Banker shows he has the right farm­ing skill

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - By KARLA AKUHATA

Get­ting his hands dirty paid off for for­mer Mata­mata man Tim van der Molen. The Na­tional Bank ru­ral man­ager rep­re­sented the Waikato/Bay of Plenty at the Young Farmer Con­test fi­nal in Master­ton re­cently.

And while he didn’t win the top prize Mr van der Molen was named the agri-sports cham­pion, gain­ing the use of an Isuzu ute for a year.

The competition started last Thurs­day with the tech­ni­cal day fol­lowed by the prac­ti­cal day with a tele­vised grand fi­nal evening show on Satur­day.

The agri-sports sec­tion of the competition, which is held on the sec­ond day of the con­test as part of the prac­ti­cal stage, re­quired con­tes­tants to par­tic­i­pate in ev­ery­day farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Mr van der Molen was up against six other fi­nal­ists.

Dur­ing the chal­lenge the con­tes­tants had to set up a wa­ter trough, demon­strate quad bike safety, as­sem­ble and smoke a bee­hive, strain a fenc­ing wire, stack three bales of hay with a front end loader, taste wine, plant two po­plar poles, in­stall a bat­tery in a ute and then bal­ance it on top of two half posts, bag some pota­toes, wind up a smart­fence and raise a flag to fin­ish.

The con­tes­tants had just 40 min­utes to fin­ish all of the ac­tiv­i­ties and while Ao­rangi rep­re­sen­ta­tive Will Grayling was first to cross the fin­ish line, Mr van der Molen was named the win­ner af­ter the points for cor­rectly com­plet­ing the tasks were tal­lied.

Mr van der Molen, who had been in train­ing since tak­ing out the re­gional part of the competition in March, said the win was very sat­is­fy­ing. ‘‘Given that I am not farm­ing ev­ery day, to be able to take out that sec­tion against guys who work on the farm ev­ery day was great.’’

He said he was grate­ful that many of his clients had of­fered to get him out to their farms and tu­tor him.

‘‘It was sur­pris­ing how keen many of my clients were to get me out there to do some work on their farms.

‘‘The real value of the competition is ac­tu­ally meet­ing new peo­ple, net­work­ing and ex­tend­ing you skills. You are not ex­pected to know ev­ery­thing and so it is nice to learn new things from other peo­ple.’’

Mr Grayling, who was pipped by Mr van der Molen in the agri-sports sec­tion, was named as the over­all win­ner.

But in the end Waikato/Bay of Plenty’s Mr van der Molen ended with 299 points to Mr Grayling’s 306.

Top re­sult: Tim van der Molen was named the agri-sports cham­pion at the Young Farmer Con­test fi­nal, earn­ing the use of an Isuzu ute for a year.

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