Young farmers prepare to face off in contest

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Young Farmers from around North Otago should be sharpening their agricultural skills over the coming weeks as the District Final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest draws near.

The District Final, to be held at Totara Estate on November 16, is open to members of Glenavy/Waimate, Five Forks, Upper Waitaki or Waitaki Boys’ High School Young Farmers clubs.

The district finals are the first stage of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest, from where the top three contestants will make it through to the Regional Finals for Aorangi.

The winner there will represent the region at the Grand Final in Christchurch from July 3-5, 2014 for a gruelling few days of competition.

They will be put through a diverse range of practical, theoretical and technical challenges covering all aspects of agriculture including an HR challenge and a business presentation in a live-televised show where the contestants are questioned on everything and anything.

District convener Andrew Cochrane said the contest was about getting out and involved in the industry and using those opportunities and connections to build your network and build your knowledge base.

It was also an opportunity to meet new people, learn some new skills, have a bit of fun and try something new, he said.

“The district final is designed to be fun, entry level sort of stuff, there will be more challenging tasks, but for those who don’t know how to do them it’ll be a learning exercise,” he said.

The district final coincides with Victorian Heritage Celebrations week in Oamaru, so the Swaggers Smoko will also be running at Totara Estate of day of the final which will have a historic twist, too.

“In terms of some of the things farmers had to do, with an Oamaru twist to it,” he said.

Mr Cochrane encouraged all members of North Otago Young Farmers clubs to enter and the North Otago community to come and support the district finalists on November 16.

More than 300 Young Farmers are expected to contend in the district finals around the country, the first round of the competition. The top contestants from each region will go through to their regional final and battle it out for their share of the $14,000 worth of prizes and a spot at the Grand Final where they will vie for the coveted title of ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion and a piece of the $162,000 prize pool.

Entry for the ANZ Young Farmer Contest is open and free for all NZYF members between the ages of 15-31. Entrants must be under 31 years of age at January 1, 2014.

Jump online at www.youngfarmercontest.co.nz for more information.

By Rebecca Ryan