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Final FMG Young Farmer of the Year to be found in Ashburton

Final FMG Young Farmer of the Year to be found in Ashburton

The last of the seven Grand Finalists will be determined this weekend in Ashburton at the Aorangi FMG Young Farmer of the Year Regional Final.

“This contest season has been very successful and impressive to date, the calibre of contestants is high and each Regional Final has been fiercely competed for” 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 Timaru 7 - 9 July and their share of an impressive prize pack worth over $285,000 in products, services and scholarships from FMG, Massey University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Meridian Energy, Honda, STHIL 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 Ashburton A & P Showgrounds. The free entry Practical Day events will be followed by a ticketed evening quiz-show at the Collegiate Clubrooms.

Matt Dalziel, 27, is member of the Five Forks Young Farmers Club and this is his first season competing in the Contest. Previously an irrigation manager, Matt is now Lower Order sharemilking in Oamaru. A strong believer in working hard to achieve a work-life balance, in his spare time Matt enjoys tennis and squash and also spending time on the lake.

Sam Bryan, 30, is one of the most seasoned competitors in the history of the Contest with six Regional Finals under his belt. Chairman of the newly re-established Methven Young Farmers Club, Sam enjoys the challenge of the Contest and says the contacts he has established through competing has done wonders for his business. Sam split his year between casual mustering, livestock contracting and working some of his leased land. In his spare time Sam enjoys horse riding and dog trialling.

Stephen Blain, 28, is a local cropping farmer who is having his first shot at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest. A member of Young Farmers since 2011, Stephen is a competitive person and while this is his first attempt at the Contest, he is determined to finish in the upper quartile of the field. Stephen loves his sport, especially hockey and squash as well as travelling when work on the farm allows.

Cole Harris, is sharemilking 850 cows alongside his partner in Hinds. The 28 year old has competed in one Regional Final before and is excited about the challenge each Contest season brings. Recently engaged, Cole is spending a lot of his spare time planning for an early 2017 wedding but still manages to get out mountain biking, cycling and playing rugby.

Toby How, 29, is competing for the first time in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest. Toby is a fencing contractor and has spent time working in Mongolian desert. A member of New Zealand Young Farmers for the past six years Toby has held many roles at Club level. The winner of the Rural Bachelor of the Year at the 2015 Mystery Creek Fieldays, Toby enjoys all sports especially hunting, mountain biking and kayaking.

Athol New, 30, is a dairy farm business manager in Rakaia on a 2300 cow property. Athol has been a part of the Pendarves Young Farmers Club for the past five years and this is his second time competing at Regional Final level. In his spare time Athol enjoys water skiing and rugby.

Arjan Van’t Klooster, 24, is a lower order sharemilker on a 1150 cow farm near Waimate. A prime example of the New Zealand Young Farmers talent pipeline, Arjan joined Young Farmers eight years ago as a TeenAg member. With aspirations to be a Grand Finalist Arjan is competing at Regional Final level for the first time. In his spare time Arjan enjoys motorbike trail riding and is a volunteer fire fighter.

John Mehrtens, 29, is a relatively new member of New Zealand Young Farmers having joined the organisation in 2014. A worker on a cropping farm near Waimate, John has always watched the Contest on the television and always wanted to give it a go. In his free time John likes to play basketball and restoring vintage tractors with his father.


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