Newly returned dairy consultant looks likely to set FMG Young Farmer of the Year alight in Taranaki/Manawatu

Posted by Nadine Porter on 14 December 2016 | Comments

The Taranaki Manawatu Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year has been set alight with a newly returned dairy consultant looking dangerous.

James Lawn, 27, has been travelling the world for two and a half years and visited 49 countries before coming home just four weeks prior to him having a crack at the Taranaki Closed District Contest and Skills Day in the weekend.

The former Massey University graduate that holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science has a wide array of practical skills as well as technical knowledge in his previous job as a DairyNZ consulting officer in South Otago.

Lawn has spent time working on a large grain operation in Western Australia, and worked on a grain unit and dairy farm in the United Kingdom on his way around the world.

It may have been awhile since he had entered the Contest but he didn't appear at all rusty and may-be the one to beat this year in the Region.

Runner up in the same District Final was 29-year-old Nick Brown who is in his last year of competing in the Contest.

This will be the first time Brown has made the Regional Final after four previous attempts.

A Taranaki sheep and beef farmer on a 1200 hectare operation Brown has a broad knowledge of most sectors having completed a Diploma in Farm Management and having worked on an intensive finishing block and a dairy farm in Canterbury.

Brown desperately wants to make the Grand Final as it will be held in his home region – a fact past finalists have attributed to giving them a ten point advantage.

However, both have some stiff competition breathing down their back including Manawatu District Contest and Skills Day winner Will Taylor, Manawatu Open winner Kieran McCahon and Taranaki Open winner Michael McCombs.

The final Taranaki/Manwatu Regional Finalists are:

James Lawn, Nick Brown (Taranaki Closed), Will Taylor, Nigel Will (Manawatu), Michael McCombs, Balir Briscoe (Taranaki Open), Isabel Tait, Kieran McCahon (Manawatu Open)

The Grand Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year featuring the winners of each Regional Final will be held from 6th to 8th of July in the Manawatu Region.


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

This year we have a total of six females competing in Regional Finals for the right to make the Grand Final. Numbers of females have been increasing year on year with the highest proportion of females competing this year in District Contest and Skills Days (58 per cent). This was the first time the number of females competing surpassed males.

For more information please contact Nadine Porter, Communications Manager on 021 2140703 or email