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Archie Woodhouse Takes Out East Coast FMG Young Farmer Of The Year

A South Wairarapa Young Farmer is one step closer to winning one of New Zealand’s most prestigious farming awards after being crowned the Season 56 East Coast FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Archie Woodhouse, age 22, just pipped his older brother Callum Woodhouse, age 24, to take out the East Coast FMG Young Farmer of the Year on Saturday evening, following two days of fierce competition at Solway Showgrounds in Masterton. Now, Archie gears up to take on six other regional finalists in the ultimate showdown at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final, being held in Hamilton in July.

The weekend’s event was one of seven Regional Finals happening across Aotearoa between February and April. Details of what challenges would be thrown at the East Coast event were kept under wraps from the determined contestants.

“The win came as a bit of a shock, I was just having another crack this year and had no expectations to take home the trophy!” says Archie.

Archie recently completed his studies at Lincoln University in Christchurch, and now has a bachelor's degree in agriculture and a master’s degree in agribusiness under his belt. He’s now on the family sheep and beef farm in Eketahuna.

“My favourite part of the weekend was actually the exam,” Archie laughs.

“Coming off the back of uni, I was quite comfortable sitting down and getting stuck into the exam. In saying that, being back on-farm for the last couple of months helped me feel a lot more comfortable with the practical challenges thrown at us.”

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Another highlight for Archie was having older brother Callum there competing alongside him.

“It was great having someone with a similar set of skills to me competing, although it was a bit daunting knowing he was breathing down my neck!”

Heading into Saturday night’s buzzer quiz at the top of the leaderboard, the pressure mounted for Archie.

“It’s hard not knowing the point difference heading into the quiz which adds another element of stress. Luckily, I was able to answer a few of the questions, so I was able to earn some last-minute points.”

Callum Woodhouse clinched second place, while Ben Irwin, 20, secured the last spot on the podium. Both were representing South Wairarapa Young Farmers.

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition is dedicated to showcasing the very best talent in New Zealand’s food and fibre sector. Now in its 56th year, the title of “FMG Young Farmer of the Year” is held up as one of the most prestigious farming awards in the country.

With the Grand Final just months away, Archie is looking forward to meeting the other contestants and other Young Farmers from around the country as well as filling his knowledge gaps.

“Some of the modules this weekend were a bit out of my comfort zone, but it was a great way to learn some new things and figure out where the gaps in my knowledge are as I head into my Grand Final prep.”

“I’m really looking forward to meeting the other contestants, as well as catching up with old friends.

Tasman winner George Dodson and I competed against each other last year, so it’ll be great to go head-to-head again,” he said.

New Zealand Young Farmers Chief Executive Lynda Coppersmith says this year’s Grand Final is shaping up to be one of the best yet.

“Every year we continue to be blown away by the caliber of our FMG Young Farmer of the Year contestants, from our AgriKidsNZ participants through to those vying for the regional FMG Young Farmer of the Year title. Their knowledge, skills and passion for the industry is impressive and certainly leaves us excited for the future of our industry.”

New Zealand’s primary sector exports were worth more than $57 billion in the year to June 2023, accounting for 81.9% of New Zealand’s merchandise exports. NZ Young Farmers has been part of the backbone of this primary industry for nearly 100 years, nurturing and supporting talent while growing connected communities.

Coppersmith says it’s the regional communities and volunteers who have made the FMG Young Farmer of the Year the prestigious event it is today.

“We simply couldn’t do it without the tireless work of our local committees, communities and volunteers. These are people who support us year in, year out, and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has played a part.”

The FMG Young Farmer of the Year Contest is proudly supported by FMG, Ravensdown, WorkSafe, Ministry for Primary Industries, Milwaukee, Woolworths, Honda, Lincoln University, Massey University, PTS Logistics, New Holland and Bushbuck.

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