Punishing competition expected for East Coast Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Posted by Nadine Porter on 2 December 2016 | Comments

The East Coast Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year promises to be one of the most punishing contests this season with an outstanding field all looking to make their first Grand Final.

Hawkes Bay District Contest and Skills Day winner Hamish Best is a front-runner, having finished second in last year's Regional Final.

The 26-year-old PGG Wrightson technical field officer is studying hard in the lead up to the April final - particularly in practical tasks.

A Massey University graduate, Best holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree with Honours and is expected to be hard to beat in the technical component of the final.

However, Hugh Abbiss (the runner up to Best at the Hawkes Bay Contest), will be tough competition.

The 24-year-old lamb and beef finishing manager is an endurance runner and will be physically and mentally tough when it comes to the pressure cooker that denotes a Regional Final.

Abbiss holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Majoring in Agriculture and has a wide range of experience including working on his parent's arable, sheep and beef farm in Feilding.

Third place winner Ben Thomas was not far behind Abbiss and showcased his practical skills. The 25-year-old works as a 2IC at Rissington Station and holds a Primary ITO Diploma in Agriculture.

Tararua District Contest and Skills Day winner Patrick Crawshaw is the dark horse having made it through to the Regional Final in his first attempt.

The 23-year-old may-be young but has the capacity and experience to make it all the way. Also holding a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Agriculture, Crawshaw represented New Zealand in hockey in the Under 18 side and has won the Angus Youth World Forum Stock-judging Competition in 2013.

Currently a stock manager on a sheep and beef property in Dannevirke, Crawshaw will be one to watch.

Runners up in the Tararua Contest, 24-year-old sheep and beef farmer Daniel Tarbotton and 29-year-old dairy farmer Liam Kelly could also give the more experienced competitors a fright but it's the Wairarapa winner Richard Cameron, who many believe will come out on top.

Cameron, 28, is hugely experienced having competed in four previous Regional Finals.

The Masterton farmer manages a 750-hectare sheep and beef farm and his own smaller farm. He holds a Certificate in Agriculture and has broad practical experience, having worked on a 250 000 hectare sheep station in Australia.

Rounding out the eight is Henry Reynolds – a fifth generation sheep beef and cropping farmer who finished second in the Wairarapa Contest.

The 26-year-old holds a Diploma in Agriculture and Farm Management and is expected to be particularly competitive in the practical sections of the final.


East Coast Regional Final contestants for FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

Hamish Best, Hugh Abbiss, Ben Thomas (Hawkes Bay), Richard Cameron, Henry Reynolds (Wairarapa), Patrick Crawshaw, Daniel Tarbotton, Liam Kelly(Tararua).


The East Coast Regional Final will be held on 1 April at Waipukurau


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

For more information please contact Nadine Porter, Communications Manager on 021 2140703 or email nadine.porter@youngfarmers.co.nz