OPINION: Rewards on offer in FMG Young Farmer of the Year events

Posted by on 17 October 2018 | Comments

Tags: ,

Are you one of the hundreds of young New Zealanders vying to be the next FMG Young Farmer of the Year?

I am, or should I say, was.

Earlier this month I competed in the Christchurch District Contest and Skills Day at the Courtenay A&P Showgrounds.

Sadly I didn’t make the top three, but it was still heaps of fun, despite the chilly temperatures.

I was one of 12 NZ Young Farmers members who spent the day tackling about a dozen modules which tested our practical and theoretical skills.

We had to assemble a shearing handpiece, class wool, identify different types of plants and reverse a quad bike and trailer.

We also had to judge milking sheep. I’m a contract milker, so I’m used to looking at an udder with four teats – not two!

One of the best things about the day is getting to know other members from the region’s 11 NZ Young Farmers clubs.

It’s also a great way to benchmark yourself, learn new skills and broaden your knowledge.

It’s one of four qualifying events being held across the Tasman Region between now and December 9th.

They will produce eight finalists who’ll go head to head at the Tasman Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year next March.

Jonny Brown, Alex Knowles and my partner Martin Bates all made it through from the Christchurch District Contest.

The event in March will also include the Tasman Regional Final for the first FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year.

It’s the rebranded competition for TeenAg members.

I know many are excited their hotly-contested event now has some of the prestige of the main contest.

But it’s not just people putting their hand up to have a go who deserve a pat on the back.

The volunteers who plan and run these events during a busy time of the year should be congratulated as well.

Without them these opportunities to challenge and upskill wouldn’t exist.

It’s the same for programmes like the NZ Dairy Industry Awards, which is also currently seeking entries.

It’s fantastic to see our members who’re former winners now stepping up to help run the awards.

Imagine how many fewer opportunities there would be for young people in rural areas to connect, grow, learn and benchmark themselves without hard-working volunteers organising and running contests.

Thumbs up to their employers who juggle rosters and provide some flexibility to enable them to give back.

*Vanessa Robinson is the chair of the Tasman Region of NZ Young Farmers.