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Dunsandel trio join the race to be named FMG Young Farmer

Dunsandel trio join the race to be named next FMG Young Farmer of the Year

Canterbury dairy farmer Jonny Brown’s goal of taking out the FMG Young Farmer of the Year is back on track.

The 27-year-old suffered a setback last year after he failed to qualify for the hotly-contested Tasman regional final.

“I missed out by one point. I was gutted,” said Jonny, who’s an assistant manager on a 1,000-cow farm at Rakaia.

The narrow loss drove the Dunsandel Young Farmers member to step up his efforts this year.

He took out first place in the Christchurch District Contest at the Courteney A&P Showgrounds over the weekend.

The win has secured the Lincoln University graduate a spot in the Tasman regional final next March.

“It’s a relief to know I’m advancing to the next stage,” said Jonny.

“But I was cursing a bit when I had to tackle three sheep modules in a row. Dairying is definitely my strong point,” he laughed.

Fellow club members Alex Knowles, 25, and Martin Bates, 29, have also qualified for the event.

“I’m quite surprised I did as well as I did,” said Alex, who’s an agri manager with Ravensdown.

“I only entered because I thought it’d be hypocritical of me to tell other people to sign up if I didn’t have a go myself.”

“I really enjoyed it,” she said.

Competitors had to assemble a shearing handpiece, identify different types of plants, reverse a quad bike and trailer, and judge milking sheep.

Alex plans to learn how to shear a sheep and practice her welding skills before the regional final.

Martin Bates is a qualified builder and contract milks 1,200 cows across two farms at Charing Cross.

He’s excited about competing in his second regional final.

“The last one was a great experience because it highlighted my shortfalls and what I need to work on,” he said.

Three further district contest and skills days will be held in the Tasman region between now and early December.

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