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Keen competitor . . . Upper Waitaki Young Farmers chairman Tom Adkins with his dogs on-farm at Caberfeidh Station in the Hakataramea Valley. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Hakataramea Valley farmer Tom Adkins wants to do himself and his club proud when he heads to the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Aorang region final.

This will be the Upper Waitaki Young Farmers chairman’s first shot at the regional finals, having narrowly missed out on qualifying last year after coming fourth›equal in the district finals.

‘‘I went down in a quiz›off — only the top four from each district go through,’’ Mr Adkins said.

Those finals were then cancelled due to Covid›19.

This time Mr Adkins has qualified as the winner of the Aorangi South District contest.
The 22-year-old grew up on his parents’ sheep and beef farm in Whanganui.

After high school he studied at Telford for two years and then completed diplomas in agriculture and farm management at Lincoln University.

He did a six-month practical work placement at Te Mania Angus Studs in Kaikoura, before moving to Caberfeidh Station, a Lone Star Farm property in the Hakataramea Valley, where he has been for close to two years.

‘‘So, I did my second work placement here and have carried on.’’

As block manager on the large›scale intensive sheep and beef farm, Mr Adkins is responsible for feed budgets, rotation planning and just ‘‘generally day›to›day jobs’’.

‘‘I really enjoy the stock work, and enjoy the dogs — I’ve got a team of half a dozen hounds,’’ he said.

He was also far from isolated, having 13 workmates.

‘‘It’s nice to work with a good crew of people. It’s a really neat spot here in the Haka.’’

Mr Adkins joined Young Farmers at Lincoln in 2019, and this was his third year taking part in the competitions, he said.

His strengths were pastures, fencing, shearing and crutching.

‘‘Getting to the regionals is always something I’ve really aspired to do,’’ he said.

‘‘My parents were Young Farmers members in Martin, back in their day, and so it’s something I’ve always grown up around, and known about. Getting into regionals is something I’ve been wanting to get to for a while, so looking forward to the chance, really.’’

The move south was not an intentional one, more a case of taking opportunities when they arose.

‘‘My parents are always really supportive of me getting away from home, and seeing what there is to see out there.

‘‘I didn’t plan to stay south, but there wasn’t a plan to move up north, exactly, either. I’ve just sort of gone with the flow.’’

He did eventually plan to one day move back home to the family farm.

Upper Waitaki Young Farmers Club had from 20 to 25 members, and was growing. Mr Adkins had just been voted back in for his second year as chairman.

His approach to the regional finals was to go there with a ‘‘good attitude’’.

‘‘I’m hoping to be in the top four, and just do myself proud.

‘‘I haven’t been to a regional before, so mostly a learning experience for me, and yeah, just give it a good crack.’’

Outside of farming, Mr Adkins loved diving, hunting, and fishing at the Waitaki lakes.

‘‘When I’m not doing that, just mucking around in the garden at home.’’