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Hammond considering third title tilt

FMG Young Farmer of the Year East Coast Regional Final winner Joseph Watts in action. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

Greytown contract milker Hamish Hammond finished in second place at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year East Coast Regional Final, for the second year in a row.

Hammond once again had to bow down to PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative Joseph Watts, who also won last year.

Greytown’s Hamish Hammond finished second in the competition for the second year in a row.

The 29 year-old took home $12,000 in prizes, and said he was excited to get another shot at the Grand Final after coming runner-up to James Robertson in 2019 by just half a point.

Watts and Hammond were neck and neck throughout the day, with only a few points separating the two in the end.

The contest was based around five categories – technology, environment, people, food and innovation.

Watts took out technology and food, while Hammond took out innovation and environment.

Napier-based rural value, Cameron Walker won the people category.

The eight regional finalists competed in eight modules and battled it out in two time and points races – head-to-heads – at the Central Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds, Waipukurau, on Saturday, which was home turf for Watts.

The two head-to-heads involved building and fitting a wooden gate, putting together a trough fitting, administering first aid to an ‘injured child’, wood chopping, pruning trees, pushing wool bales and more.

A written exam, as well as the famous FMG Young Farmer of the Year buzzer quiz also tested the regional finalist’s knowledge.

Being a 2019 Grand Finalist, was a strength, as he knew where to pick up points, Watts said.

“Although it’s a farming competition, I’m able to feedback on some of my sporting career as well and work out how to actually win. It might not be in the prettiest way or the best way, but it comes down to collecting points at the end of the day.”

The former professional squash player was ranked 169th on the World Circuit in his prime.

Hammond, 29, was also a former professional athlete, competing internationally in triathlons across the world, cracking the top five in New Zealand for half-Ironman.

Both Watts and Hammond were in the Massey University Sports Academy together while studying for their respective degrees.

Hammond said he was disappointed to finish second.

“I like competing, I like learning and I like farming. This is a Young Farmers competition, it’s good to practise farming and I’m getting pretty good at it so I’d like to think I’d do well,” he said.

The Massey University Alumni studied a Bachelor, Honours and Masters in Ag-Commerce.

Now a contract milker in Greytown, he’s based on the sixth generation family farm milking 610 cows with a beef block on the side running 200 stock units.

He said he loves competing so won’t rule out another competition, but the busy farm could hold him back.

“It’s trying to fit that in alongside what we actually do on-farm and that’s the priority really, farming,” he said.

Third place East Coast FMG Young Farmer of the Year was awarded to first-time competitor and veterinarian Georgina Campbell. She had moved to Taumarunui after two years in Hawke’s Bay.

In the East Coast FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year contest which ran alongside, Thomas Fountaine and Jock Bourke from Rathkeale College finished runner-up to a Napier Boys’ High School pair.

Both teams have been invited to compete at the Grand Final in Christchurch in July which runs alongside the FMG YFOTY Grand Final.

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