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Blackball Dairy Farmer Takes On Regional Final

March 28, 2002

Blackball Dairy Farmer Takes On Serious Challenge In Tasman Regional Final

Blackball dairy farmer Colin van der Geest, a popular winner in last year’s Wrightson Agmardt Young Farmer Contest Tasman Regional Final, will have the home ground advantage for this year’s event on Saturday, April 6.

Greymouth is playing host to the Tasman Regional Final, and plenty of hometown support is expected for the 30-year-old.

Van der Geest showed superb skills in Agrisport last year to lift the Regional Final title and go on to the 2001 WRIGHTSON AGMARDT YOUNG FARMER CONTEST Grand Final.

However, he faces some of the toughest competition in this year’s Regional Finals, including a challenge from Leeston field research agronomist and farmer Jo De Filippi.

A newcomer to the Contest, De Filippi showed she had what it took in beating 1998 Grand Finalist Hamish Maginness into second place in their District Final.

Maginness still poses a considerable threat, however, with his encyclopaedic agricultural and general knowledge skills giving him an edge in the evening session.

In what will be his last opportunity to reach the Grand Final, 30-year-old Rangiora farmer Geoff Spark will also be giving it everything in the Tasman Final. Andrew Finch, the Tasman Regional Manager for the WRIGHTSON AGMARDT YOUNG FARMER CONTEST, believes he will offer stiff opposition.

“David Eckhoff, a rural banker from Rangiora, was fourth in his first time at Regional Final level last year, and will be pushing for a top three placing this year, along with Seddon’s Justin Stevens,” Andrew Finch says.

Two new finalists, Blenheim’s Greg Harris and Nelson’s Craig Webby, could provide some added interest to the event, coming in with the intention of causing an upset.

The competition is divided into four sections – theory, practical, agrisport and an evening session.

In what will be his 11th year, experienced television and radio personality Jim Hopkins will again compere all Regional Finals.

Held at the Marist Rugby League Ground on Saturday, April 6, the practical session is divided into seven tasks and one interview. It tests contestants’ problem solving abilities as well as their practical skills and knowledge of a wide variety of agricultural industries, including dairy, sheep, beef, deer, arable, forestry and horticulture.

Agrisport is where the contestants compete side by side in a race to complete a variety of farming-related tasks such as building a sawhorse and assembling a milking cluster.

In the evening session at the Regent Theatre, Greymouth, the contestants will participate in a quickfire round testing their general and agriculture knowledge through oral, video and audio questions.

Each Regional Final winner will receive a prize package valued at $9295, including a $6695 Honda XR200 farm bike, $1000 cash from Straight Furrow newspaper, $750 of Swanndri clothing, Wrightson products or services to the value of $500 and a Ford dealer vehicle servicing package and gift pack valued at $350.

The winner of the practical section receives Ravensdown Quality Fertiliser Products and soil and herbage testing services from ARL valued at $1500.

All district and regional contestants in the 2002 WRIGHTSON AGMARDT YOUNG FARMER CONTEST have the opportunity to apply for a Lincoln University scholarship. One of these scholarships, each with a value of up to $15,520, will be awarded in each of the seven contest regions.

Tickets to the Tasman Final at the Regent Theatre are available from Wrightson Agri Centres and cost $15. Entry to the practical day at the Marist Rugby League Grounds is free.

The 2002 WRIGHTSON AGMARDT YOUNG FARMER CONTEST Grand Final will be held in Timaru from July 4-6, with a total prize pool of $129,695. This INCLUDES A FIRST PRIZE VALUED AT $79,495 TO GO HAND IN HAND WITH THE PRESTIGIOUS TITLE OF 2002 WRIGHTSON AGMARDT YOUNG FARMER of the Year.

© Scoop Media

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