Hunterville beauty therapist qualifies for FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Posted by on 7 March 2019 | Comments

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A trained beauty therapist and make-up artist is vying to be the next FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Sarah Meurk, 30, will go up against six men in the Taranaki/Manawatū regional final in Whanganui in April.

The Marton Young Farmers member lives on a lifestyle block in Hunterville with her husband and their daughter.

“I’m super excited. It’s always been my goal to make it into a regional final,” she said.

Sarah Meurk Sarah juggles being a mum and working part-time on the farm operated by Feilding High School.

The property runs sheep, beef and milks 60 cows through a robotic dairy.

“Farming is an awesome lifestyle and I’m passionate about getting others involved,” said Sarah, who’s also a freelance make-up artist.

Sarah was previously a tutor for a government-funded programme getting teenagers engaged in education.

She’ll go head-to-head with fellow club mate James Beattie, 26, who’s also inspiring the next generation of agri-food producers.

“I tutor agriculture to Years 11-12 students at Taihape Area School one day a week,” he said.

James is a block manager on a 650 hectare (effective) operation at Taihape.

It winters 8500 stock units, including 150-200 hinds and 100 does. About 70 hectares of crops are planted annually.

“This will be my first time competing in a regional final. I’m stoked to have made it through,” he said.

James has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Massey University and has worked on a 1500 cow dairy farm in the United States.

The hotly-contested Taranaki/Manawatū regional final is being held on April 6th.

Contestants will tackle a series of gruelling practical and theoretical modules at Cooks Gardens in Whanganui.

It will be followed by a dinner and fast-paced agri-knowledge quiz hosted by Te Radar at the Whanganui War Memorial Centre.

The other five regional finalists are Alex Field, Ashton Coates, Ben Orchard, Blair Briscoe and Graham Johnson.

Ashton Coates, 20, is a shepherd and works across two farms east of Whanganui.

The properties, which total 1600 hectares, run 6500 ewes and 600 Ezicalve Hereford breeding cows.

He’s also a member of Marton Young Farmers.

“I was encouraged to give the contest a go by my boss Mike Cranstone who competed in two FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finals,” he said.

Ben Orchard, 20, is a two-time world archery champion with an unrivalled aim.

He’s in his third year studying a Bachelor of AgriCommerce majoring in farm management at Massey University.

Blair Briscoe, 30, is a qualified builder and contract milks 430 cows near Inglewood in Taranaki.

Graham Johnson, 20, is a third-year agricultural science student at Massey University.

He’s previously competed in TeenAg Grand Finals in Taupo and Christchurch.

The winner of the regional final will represent the region at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay in July.