It came down to the wire in Greymouth at the Tasman Regional Final of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest on Saturday (February 18th).
The National Bank Young Farmer Contest took centre stage in Greymouth with around 500 spectators watching the Practical Day that took place on the Floodwall and surrounding streets. The Evening Show was held at Shantytown and was a tightly contested affair.
Michael Lilley was the winner; but it was nearly a very different outcome with Reuben Carter leading into the last question round before Michael made a comeback.
“I thought Reuben was going to take it out; he was six points ahead going into the last round and he’s a great competitor.”
The 26 year old Veterinarian from Tapawera last competed at a Grand Final in Palmerston North in 2009 and is “very excited” to get another opportunity to compete. “I’m looking forward to it – I know a bit more about what to expect this time. I’ve always wanted to go back [to Grand Final] especially because I didn’t do as well as I hoped last time.”
Michael works as a Mixed Rural Vet and mainly focuses on dairy work involving calving, reproductive work, scanning, herd health and disease programmes. Not many Vets enter the Contest but Michael thinks it proves that anyone from the agriculture industry can be involved in the Contest. Michael still has a keen interest in farming and hopes to one day move back into farming and farm ownership.
With the Regional Final out of the way and his place in the top seven confirmed; Michael will be preparing not only for the Grand Final over the coming months but also for becoming a parent with wife Kelly in early August.
He will also be busy with his New Zealand Young Farmer commitments – he was elected as a Vice Chair for the Tasman Region at the Tasman AGM in the weekend. NZYF is an important part of life for Michael: in the past he has held leadership positions with the Grey Valley Club, helped to start up the Tapawera Club this year and has also convened a District Final for The National Bank Young Farmer Contest.
“I think anyone can gain a lot by being a [NZYF] member. The more you involved you are, the more you get out of it.”
Along with NZYF Michael has also been involved with his local A&P Show and with the Dairy Industry Awards as a judge.
Not only did Michael make it through to Grand Final, he also won the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge and the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge. The Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge was taken out by Lincoln University student and runner-up Reuben Carter. Dairy Farmer Mark Riddington finished third followed by Lincoln University student Lisa Chapman. Beef Farmer Chris Stewart took out the Silver Fern Farms Agri-sport Challenge.
Michael went home with a prize pack valued at over $10,000 on Saturday – the pack included a Honda XR125 two-wheeled farm bike valued at $4000, a $1500 Lincoln University Scholarship, $1000 cash and $500 towards a capability development programme from AGMARDT, $1000 worth of Ravensdown quality fertiliser products, $1000 from The National Bank, clothing valued at $750 from Swanndri and Silver Fern Farms will provide a package of quality produce valued at $500. That’s just the beginning for Michael; at the Grand Final in Dunedin from May 23rd – 25th he will be competing for over $100,000 worth of prizes.
The AgriKidsNZ Competition was also held on the Floodwall. The Karetu Kids from North Loburn School took out the top spot followed by the Funguy Brainers from St Canice’s School and Kumara Gold from Kumara were third.
Christchurch Boys High took out the two top spots over in the TeenAg Competition - Danny Brooker and Tom Monteath placed first followed by Tom Gore and Roy Mackenzie. A local team from John Paul II High School (Marie Kirby and Summer Klempel placed third). The top three teams from both AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg will be invited to attend the Grand Final in Dunedin on May 25th.
For more information go to www.youngfarmercontest.co.nz and click on MEDIA CENTRE or contact:
NZYF Communications Coordinator
03 303 3058
027 213 0068