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Woodhouse aiming to go one better

A young Wairarapa farmer competing in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final in Masterton today and tomorrow is hoping it’ll be a case of second time lucky.

Archie Woodhouse, who was raised on an Eketāhuna sheep and beef farm, is “keen to give it another crack” after placing second in last year’s Tasman Regional Final.

“It was extremely close last year. It would be awesome to get the win this time,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, my mindset going into it is about having fun and meeting new people.”

Woodhouse recently completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Masters in Agribusiness at Christchurch’s Lincoln University.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re on-farm or working in agriculture professionally, there’s a challenge for everyone, and that’s what I really love about it,” he said.

Competition convenor Ashley Greer said challenges in the contest are designed to reflect the varieties of farming on the East Coast.

“We’ve got everything from grapes to horticulture, as well as seed production and pockets of dairy farming,” she said.

“It really does have a bit of everything.”

Greer said East Coast farmers have been doing it tough due to the lingering aftereffects of Cyclone Gabrielle.

“It’s been really hard on them, so this event is something positive we can bring to the region to celebrate our young farmers.”

NZ Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith said she is encouraged to see a “high number” of entries, 43 per cent of whom are first-time contestants.

“This is the 56th season, and it’s shaping up to be one of our best yet with many new faces, including a large number of primary students,” she said.

“It just goes to show the future of farming is in good hands.”

Young farmer contestants will compete in one of three categories depending on age.

Primary school-aged students as young as eight can enter the AgriKidsNZ contest, high school students working in teams of two are eligible for the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year competition, while school leavers compete individually for the FMG New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year.

The event will be held at Solway Showgrounds over two days [today and tomorrow – see page 10 for more details] and is the fifth regional competition of seven regional finals taking place between February and April.

Only the top contestants will qualify for a spot in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final held in Hamilton in July.

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