New Zealand’s top young farmers are preparing to take over Timaru for the annual FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.
Held over three days from Thursday, July 6, the prestigious competition - now in its 55th year - will see seven Grand Finalists battle it out for the coveted title of FMG Young Farmer of the Year and their chance to win around $90,000 worth of prizes.
28 FMG Junior Young Farmers of the Year teams will also compete for a national title, along with 63 AgriKidsNZ competitors from across Aotearoa.
Grand Final convenor Ashleigh Bell says she’s looking forward to showcasing what the Aorangi region is made of with carefully curated challenges designed to capture the unique flavour of the area.
“In Aorangi, we’re known for our diversity, including dairy, sheep, grain and deer farming. We’re lucky enough to have the Southern Canterbury Plains on our doorstep, the rolling hill country and the high country, so there are a lot of different industries in the mix.”
Friday’s practical day at Winchester Showgrounds has a lot to offer spectators, says Bell.
All 98 contestants will go head-to-head in a series of practical and theoretical challenges as well as several modules involving big machinery, livestock and more.
“We want contestants to be really challenged at this event. These competitors are incredibly talented, so we don’t want them gliding through it. They’re going to have to give everything they’ve got to prove they’ve got what it takes to New Zealand’s best,” Bell says.
The AgriKidsNZ and FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year contestants will have their awards ceremony on Friday night, but the fate of the seven FMG Young Farmer of The Year Grand Finalists won’t be decided until after the famous buzzer quiz on the Saturday evening.
“There’s a lot riding on contestants during a Grand Final. They’re constantly thinking about so many different things at once. If they think too far ahead or too far back, they’ll lose focus, so it takes a lot of mental skill to get through the three days.”
NZYF chief executive Lynda Coppersmith says picking a winner is anyone’s guess.
“This event is going to be phenomenal to watch. The talent is out of this world, proof that the future of farming in Aotearoa is bright.”
The FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest series would not be possible without its family of sponsors FMG, Ravensdown, WorkSafe, Environmental Protection Authority, Ministry for Primary Industries, Milwaukee, Honda, Lincoln University, Massey University, PTS Logistics, New Holland and Bushbuck.
To find out more about the Grand Final, please visit https://www.youngfarmers.co.nz/contest/grand-final-season-55
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