New Holland have been proud supporters of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year since 2017. The event is a challenge that inspires excellence, showcases innovation and challenges contestants to push their limits. The grand finals took place in Hawkes Bay on the 5-6th July.
We sat down with Samantha Kershaw, Norwood Events & Sponsorship Specialist to discuss the background of the event as well as New Holland’s involvement.
Why do New Holland choose to support the competition?
A large part of New Holland’s global strategy is about nurturing and supporting the next generation of farmers, and this competition perfectly aligns with that.
The calibre of the contestants competing, across all three age groups, is extraordinarily high. Without doubt, amongst the competitors are many of the future leaders and innovators of New Zealand’s agricultural industry. New Holland are proud to invest in the development of these young farmers and growers.
New Holland have to run a few activities (known as ‘modules’) during the competition. Can you tell us a bit about those?
We ran one module in each of the three competitions (AgriKids, Junior Young Farmer of the Year and FMG Young Farmer of the Year). These modules tested competitors on their knowledge of precision farming trends, tractor safety and practical skills such as driving a BRAUD grape harvester.
Can you tell us about the calibre of the contestants?
James Robertson, the northern region competitor, made history by becoming the youngest ever FMG Young Farmer of the Year winner, taking home a prize package valued at over $75,000, including a New Holland T5.120 and loader package for 12 months.
Growing up on a dairy farm in the Waikato, studying Business at Massey University, James is now based in Auckland and works in the trade strategy team at Fonterra. He was also the winner of the FMG People’s Choice award.
James’ victory is a great representation of the breadth and diversity of the agri-food industry and the range of people and skill types that it takes to succeed. Gone are the days where farming is simply about milking or fencing or stock management, and the FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition is certainly reflecting those changes.
It was fantastic to see two females competing in the final for the first time, with Waikato vet Emma Dangen taking out third place as well as the Environmental Award.
Can you tell us a bit about the grand final event?
While Hawke’s Bay didn’t quite turn on the sunshine we’d been promised (instead delivering 100mm of rain during set up on the Thursday and a brutally cold southerly for practical day on the Friday), the contestants certainly delivered on their end, with a fiercely fought competition.
Having the grand final in Hawke’s Bay offered an ideal opportunity for us to showcase New Holland’s horticulture and viticulture product ranges which was fantastic.