FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2023 National Finalists
Rural News
Rural News

FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2023 National Finalists

With the FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2023 Grand Final fast approaching, REX host Dominic George reflects on his interviews with each of the seven grand finalists.

He asked about the biggest challenges in their regional finals, how they are feeling about the competition so far, their biggest focus for the grand final and more.

Taranaki Manawatu Finalist Mac Williams

Age: 20

Occupation: Student

Debutant in the Young Farmer of the Year competition, Williams hails from the West Coast and is in his second year of Vet School.

He told George the regional finals were a good challenge and is looking to improve on his environmental reporting ahead of the grand final.

"It would be awesome to get into a few tractors, I've seen a few headers in past grand finals and haven't really had much to do with them, so it would be something along those lines," Williams said.

Northern Finalist Lisa Kendall

Age: 31

Occupation: Small Business Owner

Northern Regional winner, Lisa Kendall has qualified for the Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final twice, competing in 2017 but not in 2020 as the Final was canned due to COVID-19.

Not only has Kendall qualified for two Grand Finals she has also competed in two Regional Finals while pregnant.

"I was pregnant last year, I had my baby days later," she told George.

One of two women competing in the Grand Final, Kendall is also gunning to be the first woman to take out the whole competition.

Tasman Finalist Nick O'Connor

Age: 20

Occupation: Student

Nick O'Connor is part of a big farming family on the West Coast including New Zealand's current Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor and will be competing alongside older brother Peter O'Connor who won the Aorangi Regional final.

O'Conner told George he is looking forward to competing against his older brother and the chance to beat him in the Grand Final.

"He would never live it down," O'Connor laughed.

Otago Southland Finalist Hugh Jackson

Age: 25

Occupation: Dairy Farmer

Dairy Farmer Hugh Jackson has had a couple of cracks at the Young Farmer of the Year but 2023 is his first time qualifying for the Grand Final.

Jackson ended up taking out the Otago Southland Regional title by 60 points and although it certainly didn't feel easy, credits his success to putting in some serious groundwork prior to the competition day.

"Definitely didn't feel like a canter, it was a great challenge," he said.

"A fair bit of prep looking at sponsors and who's likely to run modules there on the day helped a lot and definitely meant I was able to get through the modules in the time we had."

Waikato Bay of Plenty Finalist Emma Poole

Age: 28

Occupation: Dairy Farmer

Emma Poole finished third in the Young Farmer of the Year competition in 2019 and is back for a second bite of the cherry this year.

Her brother Tim Dangeon is the reigning Young Farmer of the Year and Poole said it would be nice to add a second title to the family.

"It would be good to have us both up there," she said.

On top of that, Poole is extra motivated for another reason.

"It felt like unfinished business, placing third in 2019 was good but it would be cool to be the first woman to win it as well."

Aorangi Finalist Peter O'Connor

Age: 25 

Occupation: Dairy Farmer

Peter O'Connor, older brother of fellow competitor Nick O'Connor said it will be a special moment to compete alongside his brother in the Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.

"I guess there's a bit of pressure now to make sure the younger brother doesn't beat the older brother at the Grand Final," he said.

"Really looking forward to competing against him though"

While he admitted that it hasn't been confirmed yet, O'Connor is almost certain it's the first time a pair of brothers have competed in the same Grand Final.

East Coast Finalist Patrick Crawshaw

Age: 29

Occupation: Beef & Lamb Farmer

With the Regional Finals just a week after Cyclone Gabrielle, Cranshaw was close to not competing at all but decided it would be a good chance to have a crack for the first time since he last competed in 2018 when he also made the Grand Final.

"Would probably be quite nice to get out of the weeds that we're dealing with on the farm and just go and see some different faces and just apply the mind to something different," Cranshaw said.

Although he is still focused on the long-term issue of repairing the damage done by the Cyclone earlier in the year, Cranshaw is still preparing hard for the Grand Final.

Listen to the full chat between all seven FM Young Farmer of the Year 2023 National Finalists and Dominic George above.

To check out more episodes listen to the REX Today Podcast anytime on your favourite streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and Rova or tune in to REX Today live on Magic from 5 am to 6 am every weekday.

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