Win ends a long jour­ney

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - By JEREMY SMITH

Mata­mata Col­lege old boy Tim van de Molen has won the 2013 Young Farmer con­test.

It is the first time he has won the com­pe­ti­tion and also the first time a Waikato- based farmer has won the com­pe­ti­tion since around 2001.

In a sense, that is now Mr van de Molen’s ul­ti­mate goal achieved – an ac­com­plish­ment he de­scribed as ‘‘a priv­i­lege, a huge hon­our and comes with a level of re­spon­si­bil­ity’’.

‘‘I’m pretty proud to bring the tro­phy back to the Waikato,’’ he said.

The con­test cul­mi­nated over the week­end of May 18 and 19 at Auck­land’s Kumeu Show­grounds.

It is one step fur­ther than the run­ner- up place­ment he achieved in the 2011 com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘I took a break for a while and al­ways planned to come back be­cause I wanted to win it. Last time there was a sense of know­ing I had done bloody well, but also be­ing re­ally dis­ap­pointed be­cause I had got so close with­out ac­tu­ally win­ning.’’

The two-day com­pe­ti­tion was made up of a ‘‘wide range’’ of chal­lenges, in­clud­ing prac­ti­cal tasks, gen­eral knowl­edge and much more.

In an in­ter­view with the Waikato Times, Mr van de Molen, whose par­ents are school teach­ers in Mata­mata, said the tough­est chal­lenges of the com­pe­ti­tion were sheep shear­ing and cook­ing gourmet mus­sels and veni­son burg­ers.

Af­ter trail­ing the pack fol­low­ing the prac­ti­cal tasks, he clawed his way to the top dur­ing a speech and ques­tions round, largely thanks to his way with words and gen­eral knowl­edge.

Mr van de Molen’s vic­tory net­ted him close to $ 70,000 in prizes, in­clud­ing cash, farm equip­ment, a bar­be­cue, and an all-ter­rain ve­hi­cle.

He also won the Lin­coln Univer­sity Agri-growth Chal­lenge and re­ceived $9500 to­wards an in­dus­try re­lated con­fer­ence pack­age.

Hav­ing grown up around farm­ing, he said the win re­flected the ‘‘end of a jour­ney’’ – a jour­ney which be­gan at the dis­trict’s Young Farmer Con­test be­fore Christ­mas.

He then pro­gressed to the dis­trict com­pe­ti­tion and on to the na­tion­als.

An ANZ agri-busi­ness man­ager, Mr van de Molen was last year named Aus­tralasian Ru­ral Ambassador by the New Zealand and Aus­tralian Royal Agri­cul­tural So­ci­eties, and he said he was the first New Zealan­der to be given the hon­our.

‘‘I’ve been in­volved with Young Farm­ers for about 12 years and I’ve got a real pas­sion for the dairy in­dus­try.

‘‘The in­dus­try is a sig­nif­i­cant part of what keeps New Zealand on track, and I get a real sense of pride know­ing that I have about 55 clients I can di­rect and help, all of them with a dif­fer­ent and unique view on how to run a farm well.’’

Mr van de Molen de­scribed his com­pe­ti­tion win as ‘‘sat­is­fy­ing’’, given the work he had put into pre­par­ing for it.

‘‘Even though it first started com­pe­ti­tion- wise about six months ago, I have been work­ing to­wards the goal of win­ning for longer than that. I’ve known I wanted to come back since I was run­ner-up.

‘‘It’s al­most strange for me. When I look back at all the peo­ple who have won the com­pe­ti­tion pre­vi­ously I think ‘th­ese guys were just such leg­ends’.’’

When Mr van de Molen looks back on the op­por­tu­ni­ties the dairy in­dus­try has given him, he said he felt ‘‘in­cred­i­bly lucky’’.

Seen as some­what of a role model, Mr van de Molen had some sound ad­vice for as­pir­ing com­peti­tors.

‘‘Once some­thing done.

‘‘And if you weren’t happy with it, just put it be­hind you and con­tinue’’.

He thanked his sup­port net­work – in­clud­ing his part­ner Hi­lary – the spon­sors and all those in­volved in the con­test.

‘‘You just can’t win a con­test of this mag­ni­tude with­out that sup­port, so the win is a great way to re­pay that.’’

While he is ex­cited about what lies ahead for him in dairy­ing, he has a more im­me­di­ate goal in mind.

‘‘Just a lit­tle bit of a break.’’

is done, it’s

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