Saturday, December 2, 2023

Looking for NZ’s next champion farmer

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FMG Young Farmer of the Year open to entries
Tim Dangen, FMG Young Farmer of the Year Season 54, practising one of the many skills of the modern farmer.
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The 55th season of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year gets underway next month, with the first of 11 district contests being held on October 15.

New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF) members are invited to register for the agricultural challenge, where they’ll show off their practical and theoretical know-how in a bid to make it through to the next round, the regional finals.

The contests are one-day events organised by NZYF clubs. 

Whether it be through organising, competing or coming along as support, all members are encouraged to get behind their local district contest to be a part of NZYF’s largest event.

At the regional finals, the top contestants from each district contest will once again demonstrate the broad and varied skillset of a modern farmer. Seven regional finals will be held between February and April 2023.

From there, the highest scoring contestant wins the honour of representing their region at the coveted FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final in Timaru in July 2023.

Recently, beef farmer Tim Dangen became the latest FMG Young Farmer of the Year to join the long line of champions.

“We’re fantastic farmers, we know it, we just need to continue to tell the positive stories from our industry,” Dangen said.

He is a member of the Auckland City Young Farmers Club and came out on top at the Season 54 FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final in Whangārei last July, earning him hometown hero status in the Northern Region.

“It was a great day, we had a great time and worked through a bunch of different modules, had our farmlet that we kept going back to, and then we closed it out with agri-sports at the end, which was a highlight for me,” he said.

Dangen is keen to inspire young people to “get amongst it” and is full of praise for the contest’s platform in New Zealand’s primary sector.

“It’s such good advocacy for the industry,” he said. 

“I love this competition to bits. We need to be proud of what we do, we’re world-leading farmers, there are challenges out there, but solutions are available to all these challenges, we just need to make sure we continue to attract the right people towards the sector, and we’ll carry on being world leaders like we are”.

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest is trialling a new structure this year in the Northern and Waikato/Bay of Plenty regions. 

These will be two-day events, with day one resembling the traditional district contest and day two aligning more closely to a regional final.

The end goal remains the same – to find the region’s best to represent it as grand finalists, NZYF chief executive Lynda Coppersmith said.

“We know that FMG Young Farmer of the Year is a long season normally and it puts a lot of pressure on our member volunteers to deliver a lot of events.

“We’re trialling this to look at ways that we can still find New Zealand’s best young farmer, but in a way that is potentially more streamlined.”

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