Alex Field, 28, has once again secured himself a spot at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final. Alex, a Farm Manager near Mossburn, was announced as the winner of the Otago Southland FMG Young Farmer of the Year on Saturday night after a full day of challenges.
Fencing Contractor Isaac Johnston, 28, was named as runner up FMG Young Farmer of the Year, meanwhile, George Blyth, 22, came in third place.
The Otago Southland Regional Final Organising Committee was made up of local NZ Young Farmers members and was led by Zac Thomas. The team put on an outstanding day, challenging Contestants to a range of tasks ensuring to test their ability and knowledge of the food and fibre sector. After a year of hard work, it was great to see the event come alive: “the best part of convening is seeing all your hard work come to fruition,” explained Zac.
Although a bit gusty out on the field, Waimumu put on a great day as the eight Regional Finalists battled it out at the Southern Field Days Venue. Alex has always wanted to get back to the grand final, and winning the Agri-Sports Challenge was something he’s “always wanted to do”. Alex said the day was “physically taxing, but the enjoyment overrode the pain”. Field competed in the Grand Final in 2019 and won the award for outstanding leadership skills.
Isaac Johnston, a member of the West Otago Young Farmers Club, is a first-time competitor in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest, qualifying at the Otago District Contest, the first stage of the competition. In his second Regional Final, George Blyth was representing the Clinton/South Otago Young Farmers Club and qualified at the Southland District Contest.
The contest is based on four pillars – agri-skills, agri-business, agri-sports and agri-knowledge.
Alex Field will battle it for the title of FMG Young Farmer of the Year at the Grand Final in Whangarei this July against six other regional final winners (yet to be held) from across the country.
New Zealand Young Farmers Chief Executive Lynda Coppersmith said the stakes for 2022 were incredibly high, being the third contest season impacted by the global pandemic.
"Entries for FMG Young Farmer of the Year were up 30% this year despite the uncertainty of COVID which is a credit to all our amazing volunteers, members, sponsors, and staff who put this contest together," she said.
"My gratitude for everyone's efforts extends beyond words and I am really proud to see how everyone has worked together to deliver another season, to pivot and adapt to new challenges including the red-light framework."
"The calibre of competitors at each Regional Final is the highest I have seen it and is an extraordinary showcase of the skills and knowledge needed to be involved in the primary industries in this day and age."
"Our competitors represent the full diversity of the primary industries and the array of opportunities available and goes to show that New Zealand Young Farmers' members really are the best and brightest."
The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest Series would not be possible without support from its family of sponsors: FMG, Ravensdown, Worksafe, Ministry for Primary Industries, Environmental Protection Authority, Honda, STIHL, Massey University, Lincoln University, New Holland and PTS Logistics.
1ST Alex Field, Nightcaps Young Farmers
2ND Isaac Johnston, West Otago Young Farmers
3RD George Blyth, Clinton/South Otago Young Farmers
Top points Agri-Skills: Alex Field
Top points Agri-Business: Alex Field
Top points Agri-Sports: Alex Field
Top points Agri-Knowledge: James Fox
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