Childhood dream realised for South Otago farmer

Posted by Nadine Porter on 18 February 2017 | Comments

The childhood dream of South Otago farmer Nigel Woodhead came true on Saturday night when he won the right to represent Otago/Southland as a Grand Finalist at this year’s 2017 FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

The 28-year-old won the title convincingly against stiff opposition and was visibly shocked when his name entered the history books.

The Milton sheep farmer broke the hex of finishing runner-up after he came second in two previous regional finals and showed he was all class against a field that also featured former Grand Finalist Steve Henderson.

And although elated to have made a Grand Final, Nigel said the story was only half finished.

“This is just another step towards my ultimate goal of bringing home the FMG Young Farmer of the Year title to Otago.”

Nigel showed his all-round skill when he won the Massey University Agri-growth Challenge and the Meridian Energy Agri-Knowledge Challenge and placed highly in all other facets of the Contest including practical modules.

Second placed Alexandra agronomist Alan Harvey showed why he will be a tough competitor in years to come with the 25-year-old winning the AGMARDT Agri-business challenge and the Ravensdown Agri-Skills challenge.

Lyndon Wallace rounded out the top three and took out the Agri-sports challenge and pushed Nigel and Alan hard during the practical day - held at Mt Benger A and P Show in Roxburgh.

But the weekend belonged to winner Nigel Woodhouse whose immediate priority was on marrying fiancée Leanne Ousthuizen in six weeks time.

“But after that all roads will lead to the Grand Final in the Manawatu!”

Contest Chairman Dean Rabbidge was delighted to see Nigel take out the title and said he epitomised the high regard the FMG Young Farmer of the Year has among the Primary Industry of New Zealand.

“Nigel is a great example of someone putting their mind to a goal and working really hard to achieve it.”



For winning the Regional Final, Nigel takes home over $11 000 in prizes including a Honda XR150 farm bike, will compete against six other Grand Finalists to be found around New Zealand between now, and May.

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final is taking place between the 6th and 8th July in Manawatu.


How the FMG Young Farmer of the Year works:

400 contestants competed 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 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