Canterbury students heading to the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final

Posted by on 26 June 2019 | Comments


Four Canterbury high school students are preparing to compete in the coveted national final of a gruelling agri-food event.

Almost 30 students will converge on Hawke’s Bay next week for the hotly-contested FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.

The competition will be the culmination of months of preparation for St Andrew’s College student Jack Stokes.

“We’re really excited. It’s been a few years since a team from our school has made it through to the grand final, so it’s an amazing opportunity,” he said.

The 17-year-old will compete with fellow St Andrew’s College boarder Charlie Kinney, 18. The pair will fly to Napier next Thursday.

“We’ve had an unbelievable amount of support in the lead up to the event,” he said.

“We’ve been meeting weekly with our school’s two leaders of agriculture who’ve been quizzing us on our general and agricultural knowledge. It’s been really helpful.”

The duo will go head-to-head with Caitlin Rhodes, 17, and Luci Grigg, 17, from Rangiora High School.

“We’re starting to get a bit nervous, it’s not long now until the competition kicks off,” said Caitlin, who lives on a lifestyle block.

“We’ve been doing a lot of study and trying to grow our knowledge and skills as much as possible.”

It will be the first time both teams have competed at the grand final which tests the practical and theoretical knowledge of the contestants.

Last year’s national final in Invercargill was won by St Bede’s College students Angus Grant and Nick O’Connor.

Last week the school’s teacher in charge of agriculture John McPhail organised a mini version of the competition.

Seventeen teams of students competed in the event, including the two teams which will represent Tasman in Hawke’s Bay.

“Students were given eight minutes to complete each module. It was a really successful day and I hope it helped them prepare for grand final,” said John.

The modules included calculating and allocating feed to dairy cows, sheep genetics, measuring a soil’s water holding capacity, fencing, fresh water ecology, on farm risks and a 50-question agriculture and horticulture general knowledge quiz.

The teams heading to grand final finished in the top three – a good omen for next week.

“Competing in the mini contest helped a lot. It was great to get in some more practice to help us sharpen our skills and highlight areas we need to work on,” said Jack.

John McPhail said he’d love to see the coveted trophy stay in Canterbury.

Not only have students been cramming for the event, they’ve also been busy fundraising to help cover travel costs.

“Waimakariri Young Farmers has been really supportive. They helped collect used batteries which were sold to a scrap metal dealer. It was a really successful fundraiser,” said Caitlin.

The FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final will be held alongside the prestigious FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final and the AgriKidsNZ Grand Final, which will attract more than 60 students.

The events kicks off with an opening parade and ceremony on July 4th, followed by the highly-anticipated practical day on July 5th at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds.