Geography farm field trip leads city lad to Regional Final of FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Posted by on 9 November 2016 | Comments

If it wasn't for a geography trip at school, Upper Hutt lad Michael McCombs would not be farming and would not have just qualified for the Taranaki/Manawatu Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year. 

The 24-year-old former city lad has had a meteoric rise through the dairy industry since that day when he got to go on a geography field trip to a dairy farm which culminated in him taking out the Taranaki Open District Contest and Skills Day in the weekend. 

From that school trip, Michael was inspired to go to Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre where he studied dairying. Since then he has achieved much within the Primary Industry including being named as the Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year in 2005. 

A driven young man, Michael also is a self-taught beekeeper and has built up to 25 hives but hopes to push that number to 100 within the next couple of years. 

Currently he manages a 300 cow dairy farm at Kimbolton and hopes to go contract milking before owning his own block of land. 

There's little time for anything else, let alone preparation for the Regional Final but Michael is determined to spend regular days off farm talking to specialists in different sectors – that's when he's not putting out fires for the Kimbolton Fire Brigade. 

Come the Regional Final on April 22 Michael will bring a touch of city to the farm when his parents and grandparents drive up to cheer their lad on. 

The second place getter going through to Regional Finals is also an ex townie. 

Blair Briscoe was once an apprentice builder, but following a hiatus in Australia he went dairy farming because of the fantastic lifestyle it offered. 

The 28-year-old father of two now contract milks 500 dairy cows near Okato and is involved with DairyNZ's Pasture Plus programme. 

Another high achiever, Blair is planning on going 50/50 sharemilking next season and is determined to make the Grand Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year which will be in the Manawatu next July. 


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  




 michael mccombs