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Local farmers duel for honours

By Beckie Wilson

[email protected]

There can only be one winner at the Young Farmers East Coast regional competition this weekend, but both Wairarapa contestants say they will just take the day as it comes.

Richie Cameron and Henry Reynolds finished first and second in the Wairarapa competition last November and will duel again at the East Coast regional final in Waipukurau on Saturday.

The winner from the regional final will gain a spot in the Young Farmer of the Year grand final in July.

Mr Cameron, a 28-year-old sheep and beef farmer from Mauriceville, has been a regional finalist before but said he’s still “pretty nervous — but it all depends on the day,” he said.

He had been able to brush up on some theory and general knowledge in preparation for the evening quiz on Saturday.

“The day event is more the day to day stuff — there’s about eight modules and they will be related to what we do on the farm, fertilisers, pasture renewal, tractors, chainsaws, and just the general practical stuff,” he said.

The other seven finalists were “all pretty switched on”, but he was more nervous about representing Wairarapa.

“I suppose Wairarapa has done pretty well in the regional finals, so there’s a little bit of pressure to try and continue that.”

The competition is a full day event, with practical tasks in the day and a night quiz covering general knowledge and agriculture-related questions.

Mr Reynolds, 26, and his brother run a fifth-generation family cropping, sheep and beef farm near Carterton, which he admitted had taken up all his study time as they had taken every opportunity to harvest while the weather played ball.

Operating a business had been a substitute for study as he runs the cropping side of the farm.

“I’m studying every day when I’m at work,” he said.

Mr Reynolds entered the competition to have a bit of fun but at the same time wanted to make a good fist of the opportunity.

“I’m not very good at public speaking, so the practical side is what I’m actually looking forward to — it’s a bit of fun.

“I think that’s what I’m going to focus on – I’ll just take it as it comes on the day.”

Mr Reynolds also has the extra knowledge of a Diploma in Agriculture and a Diploma in Farm Management.

Fifty-six contestants will compete in the seven regional finals with seven winners making the grand final in July in Manuwatu.

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