Con­tes­tants pre­pare for farm­ing chal­lenge

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

Young farm­ers are pre­par­ing for a bat­tle of wits, wills and skills in the Waikato-bay of Plenty re­gional final of the Na­tional Bank Young Farmer Con­test.

Eight re­gional fi­nal­ists will com­pete in a day of prac­ti­cal ac­tiv­i­ties and an evening show at the Mys­tery Creek Events Cen­tre on Satur­day, March 17.

The con­tes­tants face a se­ries of chal­lenges test­ing their knowl­edge and push­ing them to their phys­i­cal lim­its, said con­test op­er­a­tions man­ager Hi­lary Phillips. The agriskills chal­lenge tests prac­ti­cal knowl­edge, and in the agrisports chal­lenge they race each other and the clock.

The agribusi­ness chal­lenge quizzes con­tes­tants on mar­ket knowl­edge and busi­ness sense, and the agri­growth chal­lenge in­cludes in­ter­views and speeches. The win­ner will com­pete against six other re­gional fi­nal­ists in three days of phys­i­cal and in­tel­lec­tual chal­lenges in Dunedin in May, cul­mi­nat­ing in the grand final on May 26.

The re­gional fi­nals thor­oughly test the in­di­vid­ual prac­ti­cally, the­o­ret­i­cally and phys­i­cally, Ms Phillips said.

‘‘It is an in­tense and gru­elling com­pe­ti­tion that ul­ti­mately se­lects the very best all-rounder.’’

The Waikato-bay of Plenty re­gional con­tes­tant who com­peted at the grand final last year was for­mer Mata­mata man Tim van de Molen, a Na­tional Bank agribusi­ness man­ager and co-founder of the Hamil­ton City Young Farm­ers’ Club.

Although he did not win the top prize, van de Molen was named the agrisports cham­pion. The grand cham­pion was Will Grayling, of Ao­rangi.

New Zealand Young Farm­ers chief ex­ec­u­tive Richard Fitzger­ald said the con­test helped pre­pare young farm­ers for the chal­lenges fac­ing farm­ers, in­clud­ing the need to dou­ble pro­duc­tion over the next 40 years.

‘‘The de­mands on the next gen­er­a­tion will be greater than we have seen so far. They’ll need to not only be tal­ented farm man­agers and busi­ness peo­ple but tal­ented lead­ers and vi­sion­ar­ies,’’ Mr Fitzger­ald said.

‘‘They’ll need to be peo­ple who can jug­gle mul­ti­ple out­comes for mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers. It will be a complicated en­vi­ron­ment, but this is the world NZYF is pre­par­ing its peo­ple for.’’

Re­gional fi­nals for Teenag (for high­school-aged chil­dren) and Agrikid­snz (for pri­mary school chil­dren) will be held along­side the re­gional fi­nals.

Both com­pe­ti­tions are or­gan­ised by NZYF and stu­dents com­pete in teams to learn about a di­verse range of agri­cul­tural prac­tices.

Cham­pion: As last year’s agrisports cham­pion, Tim van de Molen rep­re­sented Waikato/bay of Plenty in the Young Farmer con­test final.

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