The finalists for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2022 Northern Regional Final have been announced.
Donald's Farm Manager Sam Waugh, fencing contracting business owner Caleb Eady, goat milk harvester Carmen Guy, beef farmer Tim Dangen, Nurture Farming Ltd owner/operator Lisa Kendall, Silver Fern Farms' Technical Systems Assessor Memphis Wright, dairy and beef farmer Zarnie Fergusson and Franklin Young Farmer Annaliese Goettler will battle it out for the title of Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
The preliminary stages of the contest have wrapped up with eight competitors chosen from a virtual District Contest after COVID-19 restrictions prevented the events from being held in person.
The eight competitors will go head-to-head at the Regional Final on Saturday second April in Auckland.
A first time Regional Finalist, Zarnie Fergusson, 28, breeds pure Angus cattle on a 50ha block in Waitoki, finishes Hereford cross steers on a 95ha lease block in Kaukapakapa and is also employed on the family dairy farm as a Farm Owner Representative.
She grew up in Central Auckland and had plans to study and end up in the health sector, but that changed when she moved to the dairy farm to help take care of her grandmother.
"While I was living there, I figured I should find something to do with the time I wasn't spending with my grandmother, so I bought a line of 20 weaners," she said.
"The farming life took hold of me rather aggressively and I'm still well and truly entrenched in the farming life. Those 20 weaners turned into more than 1,900 stock units and I have no intention of returning to anything else! Farming is in the blood for me."
Regional Final Convenor Louise Ford is excited to showcase rural New Zealand in the country's biggest city.
"I’m super keen to show off that Auckland Young Farmers’ isn’t just a bunch of city folk, and that the City of Sails isn’t as bad as what you might think," she said.
"I never used to like Auckland, but now that I live here, it's got so much to offer and I want to showcase that, through a farming type of lens."
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.
"With lockdowns in Auckland we had to pivot our Northern District Contests to one virtual competition to choose our eight Regional Finalists. I'm really proud of the work District Contest convenors and committees put in to host it virtually with some incredible challenges that really put all of the competitors to the test," she said.
All FMG Young Farmer of the Year events follow the Covid Protection Framework and My Vaccine Pass requirements.
1st Samuel Waugh, Franklin Young Farmers
2nd Tim Dangen, Auckland City Young Farmers
3rd Zarnie Fergusson, Kaipara Young Farmers
4th Lisa Kendall, Franklin Young Farmers
5th = Caleb Eady, Bay Of Islands Young Farmers
5th = Carmen Guy, Franklin Young Farmers
6th Annaliese Goettler, Franklin Young Farmers
7th Memphis Wright, Northern Wairoa Young Farmers
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