Two Former FMG YFOTY Grand Finalists to go Head to Head at Regional Final

Posted by Erin Speedy on 13 January 2020 | Comments

Two former FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Finalists are set to go head to head at the Northern Regional Final.

Calvin Ball, 29, was a Grand Finalist in 2016 representing the East Coast region and came fourth out of the seven contestants.  

Calvin Ball competing at the 2016 FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final

Calvin Ball competing at the 2016 FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final

Lisa Kendall, 28, also came fourth place in the 2017 Grand Final where she represented the Northern Region.

This year, the pair will be fighting it out against each other as well as six other competitors at the Northern Regional final on February 1st

On the day, only one person out of the eight competitors– the winner - will make it through to this year’s FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.

Lisa who will be 17 weeks pregnant with her first child, is a business owner, agricultural contractor and farmer based in Papakura.

Whangarei rural professional, Calvin, is the Regional Sales Manager for Ballance Agri-Nutrients for the Northern North Island

Competing against five others, both say they’re nervous and the competition will be extremely tough.

“Lisa, she’ll be gunning for it as a previous grand finalist, I know she’ll be really switched on and I think she’ll do great, it’ll be hard to beat her,” Calvin says.

Lisa says her biggest challenge this year is competing pregnant, on top of the already tight competition.

“I’ve been pretty sick so hopefully that calms down soon,” she laughs.

Lisa Kendall competing in the 2017 FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest

Lisa Kendall competing in the 2017 FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest

A new competition format introduced in 2019 means their previous experience might not give them an upper hand, she says.

“Whether or not my experience and his experience will be useful in this format of competition will be interesting to see, we might all be newbies.”

Not working on farm every day and utilising those skills, Calvin thinks his biggest weakness will be the practical side of the competition. 

“I think I’ll be able to make up for that in the theory and technical side of that as well as the leadership side where that comes into it, those will be my strengths,” he says.

“As a rural professional, we’re exposed to a lot of different industries and other rural professionals so I think I’m on the upper foot there, it is a pretty even playing field for rural professionals and farmers.”

On the other hand, Lisa’s strength will be her wide range of practical skills she uses every day running a sheep milking farm as well as contracting to life style blockers around Auckland.

 “When I get nervous or if I do something badly, then I can’t let that go for the rest of the day so the hardest part will be staying focused, moving onto the next thing and not being too much in own head,” she says.

With Agri Kids* and FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year** contests running alongside the event, the pair are encouraging junior farmers to get involved.

Lisa says the junior contests should not be treated as too serious or competitive and teenagers should put themselves out there.

“They don’t have to feel like the most skilled young farmer in the world before they enter, my advice would be to just give it a go and don’t count yourself out. You may as well give it a crack and even if you don’t place at least you’ve had a fun day out.”

Calvin says it’s a fantastic opportunity for children and teenagers to see what they know.

“They’re going to learn some skills and meet some awesome people. It’ll be quite influential for future careers as well, you never know what you’ll come across in the competition that could help guide your passion and career choice and give you a head start.”

Northern is kicking off the first of the seven Regional Finals, with competitors selected from the district finals held at the end of 2019.

Now just three weeks out from contest, the pressure is starting to build for both Lisa and Calvin who haven't competed since their respective Grand Finals. 

“The grand final was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, nothing comes close really but I loved it, it was a really cool experience,” Calvin says. 

The Northern Regional Final is being held at the Paparoa A&P Show.