From onlooker to front-runner: Gareth McKerchar's journey to the Young Farmer of the Year Final

From onlooker to front-runner: Gareth McKerchar's journey to the Young Farmer of the Year Final

Gareth McKerchar, a member of the Pleasant Point Young Farmers Club has made it to the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final. 

McKerchar reflects on his ascent in the competitive agricultural scene, from an observer on the sidelines to a front-runner in one of the nation's most esteemed farming contests. He opens up about his roots, coming from a sheep and beef farm, and his education at Lincoln University. 

He discusses his current role as agri manager at Ravensdown, highlighting how it allows him to engage with various farmers and become a part of their operations. This job has provided him with invaluable insights that likely contributed to his success in the competition. 

During the interview, McKerchar delves into his experience transitioning from a spectator to a competitor. He notes the pressure of the contest, "It's not until you're actually doing it that you realise how much you've got the blinkers on and sort of time-pressured you are." 

His description of the intense focus required resonates with anyone familiar with high-pressure environments, "You just don't have that luxury." He candidly shares areas where he excelled, like the farmlet section, where participants tackle tasks in a methodical manner. 

"I started by doing my fencing... I knew that I didn't want to do it under time pressure." 

However, he also admits to areas needing improvement, humorously recounting his struggle with identifying honey origins, "Oh geez, no, that completely stumped me... tasted quite good, but where it came from I would have no clue." 

McKerchar also sheds light on the Pleasant Point Young Farmers Club's recent resurgence, emphasising the impact a few dedicated individuals can have on community engagement and support. 

When asked about his future ambitions, McKerchar affirms his aspiration to farm, "Yeah, most certainly... hopefully one day I'll be farming somewhere." 

With the grand final in sight, McKerchar appears undaunted, although the gravity of the situation hasn't fully sunk in. He expresses a mixture of excitement and surprise at the rapid progression from competing at a regional level to preparing for the national stage, "Yeah, it's pretty crazy to think I'm going to be heading up there." 

Listen to the full chat between Gareth McKerchar and Dominic George above.

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

Visit the Rural Exchange Facebook or Instagram page for more information and regular updates from the REX team.