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S55: FMG Young Farmer of the Year contestant back for a shot at redemption

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NZ Young Farmers

28-year-old Zac Thomas has been out on farm since he was “old enough to sneak out of the house”.

Involved in a bit of everything, he’s busy each day working with stock and managing crops. His impressive work ethic has recently landed him a spot in the upcoming FMG Young Farmer of the Year Otago Southland Regional Final.

Held up as one of the biggest primary sector awards in the country, the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest boasts a strong track record of showcasing the very best talent and skills New Zealand’s food and fibre sector has to offer. Contestants are put through their paces, first by having to qualify at their District Contest, then their Regional Final, before battling it out at the Grand Final.

Each contestant competed against 14 people from their district. Zac is one of eight contestants headed for the Regional Final.

Zac works on his grandparents’ farm south of Gore. This year is his second regional final – his first one was in 2019. He also convened the Otago Southland competition last year.

He says what excites him most about farming is that you can get ahead if you work hard.

“It’s an industry where if you’re willing to put the sweat and time in, you can get ahead and achieve your goals.”

New Zealand Young Farmers Board Chair Jessie Waite says this season’s competition is shaping up to be an exciting one.

“As the contest has evolved over the last 55 years it’s amazing to see there’s still so much passion out there. I can’t wait to see what this year’s qualifiers bring to the table.”

Organised by NZ Young Farmers, there will be seven FMG Young Farmer of the Year Regional Finals between February and April 2023. Each regional final will decide who will be competing at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in July 2023 in Timaru.

No competition is the same, and contestants start the day not knowing which of their skills will be put to the test. The winner of the Contest will receive around $70,000 worth of prizes.

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest Series would not be possible without support from its family of sponsors: FMG, Ravensdown, Worksafe, MPI, Environmental Protection Authority, Honda, STIHL, Massey University, Lincoln University, New Holland, PTS Logistics and Bushbuck.

Meet more Otago Southland Regional Finalists


Written by
NZ Young Farmers

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