Will the Mainland take out the FMG Young Farmer of the Year?

Posted by on 28 June 2016 | Comments

The tension is building among the seven grand finalists for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year before their epic showdown in Timaru next week – with a Mainlander tipped to be the hot favourite. 

Tasman finalist and North Canterbury farmer James Hoban finished fourth in last year's Grand Final and knows exactly what is required to take that top spot this year. 

Although his path to this year's Grand Final has not been smooth following two years of drought and severe economic hardship to the farming fraternity within the district he loves, James is determined to give his final attempt (contestants can only compete twice at a Grand Final), everything he's got.  

An Environmental Consultant when he's not working on the family farm James will be hard to beat at the theoretical section of the contest, held at Raincliff Station in South Canterbury on July 7th. 

But he's not the only one to have competed in a Grand Final with Taranaki/Manawatu finalist Pete Fitz-Herbert sure to be nipping at his heels having finished one place behind James last year at the Grand Final. 

Pete has been in a number of regional finals and has a strong base of experience to draw on – making him tough competition.  Coupled with his overseas working experience in Australia and Chile and his love of all things physical many believe he and James will be at the top of the board when it comes to the epic final night. 

The dark horse of the Contest this year is East Coast's Tony Dowman who is also experienced having competed in a Grand Final in 2012 where he finished sixth. Tony has had to overcome more than most to make it to the final having suffered a serious debilitating back injury which saw his dreams of being a farmer change overnight. 

While pain is a given for all seven grand finalists on their three day epic journey, Tony will feel more of it than most. However, his determination and resilliance and his expertise as a business manager for Landcorp could see East Coast take out the title. 

But Aorangi's Athol New could be the contestant to stand in everyone's way. Coming from a Grand Final winning stronghold in the Aorangi region, and with help and advice from last year's winner Matthew Bell, he will prove tenacious. 

And the old adage that having the Grand Final in your home region adds ten points might be just enough to get this dairy business manager for Synlait across the line! 

Down South though one man hopes to break through and claim the title for the first time for the Clinton Young Farmers Club. Logan Wallace may-be new to Grand Finals but has past regional final experience. His background in Search and Rescue and being a Youth Worker means he knows how to stay calm under pressure and mentally that can add many points to that all important final total. 

However, Northland's Jake Thomson has the passion and determination to succeed this year, and with the proud backing of his region who are sure to be big in numbers at the Grand Final and the encouragement from his boss, Ian Douglas, a former 2013 finalist, Jake is sure to be well-prepared for the rigors of the 48th FMG Young Farmer of the Year. 

For photos and/or interviews with the contestants please ring Nadine Porter, Communications Manager, NZYF, on 021 214 0703 or email nadine.porter@youngfarmers.co.nz