Tight at the top for Waikato/Bay of Plenty FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Posted by Nadine Porter on 29 November 2016 | Comments

The Regional Final of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty FMG Young Farmer of the Year is wide open this year with an Irishman, an accountant and a third generation dairy farmer in the running to make the Grand Final. 

The Waikato/Piako and Bay of Plenty District Contest and Skills Days were run recently, culminating in four strong competitors qualifying for the Regional Final in March next year. 

In Waikato/Piako, dairy farmer Wayne Hofmann took out the day but was followed closed by Irishman Eion O'Mahony. 

In his last year of competing and into his fifth Regional Final, Hofmann will be a tough competitor, particularly with his technical background. 

A Massey University First Class Honours Graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Ag), he has also worked at a large corporate dairy farm. 

Currently he works with his parents on their third generation 120 cow dairy farm and is the Waihi Young Farmers Club Chairperson. 

O'Mahony is among several nationalities competing in Regional Finals around New Zealand, and says the prestigious FMG Young Farmer of the Year is well known in Ireland, Wales and the United Kingdom. 

A contract milker from Lichfield, the 27-year-old is in his second season at a 600 cow farm and this will be his fifth season working in New Zealand – a place he came, to 'live the Kiwi dream'. 

Originally from Cork, the sixth generation farmer left the 60 hectare family dry stock farm after completing three years at an Agricultural College and went to Wales to manage a 500 cow dairy farm that operated on New Zealand dairy system principles. 

O'Mahony's talent has already been recognised when he was awarded runner up in the Auckland/Hauraki Farm Manager of the Year in 2014 and should he make it through to the Grand Final he will have a contingent of his Irish family making the long plane flight over to cheer him on. 

Hot on their heels is 29-year-old Trevor Knyvett who took out the Bay of Plenty District Contest and Skills Day, followed closely by Richard French. 

Knyvett is an all rounder having grown up near Matamata on a 300 cow dairy farmer before graduating from University with a Bachelor of Commerce and Agriculture in Accounting.  

Following a stint working at Price Waterhouse Coopers in Hamilton, he went overseas for two years, and worked as an accountant in London. 

Now a client manager for KPMG in Tauranga, Knyvett hopes to make it to the Grand Final but will be chased hard by Kereru Station shepherd Richard French. 

French graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Ag) and a Diploma in Business Studies in Rural Valuation and has experience having competed in the Regional Final last year. 

Tim Mason and Jo Jordan have also made it through to the Regional Final and the final two finalists will be found this weekend at the Waipa/King Country District Contest and Skills Days. 


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