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Piarere Young Farmer takes out Waikato Bay of Plenty FMG Young Farmer of the Year for Season 56

Written by
NZ Young Farmers

A Piarere Young Farmers member is one step closer to winning one of New Zealand’s most prestigious farming awards after being crowned the Season 56 Waikato Bay of Plenty FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Dennis Main, 30, was announced as the Waikato Bay of Plenty FMG Young Farmer of the Year on Saturday evening, following two days of competition at the Kerepehi Domain. Now, he gears up to take on six other regional finalists in the ultimate showdown at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final, being held in Hamilton in July.

The weekend’s event was one of seven Regional Finals happening across Aotearoa between February and April. Details of what challenges would be thrown at the Waikato Bay of Plenty event were kept under wraps from the determined contestants. 

“I didn’t know what to expect, so to come away with the win was a real surprise,” says Main.

DennisMain Blog 2Main competing in one of the head-to-head challenges

This was Main’s first time competing in the iconic contest, after being an active member of Piarere Young Farmers for the past couple of years.

“A few of my mates from the club were entering this year, so I thought I should give it a crack and see what happens!”

Main grew up on the family dairy farm, and after leaving school studied engineering. He spent four years back on the family farm and has now turned his hand to building.

“Being practically minded I really enjoyed the farmlet. It was a great way to be able to focus on the skills you are good at to earn some extra points.”

The farmlet challenge offered contestants dedicated time to craft a miniature farm setup. Tasks included constructing a 3-wire electric fence, a tank and trough reticulated water system, a mailbox, and planning riparian planting.

DennisMain Blog 3
Main at the completion of the farmlet phase

Hamilton City Young Farmers member Stephen Brunskill, age 29, clinched second place. Meanwhile, Morrinsville Ngarua Young Farmers member Cam Clayton, age 28, secured the last spot on the podium.

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition is dedicated to showcasing the very best talent in New Zealand’s food and fibre sector. Now in its 56th year, the title of “FMG Young Farmer of the Year” is held up as one of the most prestigious farming awards in the country.  

With the Grand Final just months away, Main will be focusing on developing his technical skills.

“I’m confident in my practical skills, but I know I need to work on my technical knowledge.”

“I’ll be aiming to gain more industry knowledge and refreshing my brain on other technical topics to make getting up on stage for the quiz a bit easier!”

The next generation was also out competing, with Summer Korkie and Luke Pease from Te Awamutu College taking out the Waikato Bay of Plenty FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year title for 2024. Meanwhile, Jacob Bolt, Isaac Wilson and John Woodward from a combined Otewa School and homeschool team are our 2024 Waikato BOP AgriKidsNZ Champions.

Waikato BOP AgriKidsWaikato BOP AgriKids winners: Jacob Bolt, John Woodward, Isaac Wilson

James Hill and Ben Ede from Cambridge High School placed second in the Waikato Bay of Plenty FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year Competition. 

Runner-up and third in the AgriKidsNZ contest were Ben Barbour, Joshua Barbour and Jackie Sneddon from Te Waotu School and Hannah Wilson, Louise Ann Bulled and Sophie Ella Ann Ferr from Otewa School.

They have also been invited to July’s FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final. 

Waikato BOP FMG Junior
Waikato BOP FMG Junior Young Farmers of the Year for 2024: Summer Korkie & Luke Pease

New Zealand Young Farmers Chief Executive Lynda Coppersmith says this year’s Grand Final is shaping up to be one of the best yet. 

“Every year we continue to be blown away by the calibre of our FMG Young Farmer of the Year contestants, from our AgriKidsNZ participants through to those vying for the regional FMG Young Farmer of the Year title. Their knowledge, skills and passion for the industry is impressive and certainly leaves us excited for the future of our industry.”

Coppersmith says it’s the regional communities and volunteers who have made the FMG Young Farmer of the Year the prestigious event it is today.

“We simply couldn’t do it without the tireless work of our local committees, communities and volunteers. These are people who support us year in, year out, and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has played a part.” 

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

Written by
NZ Young Farmers

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