Last finalist found for FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay

Posted by on 14 April 2019 | Comments

A Waipukurau man who grew up in town has secured the final spot in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay.

Joseph Watts, 28, won the fiercely-contested East Coast regional final in Dannevirke last night.

“I’m pretty stoked, but I’m a bit nervous about the next couple of months. I don’t have long to prepare for the grand final in July,” he said.

Joseph is a technical field representative with PGG Wrightson and was raised in Palmerston North.

“I never really knew anything about agriculture, I hadn’t had an introduction to it,” he said.

“Once I did, I realised the potential was there for anyone to shape a rewarding career in the primary industries.”

Joseph WattsThe regional final saw eight finalists tackle a series of gruelling modules at Pukemiro Station in Dannevirke.

They included using a drone to spot a water leak, a butchery challenge, weighing and shearing sheep and artificial breeding.

Contestants’ grasp of agricultural-related road rules were tested by a police officer in a module involving the New Holland police tractor.

The practical event was followed by a fast-paced agri-knowledge quiz hosted by Te Radar at the Dannevirke Town Hall.

The prestigious contest has undergone a major overhaul since marking its 50th anniversary in Invercargill last year.

“We’re now showcasing all aspects of what it means to be a modern food producer,” said Te Radar.

Joseph has several qualifications from Massey University, including a Graduate Diploma in Rural Studies. This was his first regional final.

The win will mean he will represent the East Coast at the grand final in Hawke’s Bay on July 4th-6th.

“I’d like to think I will have a bit of an advantage because it will be easier to rally local support,” he said.

Joseph’s win netted him $12,000 worth of prizes, including an XR150 Honda farm bike and a WorkSafe leadership course in Wellington.

The Tikokino Young Farmers member was named the most tech-savvy contestant, and took home awards for outstanding leadership skills and showcasing innovation.

Greytown contract milker Hamish Hammond, 29, came second.

Rob Barry, 27, who is the sustainability lead for the BEL Group of farms, placed third. He won the food award and the prize for championing environmental best practice.

All seven finalists who will clash in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay are now known.

They are Matt McRae, Alan Harvey, Georgie Lindsay, Alex Field, Joseph Watts, Emma Dangen and James Robertson. 

The Young Farmer of the Year is an iconic contest which began in 1969 and showcases the country’s agri-food sector.

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


East Coast regional final results:

1st Joseph Watts:

2nd Hamish Hammond

3rd Rob Barry


Innovation Award: Joseph Watts

People Award: Joseph Watts

Food Award: Rob Barry

Environment Award: Rob Barry

Technology Award: Joseph Watts