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Technical skills tested during day one of Contest

Technical skills tested during day one of Contest

All seven contestants stand in front of the historic Brancepeth Homestead after a long day at the technical day.

There were seven very exhausted Young Farmers in Masterton last night - mentally exhausted that is.

Day one of The Ultimate Rural Challenge tested the brain power of the seven Grand Finalists during the Technical Day (Thursday 30th June) at The National Bank Young Farmer Contest 2011 Grand Final.

The seven Grand Finalists have won the right to represent their Region after coming out on top during 22 District Finals and seven Regional Finals held throughout the country from late last year. The Grand Finalists are: Shane Munford from Northern, Tim van de Molen from Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Mike Croad from East Coast, Cam Brown from Taranaki/Manawatu, Cole Groves from Tasman, Will Grayling from Aorangi and Hayden Peter from Otago/Southland.

Yesterday morning the Grand Finalists headed to Brancepeth Station where the Technical Day was held in the historically impressive Brancepeth Homestead. The Contestants had to complete several different technical challenges under strict time constraints and the watchful eye of the judges. Technical Day Manager Mark Guscott says that the variety of tasks that make up the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge and the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge are reflective of modern day farming and agri-business.

"We test everything that a farmer has to do in their home office and what a rural professional might do in their job too - that's everything from budgeting to mediation, they even have to present to a board plus a whole lot more."

The Market Innovation Challenge saw the Contestants present a supply chain innovation project of their choice to three judges; Graham Turley the Managing Director Commercial and Agri, ANZ Group; Stephen Macauley General Manager of AGMARDT and Shane McManaway CEO of Allflex Australasia.

The seven Young Farmers also had to face a 45 minute personal interview from a panel of three judges: Leo Vollebregt 1987 Young Farmer of the Year, Mavis Mullins from the Golden Shears and Dr Patrick Aldwell Dean of the Faculty of Commerce at Lincoln University.

A Human Resources Challenge saw the Contestants mediate a dispute between an employer and an employee that included issues such as wrongful dismissal and unsafe quad bike practices.

On top of all that the Contestants had to complete a technical exam throughout the day which saw them produce a detailed plan to maximise returns and profitability for Brancepeth Station.

Prior to the Grand Final the Contestants were also judged on their "community footprint"; a chance to see what the Contestant's put back into their community and to judge the gap they would leave if they were taken out of that community.

It didn't finish there for the Contestants though. Following the Technical Day the Contestants had to present a three minute speech at the Awards Dinner at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Solway Park before they could get some well-deserved rest ahead of the Practical Day to be held today at the Solway A&P Showgrounds.

Awards Dinner attendees were also treated to a speech from guest speaker Sir Brian Lochore who spoke of his time as a Young Farmer Member and his heavy involvement with the All Blacks over the years. He took the chance to impart some wisdom on the Young Farmers in attendance too telling the audience that ambition is what it takes to make a winner: ambition, listening so you can learn and doing everything to the best of your ability.

The winner of the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge wins a Lincoln University conference package for an industry related conference (domestically or internationally) to the value of $8,000.

The AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge winner will take away an AGMARDT scholarship towards a career development programme valued at $15,000.

The Contest Champion for 2011 could take away either of those prizes and more: A $62,000 prize package is up for grabs that includes: 12 month complimentary use of an Isuzu D-Max valued at approximately $15,000, a Honda TRX420FPM power steer four-wheel drive manual ATV $ valued at 15,000, $10,000 cash from The National Bank, quality products and services from Ravensdown to the value of $7,000, a selection of quality outdoor power equipment from ECHO to the value of $7,000, a Lincoln University scholarship for study towards a Specialist Masters of Professional Studies or entry to the Kellogg Programme valued at $5,000, an AGMARDT Scholarship towards a career development programme valued at $2,000 and a range of Swanndri clothing to the value of $1,000.


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