You can bank on this win­ning young farmer

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By CHRIS GARD­NER

Ru­ral bank man­ager, Mata­mata’s Tim van der Molen is the Waikato’s Young Farmer of the Year.

Mr van der Molen, 28, joined the Hamil­ton branch of the Na­tional Bank 18 months ago af­ter spend­ing nearly three years as an as­sis­tant man­ager on dairy farms near Mor­rinsville and Cam­bridge.

He won the re­gional ti­tle in the Na­tional Bank Young Farmer Con­test by beat­ing seven other district fi­nal­ists at Mor­rinsville Re­cre­ation Ground on Satur­day.

‘‘You do not have to be a farmer to win the young farmer competition, it’s open to any­one who has a ru­ral con­nec­tion,’’ Mr van der Molen said.

‘‘There’s al­ways ru­ral bank man­agers, fer­tiliser con­sul­tants and DairyNZ con­sult­ing of­fi­cers in it.’’

The big­gest chal­lenge, Mr van der Molen said, was the fenc­ing competition be­cause the weather was so dire.

‘‘ It was wet and ev­ery­thing was cov­ered in mud. That was real chal­lenge.’’

The weld­ing round was also a chal­lenge, thanks to Mr van der Molen be­ing out of prac­tice. ‘‘I don’t do so much weld­ing in my of­fice,’’ he joked.

Many of Mr van der Molen’s clients are dairy farm­ers.

Many, he said, planned to pay off debt with the prom­ise of a record $8 per kg of milk solids pay­out from Fon­terra. But pro- duc­tion was down con­sid­er­ably thanks to drought af­ter drought.

Mr van der Molen will rep­re­sent the re­gion in the grand fi­nal in Master­ton from June 29 to July 2.

‘‘I was de­lighted to be able to achieve this, it’s great fun. To be able to un­der­stand what my clients do is pretty im­por­tant.’’

Fixed wheel: Tim van der Molen works on a farm bike dur­ing the Waikato Young Farmer competition re­cently.

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