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Regional Finals heat up in Taupo

Regional Finals heat up in Taupo

The ANZ Young Farmer Contest heads to Taupo for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Final, Saturday 22 March.

Eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Christchurch 3-5 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $14,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

This Regional Final will see a remarkable group of contenders come together for what will surely be a full on day of practical, physical and theoretical challenges at the Tongariro North Domain followed by the entertaining evening quiz-show held at the Taupo Great Lake Centre.

The participants all have plenty of industry experience to call upon, and many of them have competed at the regional level previously.

Joshua Cozens, 25, of the Eastern Bay Club placed third in the 2013 Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Final. The Whakatane dairy farm manager is focused on building his herd so he can progress to sharemilking and later farm ownership. This will be his second Regional Final.

This will be Thomas Harliwich’s first Regional Final. The twenty-two year old belongs to the Te Kawa West Club and is second in command on a 680 cow dairy farm in Te Awamutu. The self-confessed “city boy” holds a Bachelor of Agriculture from Lincoln University.

Brady Mitchell, 29, of the Reporoa Club holds a Diploma of Agri-business and was a mechanic before he started working as a contract milker. He plans on moving up to 50/50 sharemilking next season and wants to eventually purchase a farm. Mr Mitchell lives in Reporoa and outside of work he spends his time pig hunting and horse riding. This will be his first Regional Final.

Another first time Regional Finalist is Fergus King, 26, of the Ngarura Club. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture from Lincoln University and works as an equity sharemilker with 570 cows in Matamata. Last year Mr King was a contestant in the Fieldays Rural Bachelor competition.

Michael Courtman, 27, of the Hauraki Club is a lower order sharemilker in Ngatea with 815 cows. His goals include doubling the business’s equity within the next three years and he enjoys the work life balance the industry offers.

Erica van Reenen is new to the Regional Final level. The twenty-nine year old belongs to the Hamilton City Club and works as an extension manager for Beef+Lamb NZ and says she is committed to developing young talent for the future of the primary industry. Miss van Reenen holds a Masters in Agricultural Science.

Dwayne Cowin, 28, of the Reporoa Club is looking to make it to the Grand Final and shake the “bridesmaid tag” after placing second for the past three Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Finals. Mr Cowin holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and works as a stock manager at Lochinver Station, near Taupo. He is focused on developing his professional agricultural management skills over the next five years and has a ten year plan to sharefarm or lease a sheep and beef farm.

Bas Nelis, 27, from the Piarere Club placed third in the 2010 Regional Final. Mr Nelis hails from Tirau and works as a 50/50 sharemilker. He holds a Diploma in Agri-business Management.

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 startingSunday 18th May, 8.30pm exclusively on TVNZ Heartland.

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