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Caleb Eady: Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Written by
NZ Young Farmers

On a frosty weekend morning, you can find Caleb Eady and his family out on the farm, his two young daughters clutching cups of hot chocolate.  

“It’s a bit hectic on a weekday getting us all out there before daycare, but after a busy week of my wife and I contract fencing, getting out on our farm is exactly what’s needed,” he says.  

Nestled in the natural beauty of Whangārei, 30-year-old Caleb and his wife India lease a 120-hectare beef farm with dairy grazers, a small calf-rearing operation, and their own fencing business. The two have a lot on their plate with work, study, and raising a young family.
 
Caleb, who is spending his evenings studying for the competition, says he owes a lot to his wife for supporting his preparation for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final. 

“I couldn’t be doing it without her,” he says.  Raised in Whangārei, Caleb spent his childhood much like his own kids. But instead of living on a farm, he grew up on a five-acre lifestyle block amongst rolling farmland, and with the help of the community, his passion for farming grew.
 
“I went to a rural school, and many of my friends lived on farms. I’d go visit them and help milk cows. We’d just hang out on the land. I started competing in Young Farmers at 16, took a break for a bit, and then got back into it once I started farming full-time after school.” 

From farming in the Wairarapa, to shepherding in Scotland and Australia, Caleb spent much of his twenties working and travelling. On his return home he joined the Bay of Islands Young Farmers Club and set up his fencing business, eager to get stuck in and find his foot in the community again.   

“Community has always been such a big part of my life,” he says. “Whangārei is really strong and supportive, there are some very successful and experienced farmers up here that are pretty keen to help young farmers out.” 

“My fencing clients talk a lot to me about farming, and we have good camaraderie, sharing experiences and asking each other for advice on what’s going on.” 

In preparation for the Grand Final, Caleb is getting as much advice as he can from Young Farmers alumni. 

“In the Northern region of Young Farmers, we’re pretty lucky that we have such a strong network of alumni members, especially older guys who have done a lot of convening. Some have even competed in the Grand Final themselves.  

“I’ve kept in regular contact with a few of those guys and they keep me motivated to keep studying and give it all I’ve got. It is my last chance, after all.” 

With his wife and kids coming down to Hamilton to support him in July, Caleb thinks it’s high time to reflect on his journey and look forward to the future. 

“Our ultimate goal is to own a farm in the sheep or beef industry. I never want to stop upskilling and being involved in the industry, however I end up contributing.  

“This journey to the Grand Final has made me think of what I want to get out of my career going forward. It’s an exciting place to be in, and you never know what’s around the corner – especially with the competition.” 

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Written by
NZ Young Farmers

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