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Aorangi Young Farmers to be put to the test

Aorangi Young Farmers to be put to the test in ANZ Young Farmer Contest Regional Final

The second ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Finalist will be determined next weekend, Saturday 28 February at the Aorangi Regional Final held in Oamaru.

“This contest season is shaping up to be very impressive after a fantastic Regional Final in Queenstown over Waitangi weekend. Every year the calibre of contestants continues to impress,” says Terry Copeland, Chief Executive of New Zealand Young Farmers – organisers of the event.

The eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Taupo 2 – 4 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $271,000 in products, services and scholarships from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

“The support from sponsors and the community is invaluable, they are not only supporting the Contest but the future of agriculture and together with Young Farmers we are driving the industry forward,” said Mr Copeland.
The Aorangi Regional Final will see an outstanding group of contenders (under the age of 31) come together for what will be a full on day of practical, physical and theoretical challenges at the North Otago A&P Show. The Practical Day events will be followed by a ticketed evening quiz-show held at the Oamaru Opera House.

Sam Bryan, 29, of the Foothills Young Farmers Club, is no stranger to the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. Since beginning competing in 2007 he has qualified for four Regional Finals. Sam runs a livestock contracting business which includes mobile crutching trailers and a contract tailing run. In his spare time Sam can be found riding horses, hunting, tramping, socialising and dog trialling. Mr Bryan believes the Contest is a great avenue for personal and professional development under the pressure of competition in the public arena.

Caleb Strowger, 23, is representing the Milford/Clandeboye Young Farmers Club in his fourth attempt at Regional Final level of the Contest. Caleb is a graduate Consulting Officer for DairyNZ based out of Timaru and believes his competitive nature and can-do attitude will help him in the competition. Caleb is a very active member of Young Farmers and in his spare time also enjoys riding motorbikes, socialising and playing rugby.

Thomas Gardner, 23, from the Glenavy/Waimate Young Farmers Club is having his very first attempt at the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. In his spare time Thomas is involved in equestrian sports, and is a very familiar face on the Canterbury show jumping scene. Recently graduated from Lincoln University, Thomas believes his farming experience, hard work and academic nouse will help him to victory.

Matt Bell, 28, from the Hinds Young Farmers Club was a Grand Finalist in 2013 to finish third and win the Agri-Skills Challenge. Matt is contract milking on a 700 cow farm in the Rangitata for the Pye Group. In his spare time Mr Bell enjoys getting out on his motorbike, snowboarding and refereeing rugby. Matt is very passionate about the Contest and is determined to take out top honours in 2015.

Stafford Adams, 27, of the Glenavy/Waimate Young Farmers Club competed in the 2014 Aorangi Regional Final. Mr Adams manages a dairy farm and will be moving into contract milking in the coming season. When he is not working Stafford likes to go hunting, fishing, boating and skiing. Stafford enjoys being a member of New Zealand Young Farmers because it allows him to socialise with people like-minded people.

Bryce Vreugdenhil, 21, from the Milford/Clandeboye Young Farmers Club is having his very first attempt at the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. Bryce is a shepherd at Mt Peel Station which runs 35,000 stock units including sheep, deer, cattle and grazing dairy heifers. When he’s not working the outgoing 21 years old enjoys socialising, playing rugby, and hunting. Bryce is a keen dog trialler as well, he enjoys the challenge each trial presents and testing his team of dogs against others.

Athol New, 29, represents the Pendarves Club in his first attempt at Regional Final level. Athol is the farm operations manager for a 2,250 cow dairy operations based north of Rakaia, he leads a team of 13 people to successfully run this business. The Lincoln University graduate believes his leadership, management and practical skills will hold him in good stead to win the Contest. In his spare time Mr New enjoys water skiing, golf, fishing and coaching rugby.

Tom Hunt, 29, from the Upper Waitaki Young Farmers Club has competed at Regional Final level before. The twenty-nine year old is in his first season of being a lower order share-milker. Tom believes that his broad range of experience across most farming practices and competitive nature will help him become the next ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion. In his spare time Mr Hunt plays rugby and enjoys hunting and fishing as well as socialising.

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

Further details and Evening Show tickets are available from


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