Contestants prepare for farming challenge
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.