Christchurch to host 2020 FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final

Posted by on 10 July 2019 | Comments


Christchurch is set to host the national final of an iconic contest showcasing the country’s food and fibre producers.

It’s been confirmed next year’s FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final will be held in the area in July.

The announcement was made at this year’s grand final in Hawke’s Bay on Saturday night. 

“This is a really exciting opportunity to highlight the important role Canterbury plays in our agri-food sector,” said convenor Sarah Heddell.

The region consists of a diverse mix of dairy, sheep and beef, and cropping operations.

Half of New Zealand’s grain seed and fodder crop land is in Canterbury, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The last grand final in the region was in 2014.

“Christchurch is New Zealand’s third-largest city. The contest is a great way to help grow urban residents’ understanding of modern food production,” said NZ Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith.

“The popular practical day showcases the innovation and technology being used by farmers to produce food and fibre more efficiently.”

The agricultural contest has been testing the knowledge and stamina of young farmers since 1969.

James Robertson, 22, was named the 51st FMG Young Farmer of the Year in front of a crowd of almost 700 people in Napier on Saturday.

He’s the youngest contestant ever to win the grand final of the prestigious agricultural contest.

Convening an FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final is a dream role for Sarah Heddell.

The 31-year-old Dunsandel Young Farmers member is a land management and biodiversity advisor for Environment Canterbury and lives in Ashburton.

She’s helped run four regional finals - convening two of them - and was majorly involved with the 2014 grand final.

“I love everything about the contest. It challenges people and helps them to learn and grow, it highlights the vital role the agri-food sector plays in the economy and it also brings people together,” said Sarah.

Sarah and her organising committee are currently in discussions with Christchurch City Council about locations for key aspects of the event.

“I’d like to have the opening parade and ceremony in town. It’s a lively event involving school children from across New Zealand,” she said.

The technical day will be held at Blinc Innovation at Lincoln University.

Venues for the gruelling practical day and hugely popular quiz and evening show are still being decided, but will be within the Christchurch city district.

The event will take place 2nd-4th July 2020.

National finals for the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year and AgriKidsNZ competitions are run alongside the contest. 

The contest is supported by FMG, Ravensdown, Honda, WorkSafe, Zero Harm Farm, STIHL, Lincoln University, Massey University, Southfuels, Northfuels, Betacraft and New Holland.