within agribusiness, including Dairy, Horticulture, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association, Platinum Primary Producers group. I hold the role as a the Technical Associate for the Managing Director of Co-operative Affairs at Fonterra, work closely with executive management and the Board of NZ’s largest company. My role involves working on dynamic and complex problems, whilst manging key stakeholder, whilst developing strategic thinking and governance exposure.

Why are you standing for the Young Farmers Board?

New Zealand Young Farmers has undertaken a reset in the past two years and now faces a cross roads in its journey. Membership numbers have been on the continual decline, a challenge that needs acute attention and focus in order to solve. An active growing membership base is the lifeblood of an organisation like New Zealand Young Farmers and I want to focus on tangible outcomes that directly benefit and empower members, ensuring that the organisation continues to exist and add value to its members for the next 50 years. I am also standing for the Board to provide continuity for the Contest Sub-Committee. Having been appointed as a member of the Sub-Committee late last year, I am in the process of leading the development of a contest strategy refresh, resetting the focus of the contest on its core purpose of finding the best New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year, whilst being a practical and attractive event for all members for members to compete in and a spectacle for the public to support – watch this space. I here to ensure that members are we have a member and volunteer centric organisation which puts members first in every activity and decision. Ensuring you as members get the most bang for your buck, always going back to the question ‘is this for the best of our members?’

What skills do you think you will bring to the Young Farmers Board?

  • • Governance and accountability
    • Effective leadership
    • Risk management experience and good personal judgement
    • Communication, public speaking
    • Strategy development
    • Stakeholder management
    • Problem solving and ideation
    • Financial experience and budgeting
    • Member networks and experience
    • Contest experience
    • Industry networks and contacts
    • Following through with commitments

Name one key area of Young Farmers that you would like to focus or build on and describe why

NZYF membership has been declining since I became a member, the value of membership comes from our social events, development opportunities, the contest and the networks built within NZFY and the wider industry. I want to ensure that NZYF is a member centric organisation, focused purely on creating return and value for its members – measuring success by membership numbers and member satisfaction or promotion. Lets not hide away from the reason why many of our members join NZYF, we are here to have a good time. 

What has been your contribution to Young Farmers whilst a member?

 9 years of involvement – held a role in each of those 9 years
• Teen AG – HBHS 2012-2014 (Chairman 2012-2014)
• Massey YF member 2015-2017 (Chairman 2017)
• Tara/Man Regional committee 2017
• Auckland YF member 2018-2021 (Chairman 2020-21)
• FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2019-2020
• Northern Treasurer 2020-2021
• Contest Sub-Committee appointed member 2020-2021


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Name: Braydon Schroder 

Club: Reporoa Young Farmers

 Tell us about yourself in 100 words. Include relevant skills, qualifications and background.

Those who know me, will know I am always up for farm chat. Raised on a farm in the Wairarapa, went to high school in Palmerston North, and graduated with a First Class Honours in Agricultural Science from studies at Lincoln and Guelph (Canada) Universities. I live and breathe agriculture as a Farm Supervisor in the BOP and Waikato regions for half my days and a Farm Advisor for the other half. Any spare time I get outside of advising company directors and supervising staff I dedicate to growing my dairy stud, family, hunting and our Young Farmers organisation.

Why are you standing for the Young Farmers Board?

NZYF has given so much to me over the time I have been a member. It has given me lifelong friends and memories, a community in a new location, experiences and skills I may not have otherwise received and a network of so many amazing people in and outside our industry. It’s for these reasons why I want to give back to our organisation in a role that allows me to continue giving back.
I would like to make the members voice not just more important, but the most important voice and get this better fed through national committee by the regional member delegates to the national board and NZYF staff.
I am passionate in helping people progress and excel in the industry, thus why I want to be able to govern and influence those decisions around our organization's events, club activities and membership culture. I would like to govern the direction/strategy of Young Farmers key assets such as the membership, the Donald Pearson Farm, FMG YFOTY, Teenag, AgriKids and competitions.

What skills do you think you will bring to the Young Farmers Board?

Skills I believe I can provide include an open mind, innovation, idealist, proactive, analytical, initiative, human resource skills, solving club conflicts and assisting club development along with governance experience with farm boards. I have been through various informal and professional trainings for working with all personality types, I have experienced international agriculture industries through scholarships and work along with involvement in 4H clubs in North America which follow a similar purpose to NZYF. I can also bring business acumen from the many businesses I currently run or advise for. This includes understanding certain processes needed to be undertaken for things to occur in large businesses or organisations such as Young Farmers. I have a great understanding of the organisation and assets by sitting in the current board meetings as an observer, being a part of multiple regions and clubs, conducting a review of the Donald Pearson Farm and being a competitor at regional and national competitions and district and regional contests.

Name one key area of Young Farmers that you would like to focus or build on and describe why.

Value of membership. To firstly express the current value of membership better and the various reasons why we may join Young Farmers. Promote the current perks of being a member such as a community to be a part of and provide a sense of belonging, personal/professional development, skills learnt/practised in competitions or contest, networking events and fun!
I would also like to build on this current membership value by improving the culture in the organisation through better interclub relationships, improved communication and reporting streams from all members to our regional and national committee delegates to better push the members voice to the national board and head office for assistance or change to be implemented.

