Banker shows he has the right farming skill
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.