Finalists find it tough going on first day of FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Posted by on 7 July 2016 | Comments

It was tough, mind grinding and mentally challenging on day one of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year with contestants asked to complete a number of technical challenges.

At Raincliff Station in South Canterbury the seven grand finalists had to call on all of their knowledge in order to complete a complex series of challenges that reflect the wide range of skills today’s young farmers need to possess.

Technical Challenge convenor and former Grand Finalist Julian Gaffaney said the challenge would suit those contestants who work logically and methodically.

“There were lots of difficult tasks that juggled their heads.”

Among the tasks the contestants were required to do was developing a dairy heifer grazing system with Farmax Software, complete an irrigation share purchase on a block they would have to develop, and various components of a Farm Environment Plan.

The home regional finalist Athol New from Mid Canterbury was expected to do well in the technical challenges alongside Tasman’s James Hoban and they looked the most comfortable with the tasks in front of them.

However, Waikato-Bay of Plenty finalist Calvin Ball and East Coast’s Tony Dowman were also expected to do well.

Tomorrow however, the Practical Day will see a shift in skills and it’s where Taranaki/Manawatu’s Pete Fitz-Herbert, Otago Southland’s Logan Wallace and Northern’s Jake Thomson are expected to excel.

In the afternoon the contestants finally got to do their first physical challenge (something all of them were looking forward too) in front of a packed crowd at the Piazza overlooking Caroline Bay in Timaru.

Tonight however, the mental challenge continues with the eagerly anticipated Meridian Energy Agri-Knowledge quiz buzzer rounds, followed by a personal speech from each contestant.

NZ Young Farmers CEO Terry Copeland said he was constantly impressed by the level of knowledge and skill contestants display.

“They are our high achievers and during the FMG Young Farmer of the Year they consistently show why the primary industry is leading the way in innovation, technology and skills. We should be proud of these outstanding young men, knowing that they will go on to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

The Contest continues tomorrow alongside AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg national finals.

For more information, please contact Nadine Porter, Communications Manager on 021 214 0703 or email


Tony Dowson East Coast2Pete Fitz Herbert Taranaki Manawatu2Logan Wallace Otago Southland2James Hoban Tasman2Jake Thomson Northern2Calvin Ball Waikato Bay of Plenty2Athol3Athol New Aorangi2