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Young Farmers heading south

Young Farmers heading south

The ANZ Young Farmer Contest heads south for the second Regional Final in Otago/Southland, Saturday 22 February in Alexandra.

It will be a full on day with practical events at Pioneer Park where competitors will be tested on a variety of hands-on, physical and theoretical challenges – all with an agricultural and farming focus.

The day’s events will be followed by the entertaining evening show and quiz round at the Alexandra Community Centre where a cool head and quick wits are vital. Tickets for the evening show can be purchased at ANZ Tarbert Street, Alexandra.

The top scoring competitor will go on to represent Otago/Southland at the Grand Final in Christchurch, 3-5 July.

Over $14,000 in cash, scholarships and products and services is up for grabs for these savvy Young Farmers from ANZ, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

It is set to be tight race for this round of eliminations. The ambitious participants all have strong backgrounds in the agriculture industry and plenty of experience to call upon.

James Lawn, 24, from the Clinton/South Otago Club has competed several times - four District Finals and three Regional Finals – all over the country from Waikato-Bay of Plenty to Taranaki –Manawatu and now finds himself back down south. Mr Lawn holds a Bachelor in Applied Science and is employed as an extension officer for DairyNZ. He has his sights set on the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion title and hopes to one day join in a Kellogg’s Rural Leadership Programme.

The youngest competitor in the competition is James Gardyne at 19 years old. Mr Gardyne hails from the Waitane Club and is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting, fishing and motor biking. He is a driven individual who hopes to one day own his own sheep and beef farm.

The Nightcaps Young Farmers Club will have a strong turn out this year with three of their members competing.

Nightcaps Club Chairman is twenty-five year old Simon Topham. He is keen to bring the champion title home to Southland and has competed at the regional level three times previously. Mr Topham holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture from Lincoln University and leases a 500 cow dairy farm at Hedgehope.

Fellow Nightcaps Club member John White, 30, enjoys the challenge the contest offers and was runner up in the 2012 Otago/Southland Regional Final. Mr White holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture from Lincoln University, runs his own contract milking company with his wife and works as a dairy farm advisor in Riverton.

And, the final competitor from Nightcaps is Hayden Gentle, 28. Mr Gentle is a carpenter by trade and an avid rugby player who hails from Invercargill.

Hamish Robinson is in it for the fun of it. The twenty-one year old from Wyndham belongs to the Lincoln Club and has competed once before at the district level. Mr Robinson holds a Bachelor in Agriculture and enjoys the busy lifestyle associated with agriculture.

Dean Rabbidge, 28, was the 2013 Otago/Southland Grand Finalist and he is hoping to make another appearance this year. Mr Rabbidge belongs to the Wyndham Club and has earned a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture from Lincoln University. He works on a 370Ha sheep, beef and dairy farm in Eastern Southland and hopes to one day own a farm of his own. Mr Rabbidge shows great determination lives by the ‘give it a go’ philosophy.

And lastly, Logan Wallace, 28, is a first time competitor from the Clinton/South Otago Club. He holds a Diploma in Rural Business from Telford and is currently employed as the managing director of his family’s sheep farm in South Otago. Mr Wallace is interested in working with youth and says he is keen to learn all there is about farming.

Also in the midst of the action are the future Young Farmers – the AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg Regional Final competitions running alongside the ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

And, be sure to tune in to ‘Road To The Young Farmer Final’. The series, hosted by Mark Leishman, covers each of the seven Regional Finals and follows the seven top achievers who make it through to the Grand Final. Catch all the action starting Sunday 18th May, 8.30pm exclusively on TVNZ Heartland.

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