What has been your contribution to Young Farmers whilst a member?

I have been a Young Farmers member since 2015 on various events, clubs, districts, regions and national committees. I have been involved in starting up new clubs and supporting membership growth closely with other members in the Tasman and WaiBOP regions. I completed 3 years on the Tasman regional executive organising the development weekends for club chairs, competitions, skills days, sponsorship and created the Tasman region website as a professional platform to showcase the region. I am now in my third year on the WaiBOP regional executive supporting the new regional executive members to achieve our regional targets and strategy to improve the value of being a Young Farmers member in WaiBOP whilst also representing Young Farmers at Federated Farmers meetings.
I have completed 3-4 years on the National Committee pushing the members perspective to the national board and staff on matters arising. I was the vice chair of the national committee for a year and a half which provided me the opportunity to sit in on the national board meetings and subcommittee meetings to contribute and learn about the organisation without being a director. I have just recently stood down from the National committee Vice Chair position to focus on applying for the board. This observer position helps you understand whether governance or more specifically being a director of NZYF is what you would like to do. My term as observer has confirmed my interest in becoming a director on the NZYF board and for me to further devote my time and energy to make this amazing organisation thrive to ensure as much value as possible is presented to its members.


resizedimage400599 Samantha Bills Screenshot

Name: Samantha Bills

Club: Whanganui Young Farmers Club

Tell us about yourself in 100 words. Include relevant skills, qualifications and background.

I grew up in the Horowhenua on the outskirts of Palmerston North. My parents are involved in dairy farming and are business owners in the area.

After high-school, I went to the University of Otago and completed my Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce. I graduated in 2014 and started practicing in Whanganui. I currently live in Whanganui (splitting my time between Whanganui and my partners farm in Taranaki). I practice as a lawyer specialising in dispute resolution, rural succession/transactions, and generally advising and assisting clients. I have been practicing for the past 7 years and developed my own loyal client base and business in the area.

When I moved to Whanganui, I joined the local Whanganui New Zealand Young Farmers club and was quickly involved in the executive of that Club. This began my NZYF journey.

Why are you standing for the Young Farmers Board?

I am standing for the Board because of two key reasons.

The first is that I have been involved in the highest level of membership representation in NZYF for three years at the National Committee. I have represented the membership at these meeting. It is important to me that NZYF is sustainable as an organisation. I believe that this sustainability will come from good stable membership, financial prudency and consistent delivery of our strategy and purpose. I have seen the current board members make huge gains in this area especially given a very stressful period with financial management, but I would like to see further gains be made and I would like to contribute to those gains.

The second reason I am standing, is because I value service to the community, and I consider that NZYF is delivering a great service to the community. I have received a great deal of value from NZYF over the past 7 years in particular the development of networks and skills that have helped me in my career. I would like to use those skills and invest them back into NZYF to help the organisation have a long standing, better and sustainable future.

What skills do you think you will bring to the Young Farmers Board?

One key area of competency that I have comes from my ability to critically think and review situations. I do this on a daily basis in my work. This is valuable in terms of governance and helping to lead and grow NZYF.

I have been a grass roots member and have been involved in the Local, District, Regional and National Committees over the 7 years that I have been a member. I am aware of immense value that active members get from joining NZYF, but I am also aware of issues that often come up with a discord between members, NO and the governance.

My key competencies which will be valuable to the NZYF board are:

  • critical thinking and analysis
  • legal and compliance knowledge
  • grass roots knowledge
  • involvement in contest
  • previous governance experience
  • strategic thinking
  • communication
  • leadership

Name on key area of Young Farmers that you would like to focus or build on describe why

NZYF can grow and develop. A key area that NZYF should build on is a diverse membership base.

NZYF has proven itself as having a meaningful legacy and a strong history of delivering value to its membership. But membership has declined significantly.

Agriculture, horticulture, arable and rural sectors in New Zealand are very diverse. There are a lot of diverse opinions and schools of thought. If NZYF is going to continue to grow and develop it needs a membership more representative of the community and to appeal to those members. We need a broader catchment.

Primarily, NZYF should be fun, educational, and show case the talents of its members in such a meaningful way that all persons in the sector want to be involved.

What has been your contribution to Young Farmers whilst a member?

I have been heavily involved in NZYF as a member. I joined Whanganui YF Club and was quickly roped into being the Secretary of the Club. I served as secretary for two years. I then became Chair of Whanganui and won best Chairperson in the Region for my time in this role. At the same time, I served as the treasurer and vice-chair of the Manawatu District Committee.

I then joined the Tara-Man Regional Committee as Vice-Chairperson and served in the Role for two years. This was when I started to attend National Committee as a delegate of the Taranaki-Manawatu Region.

Two and a half years ago, I was appointed the National Committee Delegate for the Tara-Man Region. I have consistently attended National Committee in this role and have served as the Chairperson of the Competitions Committee organising with other members the National Competitions over the past two years and supporting regions to run their Competitions weekends. A key part of this has been bringing Competitions back to Grand Final and having Competitions as the sole national event that occurred last year with the interruptions of Covid-19.

I also convened a Regional Final in Whanganui and have supported members running District Competitions. I have run modules and competed in Districts.