The competitors for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year East Coast 2022 Regional Final have been announced.
Hugh Banks, Aiden Smith, stock manager William Hobson, Ben Gordon, dairy farmer and Manawatu's 2021 Dairy Trainee of the Year Josh Wilkinson, Mark Wallace, sheep crutcher and calf rearer Samantha Thomson and Pukemiro Station cadet Fergus Casey are the region's top eight competitors.
They will go head-to-head at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year East Coast Regional Final on Saturday 26th March.
Regional Final convener and seasoned competitor Joseph Watts said he was looking forward to being on the other side of the fence as an organiser after competing for the last six years.
Watts was named East Coast FMG Young Farmer of the Year for three years in a row (2019, 2020 and 2021) and came runner up FMG Young Farmer of the Year at Grand Final twice.
"Over that time, I have got a huge amount out of it because of the amazing work that all of the convenors have done in organising those events," he said.
"I wanted to do my small bit to help provide that same opportunity for the next group of competitors to learn some new skills and test the ones they already have."
His mind is set on how to best the competitors’ skills and abilities, rather than trying to work out how to get around the tests himself.
"We want to create an event that is engaging for the audience and the competitors and ensures that we have the best possible competitor representing the East Coast at the Grand Final who has the ability to bring the title home."
New Zealand Young Farmers CEO Lynda Coppersmith said every year, the competition improves despite the tests that COVID-19 have provided for the third season in a row.
“For season 54 we really want to test our competitors and see 'who's up for it'. We've already exceeded last year's entry numbers across the country, despite the fact that entries for a number of district contests are still open."
“All of our volunteers and conveners right across the country have created some incredible challenges so far, with Regional Final season expected to take that to another level.”
Coppersmith said all events in Regional Final season would strictly follow the Government's event guidelines at the time.
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