Mother To Be Wins Northern FMG Young Farmer Of The Year

Posted by Erin Speedy on 2 February 2020 | Comments

A mother to be has been named as the Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year, while a new mum came in third place.

Lisa Kendall, 28, has taken out the fiercely contested title while pregnant with her first child.

She has become the first person through to Grand Final in Christchurch in July to compete for the title of FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Ballance rural professional Calvin Ball, 28, came runner up in second place and 50/50 Share Milker Kate Reed, 29, came third.

Lisa has taken home a prize pack worth $12,000 and said it was an extremely tough competition.  

“A lot of the contestants had lots of experience in a lot of the tasks so it was really nerve wracking, there was some pretty smart cookies in there and a lot of really diverse challenges,” she said.

A hard worker, she is currently working in a range of different roles as a Farmlands Assistant Business Manager, Papakura sheep milker, business owner, agricultural contractor and personal trainer.

“It’s difficult, I’m really busy but I’m very lucky to have a supportive family and supportive husband James, I don’t do much of the housework,” she laughed.

The Franklin Young Farmer also made the FMG YFOTY Grand Final in 2017, where she came fourth place.

Over the weekend, the eight Northern Regional Finalists, selected from two District Finals were put through their paces in a series of gruelling challenges.

On Friday night the contestants sat through a rigorous exam before heading into the practical day on Saturday at the Paparoa A&P Show and the famous YFOTY quiz at the evening show.

The contest is based around five strainers – innovation, technology, food, environment and people. 

Lisa took out the most points in two of the strainers, People and Food, winning the top awards for both.

Runner up Calvin Ball was also awarded the leader in two strainers – technology and environment.

“The heat was hard, it was all very challenging there were no easy parts and the practical components were exciting as well,” Calvin said.  

Calvin is also a former Grand Finalist and came fourth place in 2016, with this his first time competing since.

“Lisa was very, very deserving and it was awesome competing against her and the others they’re all such awesome people. I’m actually very content and happy to push Lisa all the way because she’s a really solid competitor.”

With no Grand Final in sight, he’s looking forward to undergoing surgery and recovering from an old injury.

Meanwhile Kate Reed in third place also won the fifth strainer, Innovation.

It was her first time competing.

She puts her knowledge in the innovation field down to her experience working on Dairy NZ research farms and managing the Northland Agricultural Research Farm.

With a ten month old baby, she says the physical side of the contest was the hardest.

“I was a bit worried with chainsaws and building, things that I haven’t done for quite a while,” she said.

“The whole competition pushed me outside of my comfort zone but in a good way, pushed my boundaries.  I’m also very proud of myself, it was very unexpected.”

Contest Board Chair Bexx Brown thought the high calibre of contestants was a great start to the 52nd season of the contest.

“The competition was so tight with all of them holding such a diverse range of skills which was shown across the five strainers. We had four dairy farmers, three rural professionals and an agricultural contractor fighting for the title, it was incredible to watch and see their talents in the field,” she said.

“Northern Region has set a high bar for the other six regions so we’re excited to see what they will bring.” 

The other five contestants were Cameron Massie, Andrew Martin, Brant Julian, Matthew Harding and Ryan Morris.

The event was sponsored by FMG, Ravensdown, Honda, WorkSafe, PTS, STIHL, Lincoln University, Massey University, Southfuels/Northfuels, Betacraft and New Holland. 



-          $1,000 cash reward from FMG

-          A $1,500 Ravensdown Environmental Package or a Ravensdown 101 Course

-          WorkSafe leadership course valued at $4,000

-          Honda XR150 farm bike

-          $1,000 New Holland voucher

-          3 year subscription to zero harm farms


-          1st Lisa Kendall

-          2nd Calvin Ball

-          3rd Kate Reed


Technology – Calvin Ball

Environment – Calvin Ball

People – Lisa Kendall

Food – Lisa Kendall

Innovation – Kate Reed