One down; two to go for the 2012 Grand Finalists

Friday 25 May 2012, 12:26PM

By NZ Young Farmers


Otago/Southland's Pete Gardyne takes a pasture reading during the Technical Day of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest.
Otago/Southland's Pete Gardyne takes a pasture reading during the Technical Day of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest. Credit: NZ Young Farmers


It’s a case of one down; two to go for the seven Grand Finalists of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest after the Technical Day took place at the Invermay Research Station today.

The Grand Finalists will be mentally exhausted after a tough first day of Challenges in the gruelling three day agricultural competition.

The Technical Day wrapped up tonight (Thursday 24th May) with the Speeches Dinner at Dunedin’s Edgar Centre where Contestants were required to present a speech to a 300 strong audience. The seven Grand Finalists had several Challenges to complete earlier in the day at Invermay Research station which included the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenges.

The Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenges required the Contestants to think on their feet. Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei, Dean of Commerce at Lincoln University Dr Patrick Aldwell and Ravensdown Director Patrick Willock made up a panel that quizzed the Contestants on anything from their career goals to topical issues. In the Human Resources Challenge, Contestants were faced with simulated scenarios that required them to interview a potential employee, provide solutions to a series of bad events on the farm and persuade a buyer to support Silver Fern Farms as a marketer.

Technical Day Convenor and 2010 Contest Champion, Grant McNaughton said that like any day on the farm, or in business, Contestants had to face a series of challenges and decisions and the Technical Day aimed to reflect that.

“The phone rings, a challenge is presented and the farmer must react. However, today the Contestants had to face nine hours of this through simulated real life situations whilst also putting a recommendation to a family for business growth and succession planning at the same time.”

The seven Grand Finalists are Northern’s Katherine Tucker, Waikato/Bay of Plenty’s Sam Williams, Taranaki/Manawatu’s Brad Lewis, East Coast’s Tony Dowman, Tasman’s Michael Lilley, Aorangi’s Andrew Scott and Otago/Southland’s Pete Gardyne.

A physical day awaits these Contestants tomorrow at the Forsyth Barr Stadium where the Practical Day will take place. The day is open to the public and spectators are encouraged to come along and support their favourite Grand Finalist. A farmers market will also be on offer along with trade stalls and the Grand Final of the AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg Competitions.

Saturday night plays host to the Grand Final Televised Evening Show and Ball at Dunedin’s Edgar Centre. Here the Contestants will have a final chance to score points before the 2012 Contest Champion is announced. Tickets to the Show and Ball are available at

Contestants are competing for a combined prize pool valued at over $140,000 – the winner alone will walk away with over $70,000 worth of prizes thanks to The National Bank, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Swanndri and Echo.