Putaruru trio ex­cel at Agrikids

South Waikato News - - Motoring - LUKE KIRKEBY

A bright fu­ture in dairy farm­ing looks set for three Putaruru youths af­ter their im­pres­sive ef­fort at the na­tional Agrikids Grand Fi­nal in Ti­maru.

The Check­ered Calvers’ Luke Far­rell,13 Alex Fladgate,12, and Edmund White, 13, were the run­ners up at the hotly con­tested com­pe­ti­tion which fea­tured 21 teams from through­out the coun­try.

Af­ter plac­ing first at the re­gional com­pe­ti­tion ear­lier this year the trio rep­re­sented the Waikato and had to com­plete var­i­ous agri­cul­tural based mod­ules, farm­ing ex­er­cises, first aid, and other in­ter­est­ing chal­lenges over four days.

Edmund said the big­gest chal­lenge was hav­ing to judge sheep.

‘‘We all come from dairy back­grounds so be­fore we went down we went to a lo­cal guy who taught us how to judge sheep. We don’t re­ally know any­thing about sheep so it was hard and ap­par­ently we didn’t get many right,’’ he laughed.

He said they were happy with there over­all per­for­mance but had mixed feel­ings about com­ing run­ners up.

‘‘We were ex­cited but a bit gut­ted be­cause we were so close to com­ing first,’’ he said.

‘‘Our par­ents were re­ally happy, they were as­tounded and thought we we jok­ing,’’ Alex said.

Luke said they en­joyed tak­ing part in a pa­rade be­fore­hand.

‘‘Peo­ple re­ally liked our cos­tume which were black and red Swan­ndri and we went up the street with a big ban­ner which had half painted in Waikato colours and the other half in check­ers with our name on it,’’ he said.

‘‘Ev­ery­one was so nice and said hi to you be­cause they knew what you were do­ing so it was pretty fun,’’ Edmund said.

The Check­ered calves said they had to put in a lot of work for the com­pe­ti­tion and were glad it paid off.

‘‘We had to study be­fore we went and it took a lot of week­ends,’’ Alex said.

‘‘We all have rugby and stuff so it was hard to fit it all in,’’ Edmund said.

They said they’d like to do some­thing with agri­cul­ture long term and thanked their spon­sors Farm­lands, Swan­ndri, Farm Source and the Waikato Bay of Plenty Farm­ing Club for al­low­ing them to take part in the com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘We are very ap­pre­cia­tive of the help ,’’ Alex said.

The ad­vi­sor can also point busi­ness own­ers to­wards free ac­cess to gov­ern­ment fund­ing pro­grammes and Busi­ness Men­tors New Zealand.

The ser­vice op­er­ates on the first Thurs­day of ev­ery month and is based at the coun­cil of­fice in Toko­roa.

‘‘These hours are flex­i­ble. Our spe­cial­ist ad­vi­sor can also meet with you at your own busi­ness lo­ca­tions to save you time and give you a bet­ter in­sight into your busi­ness,’’ Boyce said.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig Hobbs said the coun­cil prides it­self on the re­cent suc­cesses in eco­nomic growth de­liv­ered through ini­tia­tives such as this.

‘‘The ini­tia­tive aligns with the coun­cil’s strate­gic goal of grow­ing our econ­omy and cre­at­ing more jobs for our lo­cal peo­ple.’’

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