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S54: Otago Southland FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year & AgriKidsNZ winners

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NZ Young Farmers

The competition was hot on Saturday as 70 teams went head-to-head in a bid to take out the Otago Southland AgriKidsNZ and FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year titles.

Twins Zoe McElrea (Columba College) and Millar McElrea (John McGlashan College) were crowned FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year Otago Southland champions and will be off to compete at the Grand Final in July.

Meanwhile, the ‘Agriboys’, Jud Duffy, Will Bensemann, and Theo Dynes from St Peter’s College in Gore took out the top spot for the AgriKidsNZ contest.

The FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year contestants were challenged to a range of practical and theoretical modules, with Zoe and Millar enjoying the challenge of the Ravensdown module, “we had to identify the process that you would go through to grow different crops”. In the lead-up to the Grand Final, they say they will be doing plenty of study and preparation. “We’ll get dad to take us around the farm and do some fencing,” says Zoe.

The Otago Southland FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest series was held on Saturday (12th February) at the Southern Field Days Venue in Waimumu, Gore.   

Under the red light covid protection framework, each event was held separately with entries capped at 35 teams on rotation to comply with the 100-person capacity limits.  

New Zealand Young Farmers Events Manager, Staci Barnette said contest season has come with its challenges this year. Despite the hurdles, she was ecstatic to have pulled off the first event under the red-light framework and credited a strong team of staff, sponsors, volunteers, and members.  

"Everything ran relatively smoothly and while it was a shame to have to cap entries particularly for our most popular region, it was epic to see the teams on the day come out in full force and enjoy it," she said.  

"The top three AgriKidsNZ teams were the epitome trying their best to win while also having fun and the top two FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year teams really dug deep to get on the leaderboard, especially with their general knowledge for the buzzer quiz." 

"We're really excited to actually be able to move forward with the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest Series this year and do it safely." 

In second place for FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year Otago Southland was Tia Fowle and Renee Zwagerman and third went to Kate Bennett and Grace Duthie. The runner-up spot for AgriKidsNZ Otago Southland went to The Blazing Pitchforks (Ewan Breach, Harry Blair-Edie, and Oliver Deans) from Hauroko Valley Primary, with third place going to the Winton Shepherds (Brodie McIlwrick, Hunter Glover, and Maddy Dodds) from Winton School.

The top two FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year teams and top three AgriKidsNZ teams have been invited to the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Whangarei this July.   

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest Series would not be possible without support from its family of sponsors: FMG, Ravensdown, Worksafe, Ministry for Primary Industries, Environmental Protection Authority, Honda, STIHL, Massey University, Lincoln University, New Holland, and PTS Logistics.  

Written by
NZ Young Farmers

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