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Eketāhuna farmer wins regionals

 

A young Wairarapa farmer is one step closer to a national title after being crowned the East Coast FMG Young Farmer of the Year on Saturday.

Regional final winner Archie Woodhouse competed in a two-day showdown at Masterton’s Solway Showgrounds on Friday and Saturday.

“The win came as a bit of a shock,” the 21-year-old Eketāhuna sheep and beef farmer said.

“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.

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

Woodhouse will now go on to compete against six other regional winners at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hamilton from July 11 to 13.

South Wairarapa Young Farmers representative Callum Woodhouse – Archie’s older brother – secured second place, while Ben Irwin placed third on the podium.

By the end of April there will have been seven regional finals held across New Zealand to select the competitors in the grand final.

Comedian Te Radar has been acting as master of ceremonies for the nationwide competition since 2016 and said that part of the joy of hosting is seeing plenty of familiar faces.

What makes the competition unique is the breadth of knowledge the participants are required to demonstrate, he said, showcasing what it takes to be a farmer across the disciplines of livestock, agribusiness, crop, and everything else.

The “courage” of competitors willing to give it a crack is “not to be taken lightly”, Te Radar said, while noting that the best venue during the Masterton event was for the junior quiz, which was held in the centre of a dusty sheep auction ring, with the audience sitting where buyers normally view a 360-degree angle of livestock.

“It was great, like an intellectual version of ‘Gladiator’,” he said.

New Zealand Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith said the organisers are continually “blown away by the calibre” of each contestant.

“Their knowledge, skills and passion for the industry is impressive and certainly leaves us excited for the future of our industry,” she said.

Coppersmith said the credit for making Young Farmers the prestigious event it is today goes to regional communities.

“We simply couldn’t do it without the tireless work of our local committees, communities, and volunteers,” she said, adding she is “incredibly grateful” to those who support the event “year in” and “year out”.

The East Coast regional final also included junior young farmer and AgriKidsNZ competitions [the results of which were not available at press time], and about 180 contestants competed in Masterton across all three levels.

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