City girl among record amounts of girls entering FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Posted by Nadine on 28 September 2016 | Comments

It's a long way from the big city, but former Aucklander Vanessa Robinson is relishing the chance to be among the first to compete in this year's FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

And she won't be alone with the Christchurch District Contest and Skills Day featuring one of the largest percentages of females (61 per cent) competing in the history of the Contest.

For Vanessa the Contest is all part of the passion she has for the Primary Industry, even though she grew up in South Auckland.

"It's crazy just how many opportunities there are in agriculture. It's not all about being on the farm. From scientists, IT name it – the industry needs all of them!"

Introduced to agriculture on trips to see her Aunty and Uncle's farm she realised early on that sitting inside an office was not for her.

"It sparked an interest."

So she studied agriculture at Massey University and is now working at Livestock Improvement Corporation in Canterbury.

Back at Massey she 'Had a Go' at the Contest and found it a fantastic fun learning experience and so is looking forward to testing herself at the Christchurch qualifier.

And if Vanessa gets a top placing she will be thrilled to compete at the next level which sees the top eight contestants from the Tasman region to fight it out to reach the prestigious Grand Final.

Only three females have made the Grand Final before but NZ Young Farmers CEO Terry Copeland believes this might be the year a woman not only reaches the pinnacle of the Contest, but takes out the title as well.

"We are thrilled with the number of females already entered in the Contest this year and know that it is only a matter of time before we see a female take home the coveted Cloak of Knowledge and title of FMG Young Farmer of the Year."

The statistics showed more and more highly capable young women were entering the Primary Industry, he said.

"When you see the likes of Vanessa, with no background in agriculture, thriving and passionate about the incredible opportunities both the Industry and the Contest offer, you know that the future of agriculture is positive."

Manawatu contestants will also compete this Saturday for the right to compete in the Taranaki Manawatu Regional Final.


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


 vanessa high res