Young Farmers from all over New Zealand spent a week in Dunedin last week for the TBfree New Zealand Young Farmers National Conference. Conference delegates went on a bus trip, took part in workshops, supported their favourite Contestant in The National Bank Young Farmer Contest and the also attended the 2012 Annual General Meeting.
The AGM was held at Dunedin’s College of Education and two board members were elected – both roles were for two year terms. Twenty five year old Dunsandel dairy farmer Cole Groves was re-elected after sitting on the board for the past year. Twenty eight year old dairy farmer Cam Lewis from the Opiki Club was also elected. Previously Mr Lewis has worked as a rural banker and completed the Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme in 2009 as the youngest participant ever. Mr Lewis will join Mr Groves and the two other elected members on the board: 31 year old Chairman and potato grower Paul Olsen who is from the Opiki Club and 30 year old sheep and beef farmer, Vice-chairperson Vanessa Hore from the Upper Manuherikia Club. Several other board members make up the NZYF board: Contest Chairman Bevan Proffit, Co-opted Board Member Sarah von Dadleszen, Strategic Partner James Christie, Strategic Partner Barbara Kuriger and NZYF CEO Richard Fitzgerald.
The NZYF National Competitions also took place in Dunedin during Conference Week. The Goldpine NZYF National Fencing Competition was held at Invermay Research Station alongside the Technical Day of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest. Seven teams from around New Zealand had each won their respective Regional Finals and the right to compete at the National Finals. FCANZ (Fencing Contractors’ Association New Zealand) supported the event and Goldpine sponsored the Competition, with materials supplied by Goldpine and Strainrite. Angus Brown and Daniel Plowman from East Coast’s Ballance Club took out the top spot and received $1000 in goods and cash from Goldpine for their efforts. Second place went to Otago/Southland’s Brad McNamara and Lyndon Wallace and third place was taken out by Taranaki/Manawatu’s James Rodgers and Nigel Will. They also received goods and cash from Goldpine.
The NZYF National Stock Judging Finals also took place on Thursday at Invermay. Olivia Ross from the Nightcaps Club won the fleece section. St Peter’s Gore High School TeenAg member Robert Gregory took out the sheep section and won the competition overall. It was a good weekend for Mr Gregory – he and fellow team mate Richard Gardyne placed second in the TeenAg Grand Final.
The photography competition was taken out by Megan Colling of the Thornbury Club and the annual Inter-region tug-o-war competition was fiercely fought, but it was the Northern Region that went away with the win at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday. They also won the Best Region award during the week. The debating competition was won by the South Island team – Glenavy’s Phil Wilson, Jared Ross and Five Fork’s Jared Clarke.
During the week around 50 Conference Delegates went on a bus trip to watch the competitions and to visit Silver Fern Farms Finegand Factory and Dunedin’s iconic Speight’s Brewery. They also attended workshops and heard from keynote speaker, adventurer Jamie Fitzgerald. Past NZYF President and current DairyNZ Director Ben Allomes and Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Chairman Mike Petersen also ran workshops.