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Waimate to host FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final

Waimate to host FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final

An award-winning former builder, a hemp producer and a popular rural bachelor will face off in the Aorangi Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

The winner of the fast-paced contest in April will advance through to the grand final of theiconic agricultural competition in Invercargill.

It will be William Ellis’ first time competing in a regional final.

The 27-year-old is a qualified builder who was named the Registered Master Builders Carters Apprentice of the Year for Hawke’s Bay/East Coast in 2014.

“I now manage a 470-hectare sheep and beef finishing and breeding block in Timaru,” he said.

William has planted grain and canola crops in Australia and once swam in the Nile River.

He’ll go up against another well-travelled dry stock farmer, Matthew McAtamney.

Matthew was named 2017 Rural Bachelor of the Year.

The 27-year-old volunteered to help build shelters in Nepal after a devastating earthquake in 2015.

“It was right before the monsoon season, so the pressure was on to rebuild as quickly as possible,” said Matthew.

It’s expected he’ll face a fierce challenge from his older sibling Josh McAtamney.

“I really want to beat my brother,” laughed Josh.

The 29-year-old contract milks 950 cows at Carew and fattens bulls.

William Green grew up in England and a passion for pasture-based agriculture saw him move to New Zealand four years ago.

The 28-year-old is a farm manager on an 840-cow dairy farm at Fairlie.

“I hope to be 50:50 sharemilking within five years,” said William.

Stephen Blain is an arable farmer who produces seed for export.

His 310-hectare family farm in Ashburton grows radishes, grasses, cereals, clovers, corn, peas, hemp and chrysanthemums.

“The radish seed is exported to Asia. We have 10 hectares of yellow chrysanthemums which are processed for Vietnam,” he said.

The 30-year-old has backpacked around Central America and Southeast Asia, visiting about 25 countries.

Campbell Sommerville’s family has a long history with the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

“My father Baden Sommerville was runner-up in the 1991 grand final,” he said.

Campbell works on a 600-hectare arable farm in Methven.

The 24-year-old has spent time in the United Kingdom harvesting meadow hay for race horses and milking 600 dairy goats.

This is the keen rugby player’s first regional final.

Cameron Black has a Bachelor of AgriScience from Massey University.

He works as a rural consultant at New Zealand Agri Brokers and was previously a banker.

“Every spring I take annual leave and help with lambing on my parents’ farm in Southland,” he said.

The 25-year-old won the Agri-Knowledge Challenge in last year’s regional final.

Adam Judd is an assistant manager on a 720-cow dairy farm at Pleasant Point.

The 27-year-old grew up in Mosgiel and has a Bachelor of Science from Massey University.

“I really enjoy learning new skills and benchmarking myself against other contestants,” he said.

Adam plays rugby for Pleasant Point and is attempting to learn Spanish by correspondence.

The Aorangi Regional Final is being held at the Waimate A&P Showgrounds on April 14th. The evening show, hosted by Te Radar, is at the Waimate Shears Pavilion.

The winner will represent the region at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in July.

It’s the 50th anniversary of the prestigious competition which was first held in 1969.

© Scoop Media

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