Katherine Tucker has beaten the odds to make it through to the Grand Final of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest after winning the Northern Regional Final on Saturday night (March 31st).
The 26 year old Vice Chair of the Northern Region is the third woman to qualify for the Grand Final in the Contest’s 44 year history and is “stoked” to have won the last Regional Final for 2012.
“I’m so excited and just looking forward to seeing what Grand Final is all about. It was the plan to get through so it’s not unexpected – now I’ve just got a lot of preparation to do.”
Katherine will be the first female to compete in the Grand Final since 2004 and is relishing the chance to be a role model to young women in the industry: she said that some young women even entered the District Final this year after watching her place second in the Regional Final in 2011.
“It’s quite special really and it’s quite a feat to get one up on the guys!”
Katherine, who at her own admission lacks some of the “brute strength” of her male counterparts, says winning came down to being a bit more strategic and learning the right techniques to gain maximum points.
It also came down to a lot of preparation thanks to a great support crew – her brother has even devised some software so she can practice answering questions for the Contest’s buzzer rounds.
Katherine originally entered the Contest “by accident.”
“When I joined NZYF five years ago the boys told me there was a ‘have a go day’ so I went along and gave it a go.”
Katherine admits she had never heard of the Contest and it turned out that the ‘have a go day’ was actually a District Final for the Contest.
“Somehow I got through to the Regional Final and came eighth. The next year I entered on purpose and got fifth and then I decided to really get into it.”
She may have accidentally entered that first District Final but Katherine says she wouldn’t take it back.
“I’ve learnt so much and grown so much because of the Contest. As a woman [in farming] I think people take me a bit more seriously now because of it.”
Katherine is Second in Charge and an Equity Partner on her family’s dairy farm. They milk 630 jersey pedigree cows and Katherine’s long term goal is to breed a nationally marketed jersey AI bull.
Farming and New Zealand Young Farmers are a passion for Katherine and she enjoys dancing, ice skating, horse riding and reading as well. She’s also the convenor of a local DairyNZ discussion group and helps judge calves at the local school’s ag days.
Katherine will now head to Grand Final in Dunedin from May 23rd to 26th where she will compete against the six other Grand Finalists who will all be vying for their share of over $100,000 thanks to The National Bank, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Swanndri and Echo.
It was also the last Regional Final for the TeenAg and AgriKidsNZ Competitions on Saturday. The top three teams from each final are invited to head to the Grand Final in Dunedin on May 25th.
The Alpacas from Kamo Intermediate won the AgriKidsNZ final followed by the Kiwi Farmers from Waioneke School and the Tomarata Chicks from Tomarata School.
Over in the TeenAg Competition; first place was taken out by James Quinn and Campbell Matthews from Springbank School. Second place went to Logan Alexander and Paddy McArty also from Springbank School. Two teams placed third equal and both are invited to Grand Final: Sam Moscrip and Aidan Hawker from Kamo High School as well as Andrew Martin and Liam Eady (Kamo High School and Whangarei Boys High School).