Canterbury female makes the cut for FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Posted by Nadine Porter on 3 October 2016 | Comments

She might be tiny, but Megan Hands proved it’s brains and not brute strength that's required to make it through to a regional final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year. 

The 26-year-old Farm Environment Consultant took it to the boys at the Christchurch District Contest and Skills Day on Saturday and took out third place which will see her compete in the Tasman Regional Final in the West Coast next April. 

And she's determined to put the preparation in to help her achieve her dream of competing at the Grand Final in the Manawatu in July. 

Hands was part of an emerging trend in the Contest, with more females competing at the Christchurch District final than males and will have a huge amount of female support going to the next stage. 

She intends to talk to previous female competitors who have competed at higher levels of the Contest including Louise Collingwood who came runner up in the 2003 Grand Final and very nearly became the first women in the history of the Contest to take the title. 

Hands has all round abilities having grown up on her parents dairy farm in the North Island before studying Environmental Management and Planning with Farm Management at Lincoln University. She has also held several executive positions in NZ Young Farmers and is currently campaigning to win a seat on the Malvern Community Board. 

She will face tough opposition at the regional final with first time competitor Simon Ferguson taking out the Christchurch final. 

The 27-year-old farm consultant won convincingly and wants to book his seat at the Grand Final. While the win was unexpected Ferguson said he was determined to prepare well. 

Originally from the Waikato, Simon did not grow up on a farm but loved being connected to the land, which led to him working his way up to being a Herd Manager for a Landcorp Dairy Farm before studying agri-science at Massey University. 

Second place getter, 28-year-old Robin Hornblow will also be a tough competitor having competed at the Tasman Regional Final in 2014. Hornblow is a dairy farm manager at Te Pirita and is the current chairman of Dunsandel Young Farmers. 


How the FMG Young Farmer of the Year works: 

400 contestants will compete in 22 District Contest and Skills Day nation-wide where they can opt to 'Have a Go' which means they cannot progress to the next level – or they can enter competitively. 

56 contestants will compete in seven regional finals from Northern, Waikato-Bay of Plenty, Taranaki-Manawatu, East Coast, Tasman, Aorangi, Otago-Southland from February to April. 

The seven winners of the regional final will go the Grand Final in July 2017 at Manawatu. 

In 49 years only three females have ever made the Grand Final: 

Denise Brown who placed seventh in 1981 

Louise Collingwood who was RUNNER UP and third place in 2003 and 2001 

Katherine Tucker placed seventh in 2012 

For more information please contact Nadine Porter, Communications Manager on 021 2140703 or email