Press Releases » Matamata to host FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final
A Waharoa dairy farmer is facing fierce competition in her quest to be named the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
Sophia Clark will take on seven other contestants in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty regional final in Matamata next month.
It will be the 30-year-old’s fourth attempt at clinching a coveted spot in the national final.
“I’m really looking forward to the regional final. But I’m going to have to pull my socks up because I’ll be up against some tough opponents,” she said.
Sophia 50:50 sharemilks 270 cows with her partner at Waharoa and is a full-time forage agronomist with PGG Wrightson.
The Piarere Young Farmers member will face-off against Josh Cozens, who represented the region at last year’s grand final.
The 30-year-old contract milks 450 cows at Pyes Pa near Tauranga and is a qualified automotive service technician.
The pair will be joined by Emma Dangen, Christine Wellington, Colin Tremain, Isaac Billington, Sam Tipping and Nico Mather-Fabrello.
Emma Dangen is a Te Awamutu-based vet, who recently moved to the Waikato after completing her studies at Massey University.
The 24-year-old was runner up in last year’s Taranaki/Manawatū regional final in Wellington.
“That narrow loss taught me a lot and I’ll be back with greater determination in March,” she said.
Colin Tremain, 30, manages a 1750 cow dairy farm and was named the 2018 Central Plateau Dairy Manager of the Year.
“This is my last chance to make it through to the grand final. I’ll give it my all and hopefully and it’s good enough on the day,” he said.
Christine Wellington, 27, works at PGG Wrightson in Te Awamutu and is looking forward to her first regional final.
“I’ve always wanted to have a go. I really enjoy challenging myself,” she said.
Christine grew up on a deer farm and was a shepherd in Northland before moving to the Waikato.
Isaac Billington, 23, is an apprentice engineer at Donaldson Mechanical in Matangi.
Sam Tipping, 25, is a rural banker with BNZ and has a thriving Hereford stud in Waitomo.
The former fencing contractor has worked in Fiji.
Nico Mather-Fabrello, 25, is second-in-charge on a station west of Huntly which fattens 10,000 lambs and 1600 bulls a year.
“I knew the fellas who got through to the regional final last year and I thought ‘I could beat them’, so I entered,” he said.
The Waikato/Bay of Plenty regional final is being held on March 23rd.
Contestants will tackle a series of gruelling practical and theoretical modules at Swap Park in Matamata.
It will be followed by a dinner and fast-paced agri-knowledge quiz hosted by Te Radar at the Matamata Racecourse.
The winner will represent the region at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay in July.