Milton prepares for Young Farmer regional final

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

The heat is on.. Members of the Tokomairiro High School TeenAg club prepare for another challenge at last year’s final. The hotly contested Otago/Southland regional final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition will be held on February 16 in Milton.

The event will closely follow the format of the annually televised national final. Contestants will tackle a series of gruelling practical and theoretical modules at the Tokomairiro A&P Showgrounds.

It will be followed by a dinner and fast-paced agri-knowledge quiz hosted by comedian Te Radar at the Milton Coronation Hall.

The Otago/Southland event will be the first of seven regional finals being held across the country between February and April.

The regional winners will eventually face off at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final, this year being held in the Hawke’s Bay in July.

This year the contestants are Allen Gregory from Lumsden, Matt McRae from Wyndham,

Jacob Mackie from Otautau, Tom Blackmore from Roxburgh, Luke Templeton from Riverton,

Linton Palmer from Dipton, James Robson from Roxburgh and Zac Thomas from Waitane, Gore.

The contest will start at 7pm on the Friday night before, with a one-hour exam, after contestants have had a safety briefing.

On Saturday morning, while Te Radar comperes, the contestants will assemble at 7.30am for the start of 10 practical modules testing their farming skills and knowledge, which should take them all morning to complete, with breaks for head-to-head challenges.

At 12.40pm, the regional contestants undertake another agri-sports challenge before judging in a “race off and face off” session starts at 1.40pm.

While the adult contestants are hard at work all day, the AgriKidsNZ and the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year contestants, made up of teams from schools all over the region, will be working their way through their own set of practical modules starting at 7.30am.

At 1.45pm, the AgriKidsNZ race off will be held, followed at 2.10pm by the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year (previously known as TeenAg), with teams from local high schools competing.

The evening schedule will have contestants starting their quiz session at 6.30pm, followed by the dinner and award ceremony.