You can bank on this winning young farmer
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.