Southland stock manager Zac Thomas will represent Otago Southland at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final being held in Hamilton in July.
Thomas, 29, a stock manager on his family’s sheep, beef and arable farm near Mataura, made it through to the finals after taking part in his third regional final.
“I came into the weekend with no expectations, so to get the win was an awesome surprise,” Thomas said.
“It’s a bit surreal to get the win. The biggest challenge was making sure I kept calm. I took on each challenge as it came up and didn’t worry about what had already been done.”
Thomas said he enjoyed the last challenge of the day.
Competing side by side, the regional finalists had just 30 minutes to deal with a series of scenarios that included a farm accident scenario, including administering first aid to a casualty, removing a tree from a road and putting up a temporary fence.
“I really enjoyed the head-to-heads this year, they were a good mix of mental and physical challenge. It was the perfect amount of suffering and a good show for the crowd.”
Thomas Slee, 26, from Nightcaps Young Farmers, was placed second, with Sam Anderson, 30, from Thornbury Young Farmers third.
Shamus Young and Hayden Drummond of Otago Boys’ High School are the Otago Southland FMG Junior Young Farmers of the Year.
The Hauroko Valley Primary School Southern Boys team made up of Oliver Chamberlain, Tomas Clarke and Sam Horrell, all 12 years old, were the Otago Southland AgriKidsNZ winners.