Thursday, 13 October 2016 07:55

Women dominate Young Farmer comp

Written by  Nigel Malthus
Megan Hands (pictured) was one of 14 women and nine men to compete in the annual FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest. Megan Hands (pictured) was one of 14 women and nine men to compete in the annual FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest.

New Zealand Young Farmers is applauding women outnumbering men in the annual FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest for the second consecutive year.

In the first event of the 2017 round, at Ellesmere in early October, farm environment consultant Megan Hands (26) took third place in the Christchurch district contest and skills day on Saturday; she will contest the Tasman regional final on the West Coast next March.

Hands was one of 14 women and nine men to compete in the Christchurch event, the second time women have outnumbered men in the district. The top three will contest the Tasman regional final and another five will go through from district events in North Canterbury, West Coast and Nelson/Marlborough until early December.

Similar events will be held in the next few weeks in 20 districts and seven regions nationwide.

First and second places in the Christchurch event went to men – first-time competitor Simon Ferguson (27) and Robin Hornblow (28).

Originally from Waikato, farm consultant Ferguson did not grow up on a farm but says he loved being connected to the land; he worked his way up to herd manager on a Landcorp dairy farm before studying agri-science at Massey University.

Hornblow, a dairy farm manager at Te Pirita, is chairman of Dunsandel Young Farmers and competed in the Tasman regional final in 2014.

It is a busy time for Hands, who works as a farm consultant for the Irrigo Centre in Ashburton, a joint venture by several mid-Canterbury irrigation schemes to provide technical support for local farmers. And she is campaigning for election to the Malvern Community Board, a west-side ward of the Selwyn District Council.

Hands says she will work hard to get into the grand final in Manawatu in July. She has already started listing things she must work on, including physical fitness, and is swotting up on farming knowledge to handle the quizzing.

“The regional final is a big step up from the district final, I’m well aware. There are a few practical things… onfarm work, I need to work on, so I’ll be tapping the shoulders of a few people and saying ‘hey, can I come out to your farm and give it a go’.”

Hands says contestants were not given scores for the individual modules but she believes the more technical modules were her strength at the district event on Saturday. These included firearms -- air-rifle target shooting and a gun safety -- AI, crutching, ram judging, foot trimming, driving a digger, erecting electric fencing, and interviewing.

In 49 years only three women have contested the grand final: Denise Brown, seventh in 1981; Louise Collingwood, second and third in 2003 and 2001; and Katherine Tucker, seventh in 2012.

More like this

Young manager for NZYF farm

New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF) has appointed Sam Waugh as the farm manager of its 74ha dairy farm in Auckland.

Wet winter for NZYF farm

The covered cow shelter on the NZ Young Farmers-owned Donald Pearson Farm has come in handy during a wet winter.

Second time’s a win for Wallace

Going for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year title for a second time was incredibly hard, says this year’s title winner, Gore sheep farmer Logan Wallace.

50 years young

The Young Farmer of the Year competition celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala gathering of former winners, finalists and families held at the national final in Invercargill.



Limited feed puts ewes at risk

Severe feed shortages in parts of the country mean many ewes are on a nutritional knife-edge heading into lambing and could be at risk of developing metabolic disorders.

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped him getting out and about in difficult environments.


$10 payout!

A small but select group of Fonterra farmers are on the cusp of setting a new milk payout record.

The migrant workers dilemma

Dairy farmers want more Kiwi workers, but they also want relaxed immigration restrictions. So, what's the problem?

Producing milk, the Miraka way

The goal of Māori-owned dairy company Miraka, near Taupo, is to become the most sustainable dairy company in the world.

Machinery & Products

Landpower invests in cow central

One of Australasia’s largest, privately-owned farm machinery distributors, Landpower is building a new $10 million complex adjacent to Hamilton Airport.

Maize moisture in a moment

With forage maize playing such an important part of the New Zealand fodder supply chain, a useful hand-held moisture measuring…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

A ticking timebomb?

There could be another dairy health scare brewing in China and this one starts in our backyard.

Please explain

Does anyone in the Government understand the essential role St John Ambulance has in our society?

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter