Support the Guardian

Available for everyone, funded by readers

Mid Canty farmers to face off

Mid Canty farmers to face off

A handful of farmers from Mid Canterbury will be heading to Kurow, just north of Oamaru, to put their farming skills to the test at the regional Young Farmer of the Year contest

They will battle it out against other contestants from the Aorangi Young Farmers region on February 16-17 for a chance to represent it in the grand final in Hamilton in July.

Jess Cunliffe from Pendarves Young Farmers is taking part for the third year in a row - and hopes to win the regional competition and earn a spot in the grand final.

She finished "in the middle of the field" in her first year and worked her way up to a podium place, nabbing third place last year.

In doing so, she came out on top in the agri-knowledge quiz competition.

Cunliffe grew up on a 70-hectare mixed arable with horticulture farm on the outskirts of Ashburton township. She works as a valuer for McLeod Valuation and still helps out on the farm when needed.

Competitive by nature, Cunlffe enjoys the challenge of putting her skills to the test, along with the opportunity to socialise and learn new skills.

"It was really scary the first year. I didn't know what I was in for."

But now she just plans to relax and have a good day.

Flavio Naf, another Pendarves club member, is also entering the regional competition for the third consecutive year.

The 28-year-old works on a cropping farm near Rakaia and enters for "a bit of fun and a bit of learning".

He placed around last and third from last in the last two years but enjoyed the opportunity to to learn something new and catch up with mates.

Naf said he preferred the physical challenges over the theory and hoped there would a head-to-head challenge this year.

The pair will be up against fellow Pendarves farmer James Wilson, Niall Gallagher from the Foothills Young Farmers and Hinds club member Levi Hart along with another 14 young farmers from the wider Aorgangi region.

The first day's qualifying rounds will whittle the field down to eight finalists who will battle it out for the hotly contested top spot.

Judges will be looking for the ultimate all-rounder, with challenges that involve big machinery, fencing, livestock and a quiz.

The Kurow competition will be the second of seven regional competitions taking place across the country between February and April.

By Sharon Davis