Last chance for Taranaki dairy farmer to make prestigious grand final

Posted by on 26 November 2018 | Comments

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Career-changer Blair Briscoe’s thirst for knowledge is driving him to tackle new challenges in the agri-food sector.

The 30-year-old has clinched a spot in the Taranaki/Manawatū Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

The qualified builder contract milks 430-cows at Egmont Village in Taranaki. It’s his first season on the farm.

“Ever since I entered the dairy sector, all I have wanted to do is learn and expand my knowledge,” said the father-of-two.

“I didn’t really pass high school. But through hard work and determination I’m now self-employed.”

Prior to moving to the other side of Mt Taranaki, Blair spent three years contract milking in Okato.

During his time in the area he rebuilt Coastal Young Farmers and is serving his second stint as the club’s chair.

“I’m stoked to have made it into the regional final,” said Blair, who’s of Ngāti Awa and Te Atiawa descent.

“I’ll be 31 in March, so this is my last chance to make it through to the grand final before I age out of NZ Young Farmers.”

It will be Blair’s second time competing in a regional final, and he’ll be up against past winner and fellow Coastal YF member James Lawn.

James is in his second season contract milking 410-cows in Okato and is a former DairyNZ consulting officer.

“I like how the contest helps develop my skills. I’m always pushing myself to do new things,” said James.

“The first time I welded and worked with horses was competing in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.”

“But in all my years competing I’ve never had to shear a sheep, and I’ve been practicing,” he laughed.

Blair and James will go head-to-head with six other regional finalists in the event in Whanganui on April 6th.

They are Alex Field, Benjamin Orchard, Graham Johnson, James Beattie, Ashton Coates and Sarah Meurk.