Win ends a long journey
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