Tuesday, 09 July 2024 15:21

Young Farmers prepare for Grand Final

Written by  Staff Reporters
New Zealand Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith. New Zealand Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith.

New Zealand’s best young farmers are pledging to ‘leave it all on the table’ as they prepare to battle it out at one of New Zealand’s most prestigious farming contests.

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final kicks off in Hamilton later this week, on 11 July, and runs over the course of three days.

With hundreds of spectators watching on, seven grand finalists will race against the clock in a series of high-pressure challenges designed to test them on their quick thinking, practical know-how and farming skills.

Up for grabs is the FMG Young Farmer of the Year title and over $90,000 in prizes.

14 FMG Junior Young Farmers of the Year teams will also compete for a national title, along with 63 AgriKidsNZ competitors from across New Zealand.

Grand Final co-convenor Nicole Cooper says they are expecting the competition to be fierce.

“These contestants are the best young farmers in the country, so we’re not going to be making it easy,” Cooper says. “To win, they’ll have to show they have a wealth of farming knowledge, demonstrated by their ability to navigate the series of tasks thrown at them.”

“It’s important our Grand Finalists brush up on a broad range of skills – because they won’t know what’s coming until it hits them,” she says.

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition is dedicated to showcasing the very best talent in New Zealand’s food and fibre sector.

The event, while popular with contestants, is also a fan favourite. The 2023 Grand Final in Timaru attracted hundreds of spectators, providing a substantial boost to the local economy over three days.

“We’re really looking forward to showcasing the mighty Waikato to the rest of the country. While we’re renowned for our dairy farming we’ve recently been branching out into other areas, including horticulture, blueberries and kiwifruit,” says Cooper.

New Zealand Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith says this year’s Grand Final contestants come from a wide range of backgrounds – so picking a winner is anyone’s guess.

“We’ve got sheep and beef farmers, a fencing contractor, an agri-manager and even a builder – it just goes to show the depth and variety of skills in Aotearoa and highlights the diversity of the food and fibre sector today.”

Coppersmith says a key highlight for her is watching the next generation of young farmers compete.

“The AgriKids participants represent primary schools across the country. Their knowledge, skills and passion for the industry is impressive and certainly leaves us excited for the future of farming.”

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.” 

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