Now heading to the Grand Final in Christchurch in July to battle it out for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year national title, McCahon, 24, said he was feeling a bit shell shocked but excited about his regional win.
“It’s pretty amazing, I think it will take a bit for it to sink in properly. It’s been an incredible and challenging day. A lot of things didn’t quite go my way, I didn’t finish some things to the standard I normally would, but I pushed through. I'm really pleased with how it went.”
The Solutions and Development Specialist with DairyNZ beat out second time regional finalist Chris Poole, 26, with only 9 points between them.
FMG Insurance mobile rural consultant Joshua Rainey, 25, was awarded third place.
The eight regional finalists competed in eight modules and battled it out head-to-head in two time and point races at Tauranga Racecourse on Saturday 27th February.
A written exam, as well as the famous FMG Young Farmer of the Year (FMG YFOTY) buzzer quiz also tested the regional finalist’s knowledge.
With the contest based around four strainers – technology and innovation, environment, people, food – finalists who earned the top points in each strainer also won awards.
McCahon has a Bachelor of Agri-Science from Massey University and a Masters of Agribusiness Management from the University of Waikato. While his book smarts landed him top marks to take out the Exam Prize, he says the sausage making module almost got the better of him.
“I’ll admit I was lost there for a bit during that module. My grandfather used to make sausages for the family ,and he was actually there supporting me so there was this added pressure to not stuff up!” he said.
His previous two regional finals taught him some valuable lessons about himself and he says that he believes this helped him prepare for this competition.
“I have a tendency to overthink things. Having the consequences of that in previous competitions, I’ve learnt now to take my time and be patient. Having that awareness of myself has made a difference in how I approach things,” he said.
With a close-knit support crew of friends, family and mentors on the sidelines today, McCahon is now thinking ahead to the Grand Final.
“I will definitely be calling on my contacts for their knowledge and support. People are everything in this industry. A really big part of Young Farmers and this competition is the connections you build. I’m lucky to know some amazing and talented people who I’ll be hitting up to help me scrub up on my weak points,” he said.
Chris Poole along with his wife Emma, took the plunge last year and entered into an equity partnership with his parents. In the lead up to this regional final he didn’t have any expectations.
“I’m stoked to get runner-up. It’s my second regional final, my first was a few years ago so I’ve got a bit of age and wisdom on my side now,” he jokes.
“I think I approached this year a lot more relaxed and confident in myself and my ability. I’ve also got some experience under my belt as an employer which came in handy with some of the questions that came up today.”
Like McCahon, the sausage making module had Poole wanting to skip some steps and chuck them straight on BBQ. Sausage issues aside, Poole says he feels he performed well across the board and while this competition may be his last, he encourages everyone to give it a go.
“I watch people like Edward Roskam who competed today, he did a sterling job for a bloke of only 17. He’s a top bloke and is one to watch I think,
“I’m hoping next competition I’ll be on the sidelines supporting my wife, Emma, to compete. She’ll do amazing I just know,” he said.
Hamilton City Young Farmers Club member Joshua Rainey said it was a privilege to compete alongside such talented people and that he’s stoked with his placing.
“I’ll admit I didn’t prepare quite as well as I could have for today, but I had some great personal wins like smashing the drainage module first go. It’s all about improving, learning new skills and making connections.” he said.
“If you're thinking about competing just do it. Ask someone that’s been through it and just give it a go. The judges are great at giving advice and guidance on how to improve when you’ve finished a module so take those notes on board,” he said.
1st Kieran McCahon, 24, Hamilton City Young Farmers
2nd Chris Poole, 26, Te Kawa West Young Farmers
3rd Josh Rainey, 25, Hamilton City Young Farmers
Innovation and Technology - Chris Poole
Food - Josh Rainey
People - Kieran McCahon
Environment - Kieran McCahon
Exam Winner - Kieran McCahon
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