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S55: Lisa Kendall crowned Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Written by
NZ Young Farmers

Franklin Young Farmers member Lisa Kendall has once again been crowned the Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year, earning her the seventh and final spot at the Season 55 Grand Final in July.

Kendall, 31, is a third-time Regional Final winner and will be heading to the Grand Final in Timaru in two months’ time. The mother of two says she was relieved to get the win on Saturday night and to have another shot at the Grand Final, after Covid-19 restrictions cancelled the 2020 event. This was her last chance before she ages out of the New Zealand Young Farmers organisation.

“The last couple of years have been a bit frustrating – with 2020 being cancelled, coming third place in 2021 and then coming second in 2022 – I just wanted one last chance at Grand Final!”

Kendall was announced as the winner of the Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year in Kaikohe on Saturday evening, after spending the weekend competing in a range of challenges at the Kaikohe A&P Showgrounds. 

The two-day event is the second of its kind in the Contest’s 55-year history. Usually, District Contests are held months in advance of the Regional Final, but the new trial format aims to streamline the process by running a District Final on day one and then hitting with a Regional Final on day two. Kendall was one of eight to make it through to Saturday’s Regional Final. 

“It was tough having two days of competition in a row. Being able to stay switched on mentally the whole time was hard. But as our Convenor Caleb Eady said, this is a similar format to Grand Final, so it was the perfect warm-up!”

It was a tight competition, with Kendall taking the win from fellow competitor Sam Waugh who was top of the leaderboard heading into the Buzzer Quiz on Saturday evening.

“It was stressful at the end there. While you’re competing, you never know what the margin is between you and the person ahead, so I just decided to give it my all and hope for the best.

Sam Waugh, also from Franklin Young Farmers placed second, with Zarnie Fergusson from Kaipara Young Farmers securing the final spot on the podium.

The lead-up to Grand Final is looking busy for Kendall, who is also Regional Coordinator for the Farm Environment Awards, a small business owner, runs a small farm, and has two young sons. 

“Trying to fit in any preparation will be challenging. I don’t have any set plans, but I know some of my weaknesses, so I’ll be focusing on those.”

The next generation of young farmers also took part in Saturday’s competition, with Tessa Berger and Mary Innes from Mahurangi College taking out the Northern FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year title. The Gumboot Girls made up of Sarah Louise Varney, Rubee Elizabeth Magdalen Mortensen and Kaia Tui DeGoldi were the Northern AgriKidsNZ winners.

Meanwhile, Jessica Quinlan and Jonathan Varney placed second in the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year Competition.

Runner-up and third in the AgriKidsNZ contest were Teagan Bourke, Shiloh Moore-Boyle and Amelia Moon from Kamo Intermediate School and classmates Wyatt Parry, AJ Crene and Robbie Bent. They have been invited to July’s FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.

New Zealand Young Farmer Board Chair Jessie Waite says this year’s Grand Final is looking to be one of the best yet.

“We’re starting to get a glimpse of the impressive array of skills and talent coming through with the next generation of young farmers. There’s so much happening right now in the primary sector with science, innovation and new technologies. The future of farming is certainly bright.”
Waite says she’s thankful for the support of volunteers and sponsors who continue to back the event, year after year.

“The contest wouldn’t be what it is today without them. There’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes – from coming up with ideas for the competition to supplying the equipment needed on the day and helping with the set-up of the event. We’re so grateful to everyone who has played a part.”

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest is proudly supported by FMG, Ravensdown, WorkSafe, Environmental Protection Authority, Ministry for Primary Industries, Milwaukee, Honda, Lincoln University, Massey University, PTS Logistics, New Holland and Bushbuck.

Written by
NZ Young Farmers

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