Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Young Farmer Contest wide open this year

Right about now seven young men will be shovelling their nerves into a suitcase and making their way to Palmerston North to face agriculture's ultimate challenge - the Young Farmer Contest.

This year's contestants are all 'first timers' at the Grand Final, so it will be something special to watch and be part of.

What is striking about this year's bunch of bright young things is that most of the contestants do jobs 'off the farm' as well as on it, a marked change from the early days of the contest.

Some have background in rural banking and consultancy work, most have qualifications from Lincoln - showing that today's farmers are better educated and inducted to the world outside the farm than ever before.

Farmgirl feels for every one of them as they prepare for the theory day tomorrow. Having experience the highs and lows of competition as a partner, she well understands how much work and preparation has been undertaken in order for the contestants to front.

It truly is a magnificent spectacle for agriculture and a marvelous springboard for leadership within our sector.

And who will come up trumps?

Farmgirl has heard that East Coast's Mark Guscott may be the one to watch but you never know - Southerners have had more than their fair share of the title over the years so it would be unwise to rule out Otago/Southland's Richard Copland and of course the North Island region's stronghold in Waikato/Bay of Plenty's Andrew Morris.

Be sure to watch the dramatic conclusion on Saturday night, TV 1 at 10.15pm and support our agricultural showpiece.

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