West Coast about to have another FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Finalist?

Posted by Nadine Porter on 7 December 2016 | Comments

The West Coast could be about to have another Grand Finalist in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year if early form from local, Andrew Wiffen, is anything to go on.

The 29-year-old took out the West Coast District Contest Skills Day in the weekend to earn the right to compete in the Tasman Regional Final on the 4th March in Hokitika.

A veteran of the Contest, Wiffen aims to win the tough Regional Final but is up against some strong competitors including Christchurch District representatives Simon Ferguson and Robin Hornblow.

However, the Hokitika dairy farmer came runner-up in the two previous Tasman Regional Finals and has experience to burn.

Holding a Bachelor of Commerce and Agriculture, Wiffen originally came from the home family sheep and beef farm at Ward in Marlborough, but moved to the West Coast when the family brought a 100 hectare, 200 cow dairy farm.

Having the Regional Final on his home turf should work in Wiffen's favour as it will for the other West Coast finalist, Ellesh Norrie.

The 23-year-old has earned her position in the Regional Final on only her first attempt at a District Contest and Skills Day.

After growing up on a sheep and beef farm in South Canterbury, Norrie went to University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture before working on a North Otago dairy farm.

This year she moved to Reefton to work on 1000-hectare dry stock farm where she mainly works with deer.

That broad experience and tertiary training means she could prove a threat to the other finalists on the day as long as she can keep her nerves in check.

In 2012 Murchison vet Michael Lilley took out the title of FMG Young Farmer of the Year while representing the West Coast and was the last Coaster to win the Tasman Regional Final.

The final line-up for the Tasman Regional Final in Hokitika on 4th March is:

Andrew Wiffen, Ellesh Norrie (West Coast), Simon Ferguson, Robin Hornblow, Megan Hands (Christchurch), Mitchell Flood (Nelson/Marlborough), Sam Heaven, Roscoe Taggart (Hurunui)

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.Tasman RFinalist 003