Wellington hosts FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final

Published: Wed 7 Feb 2018 04:59 PM
7th February 2018
Wellington to host FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final
A former cocktail bartender, an award-winning contract milker and a drone-flying drystock farmer will face off in the Taranaki/Manawatu Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
Farmers will descend on the nation’s capital for the event on February 24th.
It’s believed to be the first time the regional final has been held in Wellington.
The contest is one of seven regional finals being held across New Zealand to decide contestants for the grand final of the prestigious competition in Invercargill in July.
Vet student Emma Dangen hopes years of studying at Massey University will help her outsmart the boys.
“Competing has always been a dream of mine,” said the 23-year-old who’s in the final year of a Bachelor of Veterinary Science.
Emma’s brother Tim is competing in the Northern Regional Final.
Emma will be going up against Kimbolton contract milker Michael McCombs, who was named Taranaki Dairy Trainee of the Year in 2015.
Michael is a volunteer firefighter and spent six months mustering cattle in the Australian outback.
“I’d hardly ridden a horse before I got there, but I knew enough not to come off too many times,” he laughed.
Michael is one of three finalists from Marton Young Farmers.
The club’s vice-chairman, Will Taylor, is a Feilding-based technical field rep for PGG Wrightson.
“I enjoy getting out there and benchmarking myself against other professionals in the industry,” said the 26-year-old.
Will spent three years driving tractors and combine harvesters in West Australia.
“I’ve also worked as a bartender at a cocktail bar in Palmerston North,” he laughed.
His clubmate Lachlan Fee is in his second season managing a 600-cow dairy farm at Opiki.
The 26-year-old was stoked to finally win a district contest, after placing third twice.
“It seemed like I was always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” he said.
Nick Brown is the oldest contestant in the Taranaki/Manawatu Regional Final.
“This will be my last chance at winning,” said the 30-year-old who has a Diploma in Agriculture from Lincoln University.
Nick and his wife Sophie use a drone to make video blogs about life on their Toko sheep and beef farm.
It’ll be his friend Dylan Brunton’s first time competing.
“My strengths are probably any modules involving machinery like tractors and quad bikes,” he said.
The 25-year-old has a Bachelor of Science majoring in ecology and zoology from Massey University and is a herd manager on a 500-cow dairy farm at Cardiff.
Guy Harvey contract milks 220 cows in nearby Kaponga.
“I really enjoy the networking side of the contest. It’s a great opportunity to meet people,” said the keen cook, who was born on the farm behind the Tui Brewery at Mangatainoka.
They’ll go up against Kieran McCahon, who recently completed a Bachelor Agricultural Science at Massey University.
He grew up on a 1000-cow dairy farm near Dargaville in Northland.
“In 2017, I was one of two New Zealanders to attend a youth summit organised by Syngenta examining issues facing smallholder farmers in Vietnam,” said the 21-year-old.
The regional final is being held at Crawford Green, Miramar on February 24th. The evening show, hosted by Te Radar, is at the Wellington College.
It’s the 50th anniversary of the iconic agricultural competition which started out as a national radio quiz in 1969.
All eight competitors will go head-to-head in two adrenaline-pumping challenges at 10.30am and 1pm.

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