Top ru­ral minds tried


New Zealand’s ul­ti­mate ru­ral chal­lenge, the ANZ Young Farmer Contest, takes place at seven re­gional lo­ca­tions around the coun­try this year – start­ing in Fe­bru­ary. Now into its 47th year, the iconic contest dis­plays the finest of New Zealand young farm­ers in a range of ac­tion-packed chal­lenges.

In the lead-up to the seven re­gional fi­nals in 2015, more than 250 Young Farmer hope­fuls bat­tled it out across 22 dis­trict fi­nals for a spot in their re­gion’s fi­nal. Be­tween Fe­bru­ary and April, 56 con­tes­tants will be in re­gional fi­nals around the coun­try, nar­row­ing the field down to a sin­gle rep­re­sen­ta­tive from each to go to the grand fi­nal in Taupo from July 2-4.

‘‘The ANZ Young Farmer contest is unique in the world for its na­tional reach and breadth of com­pe­ti­tion,’’ said Terry Copeland, chief ex­ec­u­tive of New Zealand Young Farm­ers – or­gan­is­ers of the contest.

‘‘It’s a chance for the wider New Zealand com­mu­nity to see first­hand the spe­cial­ist knowl­edge and skills that our fu­ture ru­ral lead­ers pos­sess. It is a showcase for the cream of New Zealand’s up and com­ing agri-sec­tor tal­ent.’’

Re­gional fi­nal­ists show their skills across a range of tasks in the Prac­ti­cal Day chal­lenges and Evening Show rounds as they vie for a spot in the grand fi­nal and a slice of the to­tal $271,000 contest prize pool.

The Prac­ti­cal Day, which is open to the pub­lic, is fast-paced and phys­i­cal with sport­ing and agri­cul­tural skills demon­strated along­side business know-how. The Evening Show, in front of a live au­di­ence, in­cludes quiz rounds on spe­cial­ist top­ics and gen­eral knowl­edge.

The ANZ Young Farmer Contest has been sup­ported by many long-stand­ing spon­sor part­ners.

Gra­ham Tur­ley, ANZ’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, com­mer­cial and agri said: ‘‘At ANZ we be­lieve in sup­port­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of New Zealand’s farm­ers. The ANZ Young Farmer Contest pro­vides them with op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn from each other and de­velop their ex­pe­ri­ence, and shows our com­mit­ment to help­ing the fu­ture of New Zealand’s agri sec­tor.

‘‘Like all the Young Farmer con­tes­tants, we at ANZ have to demon­strate de­ter­mi­na­tion and grit to gain com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage in our business. We’re in­volved in a range of ini­tia­tives that help those liv­ing and work­ing in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. At its heart the contest has al­ways been about com­mu­nity – both lo­cally and na­tion­ally – bring­ing Ki­wis to­gether to cel­e­brate our young farm­ing tal­ent and sup­port­ing the ru­ral sec­tor.’’

The ANZ Young Farmer Contest re­gional fi­nals 2015 across the North Is­land will be held at the fol­low­ing re­gional lo­ca­tions: East Coast – Grey­town – March 21; Taranaki/Manawatu – Palmer­ston North – March 2; Waikato/Bay of Plenty – Paeroa – April 11; North­ern – Dar­gav­ille – April 18.

More in­for­ma­tion can be found at the web­site, young­farmer

Cole Groves knows what it takes to com­pete in New Zealand’s ul­ti­mate ru­ral chal­lenge – the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. A pre­vi­ous grand fi­nal­ist, Cole is now chair­man of New Zealand Young Farm­ers the or­gan­i­sa­tion stag­ing the an­nual contest through­out the coun­try.

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