Young farmers set to face judges

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In the words of Aorangi Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist Athol New, ‘‘let the best man win’’.
Mr New is among the seven finalists who will spend the next three days battling it out for the title of FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
The men were briefed yesterday on the many events they have ahead of them, all of which would take place at various locations around Timaru from today until Saturday.
Preparing for the various events has been a work in progress for New Zealand Young Farmers.
The group has been supported by a range of businesses, a committee and a ‘‘massive amount’’ of volunteers, NZ Young Farmer events manager Lucy Blackmore said.
‘‘Everything’s coming together really well. We’re at the point now where we’re just really looking forward to everything falling into place.’’
Although the various events would go ahead, rain or shine, organisers were keeping an eye on the weather forecast, she said.
Contingency plans were a big part of preparations, with weather being one major factor, along with ensuring each venue was suitable for the number of people the events would attract.
Briefing the finalists was another key aspect, to ensure they understood how the various activities would take place.
‘‘And we’ve got a massive amount of volunteers so we’ve got to make sure we look after [them].
‘‘[And there is] a committee in Timaru of about 14 that have been working for the past year. We couldn’t do it without them,’’ Miss Blackmore said.
‘‘We’ve got a whole heap of businesses and volunteers, and judges that also [help] on a volunteer basis.’’
FMG Young Farmer of the Year, which was last hosted in Timaru in 2002, was expected to attract about 1000 people to the various events.
Those events would start with a test of theoretical knowledge at Raincliff Station today. A head-to-head challenge will then take place at the piazza, followed by a street parade along Stafford St in Timaru about 3.15pm.
Contenders would finish their busy first day with the ‘‘all-important’’ agri-knowledge quiz and speech evening at the Theatre Royal from 6.30pm, hosted by Mark Leishman.
Friday’s events would start at 7.30am with a practical day on Caroline Bay, followed by the chairman’s awards dinner at the Caroline Bay Hall in the evening.
A more relaxed start to Saturday will take the form of a breakfast. The FMG Young Farmer of the Year awards evening will be held at the Southern Trust Events Centre, hosted by Te Radar.
Five Questions,