North Otago dairy farmer stunned to be the Aorangi Regional FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Posted by Nadine Porter on 25 February 2017 | Comments


Glenavy dairy farmer Arjan Van’t Klooster can’t believe he is the new Aorangi Regional FMG Young Farmer of the Year after a stunning performance that saw him convincingly take the title back to North Otago.


The elated 25-year-old lower-order share-milker and farm owner, said he was ‘lost for words’ because he didn’t expect to be top of the experienced field, in a region that has produced the last two FMG Young Farmer of the Year champions.


“It’s still sinking in. I really can’t believe it!”


Over the course of the competition, the Glenavy Young Farmer performed well across all facets of the contest and took out the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge where contestants face a tough technical exam, as well as the Massey University Agri-growth Challenge where he was grilled by a panel of interview judges.


He also performed well in the practical component of the final and will now go on to represent Aorangi at the Grand Final in the Manawatu in July.


For winning the final Arjan takes home $12 500 in prizes including a Honda XR150 motorbike.


In his last year of competing, second place getter Toby How from Timaru took out the prestigious Ravensdown Agri-skills challenge for the practical components of the contest. 


The 29-year-old finished one better than last year, but it was not enough to snatch an outright victory.


Third place-getter John Mehrtens rounded out a successful evening for Glenavy Young Farmers and also took home the Agri-sports challenge.


Mid Canterbury contestant, Cameron Black won the Meridian Energy Agri-knowledge challenge, but was unable to repeat past victories the District had become infamous for in recent years.






The Grand Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year will take place on July 6th to 8th in the Manawatu with seven Grand Finalists from around New Zealand including Otago/Southland winner Nigel Woodhead (five Regional Finals are yet to take place).


How the FMG Young Farmer of the Year works:

400 contestants competed 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 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 call Nadine Porter, Communications Manager, NZ Young Farmers on 0212140703 or