Puketoi Young Farmer Mark Wallace has taken out the title of East Coast FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
The 30-year-old is a farmworker on a sheep, beef and cropping farm, having previously spent five years as a veterinarian.
Dairy farmer Josh Wilkinson, 24, from Dannevirke Young Farmers was named as runner up, meanwhile, Tikokino Young Farmer and shepherd Ben Gordon, 27, came in third place.
The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Regional Final was held on Saturday at Russell Park in Waipukurau.
Upon receiving the award at the evening show, Wallace, a first-time competitor was extremely appreciative of the regional final convener Joseph Watts and the rest of the convening committee.
“You put a really good day on, there was something for everyone out there, there was certainly a lot of things I struggled with,” he said.
He also personally thanked a number of people who helped him along the way, particularly with his fencing skills and those who repeatedly prompted him to study.
“A special thanks to all the competitors, everyone was really good at something, I certainly wasn’t the best on the practical side there was some great fencing out there. And I’m appreciating the massive irony in winning this trophy with a gate when I couldn’t even get the gate on,” he laughed referring to the head to head challenge – a time and points race.
Ahead of Grand Final, Wallace said he will be focusing on improving his practical skills.
The contest is based on four pillars – agri-skills, agri-business, agri-sports and agri-knowledge.
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 and PTS Logistics.
Statement from New Zealand Young Farmers Chief Executive Lynda Coppersmith:
"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.
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."
1st: Mark Wallace
2nd: Josh Wilkinson
3rd: Ben Gordon
Top points Agri-Skills: Ben Gordon
Top points Agri-Business: Mark Wallace
Top points Agri-Sports: Josh Wilkinson
Top points Agri-Knowledge: Mark Wallace
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