Aorangi regional finalists decided for FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Posted by on 14 November 2018 | Comments

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A deer farmer is among a group of eight food producers vying to be named the next Aorangi Young Farmer of the Year.

Ezekiel Turner, 26, is a stock manager at the sprawling 3800-hectare High Peak Station in the Rakaia Gorge.

The property runs 1800 hinds, 400 mixed-age velveting stags and 200 replacement yearling hinds.

It also has 4000 Perendale ewes and 1200 hoggets, and 360 beef cows and 80 replacement heifers.

“I’ve been here three and a half years. I really enjoy the variety that comes with the role,” said the Methven Young Farmers member.

The father-of-four qualified for Aorangi Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year at a district contest on Saturday.

“The contest is a great way for me to challenge myself, learn new skills and keep me on my toes,” he laughed.

Ezekiel was raised on sheep, beef and dairy farms in Gisborne and Canterbury, and has a Diploma in Rural Business from Telford.

He spent 2010 seeding and harvesting crops for a large export company in Western Australia.

“I loved it. I went over with a few mates from Telford and the company I worked for had lots of big machinery,” he said.

It will be Ezekiel’s first time competing in the Aorangi Regional Final.

The event will see eight competitors tackle a series of gruelling practical and theoretical challenges.

Ezekiel will face off against Adam Judd, Alan Harvey, Billy Dowle, Campbell Sommerville, Josh McAtamney, Kerry Watson and William Ellis.

Billy Dowle, 26, farms across the Rakaia River from Ezekiel and is also a member of Methven Young Farmers.

“I’ve always wanted to give the contest a go, but it was Ezekiel who encouraged me to sign up for the district contest,” he said.

Billy is a stock manager at Redcliffs Station, which runs about 3800 Merino ewes and 240 Angus cows.

He has a Bachelor of Agriculture from Lincoln University and spent 18 months working on farms in the United Kingdom after he graduated.

“It was a fantastic experience. The farms included a business finishing 8000 pigs, a property which lambed 2000 ewes indoors and a beef feedlot with 500 cattle,” he said.

The Aorangi Regional Final is being held in Oamaru on 23rd February 2019.