Monday, 24 February 2020 09:07

Taranaki-Manawatu FMG Young Farmer of the Year named

Written by  Staff Reporters
James Lawn accepting the award. James Lawn accepting the award.

James Lawn has been named as the Taranaki-Manawatu FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

The 30 year old is a business manager for Paranihihi ki Waitotara farms in Taranaki: he becomes the third grand finalist for the 2020 season.

Lawn, who oversees seven dairy and six drystock farms, walked away with $12,000 in prizes.

The Massey University Alumni has a Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in agriculture, rural valuation and management.

This will be his second grand final, after competing in 2017 where he came 5th place, just behind Lisa Kendall — who has also been named as a 2020 grand finalist for the northern region. 

“I understand the process and the time and constraints that it’s going to put on life,” says Lawn of the grand final.

“There’s always going to be a challenge with every grand final, not knowing what the organising committee is going to throw you, but I’m lucky enough to be a previous grand finalist and I’m going to try to lean on that experience as much as possible and hopefully bring back the trophy for Taranaki-Manawatu,” says Lawn.

James Lawn at practical day.

The eight regional finalists competed in eight modules and battled it out in two time and points races – head to heads - at The TSB Hub in Hawera on Saturday.

The two head to heads tested their chainsaw skills by carving Mount Taranaki and a wave out of a log, fishing “fish” out of the “pond” with unseen hazards and quotas, making videos about what environmental sustainability means to them, rigging up a gate, assessing fake farm accidents involving ‘real life patients’ (contestants pulled in from the FMG JR Young Farmer of the Year contest to act) and testing cheeses.

A written exam, as well as the famous FMG Young Farmer of the Year (FMG YFOTY) buzzer quiz also tested the regional finalist’s knowledge.

The eight Taranaki-Manawatu regional finalists.

For Lawn, the road to grand final starts now

He spent three years as a consultancy officer for DairyNZ and has also travelled the world farming.

He came back to his family dairy farm but was forced to give up farming in 2019 after a serious accident.

“You’ve just got to roll with whatever life throws at you and be prepared in whatever way you can handle, with the things that you’ve got placed in front of you, so this is just another challenge for me and it’s an exciting one,” says Lawn.

Having competed against Lisa Kendall before in the 2017 grand final, he says he’s excited to go through the same process with a good friend, but there will be some fierce competition. 

“It’s certainly going to be hopefully a tight knight group again of competitors when we’re competing but friends when we’re finished,” he says.

Leaning on his strength which is his technical experience, he says he’ll now need to formulate a plan for the next level up. 

(L-R) Hugh Jackson (second-place), James Lawn (first-place), and Graham Johnson (third-place).

Full results

1ST – James Lawn

2ND – Hugh Jackson

3RD – Graham Johnson

Strainer winners

People – Hugh Jackson

Environment – James Lawn

Technology – Michael McCombs

Innovation – James Lawn

Food – James Lawn 

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