An Auckland-based business graduate at Fonterra has been named the Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
James Robertson, 22, took out the title after winning the fiercely-contested Northern regional final in Warkworth on the weekend.
The event saw eight finalists tackle a series of challenging modules, including a fast-paced agri-knowledge quiz.
It was James’ first attempt at the title.
“I can’t believe it,” he said after receiving a large silver trophy from last year’s winner Daniel Bradbury.
“The modules were challenging and it was an awesome event to have been a part of.”
The prestigious contest has undergone a major overhaul since marking its 50th anniversary in Invercargill last year.
James’ win netted him $12,000 worth of prizes, including an XR150 Honda farm bike.
The Auckland Young Farmers member took out the food production award and the prize for championing environmental best practice.
James has a Bachelor of AgriCommerce from Massey University and has been a business graduate at Fonterra since January 2018. He grew up on a 200 cow dairy farm on the outskirts of Hamilton.
Following Saturday’s win, James will compete in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay in July.
“I sit at a desk all day in an office, so I’m going to have to try and get outside as much as I can to brush up on my practical skills,” he said.
It won’t be James’ first time competing in the national final of an event run by NZ Young Farmers.
In 2013 he and a teammate from Hamilton Boys’ High School won the TeenAg Grand Final.
Wellsford dairy farm manager Daniel Richards won the innovation award.
Northland beef farmer Tim Dangen, 26, came second in the regional final and was named the most tech savvy contestant.
Cameron Massie, 26, who’s an Auckland-based management consultant with KPMG, placed third.
Ponui Island sheep and beef farmer George Watson, 26, won the award for outstanding leadership.
Wellsford dairy farm manager Daniel Richards, 21, who’s a member of Kaipara Young Famers, took out the innovation award.
The contest is supported by FMG, Ravensdown, Honda, WorkSafe, Zero Harm Farm, STIHL, Lincoln University, Massey University, Southfuels, Northfuels, Betacraft and New Holland.