FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Finalist: Cameron Black

Posted by on 30 May 2018 | Comments

Cameron Black has dreamed of competing in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year since he was a young boy.

He recalls “sitting in the stands” watching the grand final in Invercargill in 2004. It was the year Simon Hopcroft won.

“I was 11 years old. I was in awe of the grand finalists. I remember thinking they were the bee’s knees,” said Cameron.

“A lot of Kiwi kids grow up wanting to be a Silver Fern or an All Black. I wanted to compete in a Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.”

Cameron’s dream will become a reality in July, when he represents Aorangi at the 50th grand final.

He won the Aorangi Regional Final in April. It was his fourth time competing in a regional final.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Cameron, who’s a Christchurch-based rural consultant for New Zealand Agri Brokers.

“But I’m definitely conscious of the fact that I don’t get a lot of time to hone my practical skills.”

The 25-year-old gets to spend up to a fortnight in gumboots each spring, when he returns to the family farm in Southland.

“I take annual leave and head home to help with the lambing beat. It’s something I look forward to every year,” he said.

“My family has about 5,000 ewes. We do twice-daily checks, assisting ewes having difficulty lambing and identifying mismothered lambs.”

“The aim is to try and get as many lambs as possible born alive and then to keep them alive,” he said.

The Hinds Young Farmers member moved to Christchurch last December. He’d previously worked as a banker in Ashburton.

His new job with New Zealand Agri Brokers keeps him busy.

“I do governance and strategic planning for farms. It’s about understanding the bigger picture and problem solving to achieve a result,” he said.

Cameron completed a Bachelor of AgriScience at Massey University, where he was vice-chair of Massey Young Farmers.

He went on to chair the Christchurch City and Hinds clubs and eventually the Aorangi Region.

Cameron sees the contest as a great tool for skill development and learning.

“It’s a chance to benchmark myself and put my knowledge to the test. I enjoy the challenge of trying to do better,” he said.

“The contest is addictive. It pushes you to your limits.”

“Some of the modules are designed so you don’t have enough time to complete them. It’s about how you cope as a person in a really trying situation,” he said.

There will no doubt be plenty of aspiring future grand finalists watching from the sidelines this July.