After a year of devastating personal loss, Levi Hart is determined to make the most of all life has to offer.
The 29-year-old Mid-Canterbury farmer has secured a spot at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Aorangi Regional Final, an annual competition dedicated to showcasing the very best talent of New Zealand’s food and fibre sector.
Pictured: Aorangi North District Contest winners, L-R Andrew Allen, Levi Hard, Jess Cunliffe and Peter O'Connor
Each contestant competed against 14 people from their district. Levi is one of eight contestants headed for the Regional Final.
With a feed assessment job that takes him and his partner around the country, Hart loves to be social and meet new people, learning about different farming systems and how different places operate.
“Farming is a changing beast, and it puts a lot of people through adversity, but you see that passion and the drive that people have to do better. I think it’s fantastic, ultimately, we’re caretakers of the land.”
People, he’s found, are what is most important when ‘the going gets tough’. In the past year, he and his partner have suffered multiple bereavements. Grateful for the support they received from the farming community, this year he wanted to give back by volunteering at Rural Support Trust.
“If having one conversation with one person changes their outlook on what’s happening then that’s a massive win.”
The competition is now in its 55th year, and New Zealand Young Farmers Board Chair Jessie Waite says Season 55 is shaping up to be an exciting one.
“It’s great to see the involvement our competitors have in their local community, and how they are giving back to help others.”
There are seven Regional Finals running across Aotearoa between February and April 2023. No competition is the same, and contestants start the day not knowing which of their skills will be put to the test.
Each Regional Final will decide who will be competing at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in July 2023 and the winner will receive around $70,000 worth of prizes.
The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest Series would not be possible without support from its family of sponsors: FMG, Ravensdown, Worksafe, MPI, Environmental Protection Authority, Honda, STIHL, Massey University, Lincoln University, New Holland, PTS Logistics and Bushbuck.
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