Taranaki/Manawatu Young Farmers to be put to the test

Published: Fri 20 Mar 2015 05:18 PM
Taranaki/Manawatu Young Farmers to be put to the test in ANZ Young Farmer Contest Regional Final
The fifth ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist will be determined next weekend, Saturday 28 March at the Taranaki/Manawatu Regional Final held in Palmerston North.
“This contest season is shaping up to be very exciting, every year the calibre of contestants continues to improve and impress,” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.
The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Taupo 2 – 4 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $271,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.
“The support from sponsors and the community is invaluable, they are not only supporting the Contest but the future of agriculture and together with Young Farmers we are driving the industry forward,” said Mr Copeland.
The Taranaki/Manawatu Regional Final will see an outstanding group of eight contestants (under the age of 31) come together for what will be a full on day of practical, physical and theoretical challenges at The Railway Land. Entry to the Practical Day is free to the public. The Practical Day events will be followed by the sold out ticketed evening quiz-show and dinner held at the Palmerston North Convention Centre.
Daniel Blackman, 27, of the Balance Young Farmers Club is competing at Regional Final level for the first time but is no stranger to the Contest having competed at District level twice before. Daniel is a herd manager on a 215 cow dairy farm within a dairy, sheep and beef operation. In his spare time Daniel likes to go snowboarding, mountaineering and participating in other outdoor pursuits. Daniel is an active member of his Young Farmers club and enjoys the networking and competition opportunities the organisation brings.
Erica van Reenen, 30, of the Marton Young Farmers Club is in her third Regional Final. Erica works as an Environment Extension Manager for Beef + Lamb New Zealand providing tools, education and support for farmers to maintain balance between sustainability and productivity. Erica cannot keep away from the farm, even in her spare time she enjoys helping out on her partner’s farm, hunting and encouraging young people into agriculture. Erica loves working in the Ag sector because of the passionate people and the variety of work challenges.
Pete Fitzherbert, 29, is another member of the Marton Young Farmers Club hoping to take home top honours in the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest. Pete has competed at District and Regional Final levels for eight years. Pete stock manages on the family farm and says one of the most important parts of his job is decision making. In his spare time Pete is a very active member of his Young Farmers Club and completed the Kepler Track in late 2014. Pete enjoys the ANZ Young Farmer Contest because it is a chance to not only test his skills against his pairs, but also to learn new ones.
Samantha Edgar, 23, of the Opiki Young Farmers Club is having her first attempt at Regional Final level. Samantha is a student at Massey University studying Veterinary Science. In her spare time Samantha spends as much time as she can outdoors. She enjoys tramping, sport, gardening and going out with friends. Samantha loves the agriculture industry because of the comradery and the welcoming nature of those that work in it. Samantha is an active member of her Young Farmers Club where she likes to exercise her leadership skills.
Nigel Will, 28, is representing the Marton Young Farmers and has plenty of experience at this level of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. Nigel keeps himself very busy working three jobs; all in the agriculture industry. He manages the family farming operation of 150ha of beef and cropping land, he also runs a calf rearing business alongside his wife Nicola as well as running the farm he and his wife co-own with his brother and wife which is a 390 cow dairy operation. In what spare time he does have, Nigel can be found hunting, playing social sport and attending Young Farmers events. Nigel’s older brothers have both made it to Grand Final level in previous years which he believes provided great benefit to each in different ways, and in 2015 he hopes to not only make it as far as them but to take it one step further and become the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Champion.
Jayden Harvey, 21, of the Central Taranaki Young Farmers Club is the youngest competitor in this Regional Final but do not let his age fool you, he has competed at Regional Final level once before. Jayden is a lower order share milker milking 340 cows in Opunake. In the coming season Jayden will be moving further up the ladder onto a 600 cow operation. In his spare time Jayden likes to keep things social; he enjoys attending Young Farmers events, dirt bike riding as well as hunting and fishing. Jayden is a very active member of Young Farmers, helping run his club as well as local TeenAg clubs.
James Rodgers, 30, is another member of the Marton Young Farmers Club hoping to make his district proud. James manages a 14,500 stock unit sheep and beef property west of Taihape and looks forward to going to work every day! James is a keen pilot, in his spare time he can be seen flying Microlights or anything else that will get him up in the air. While he has only competed once at District level before, James is keen to give his all and is confident that he can take out top Honours in 2015 – or at least give it a good crack.
Cameron Black, 22, is representing the Massey University Young Farmers Club in his second attempt at Regional Final level. Cameron has recently been employed by BNZ as an Agri-banker. In his spare time Cam enjoys hunting and water skiing as well as playing rugby in the winter months. Cam believes that his passion and drive makes him a good candidate for the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. He says the Contest is a good way to measure his skills against his peers and also an opportunity to gain more knowledge and a wider skill-base.
Also in the midst of the action are the future Young Farmers – the AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg competitions will be running alongside the ANZ Young Farmer Contest.
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