NZ Young Farmer of the Year announced
Mid Canterbury has secured back to back wins in the New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year competition.
Aorangi representative Athol New was named the 48th FMG Young Farmer of the Year at a black tie awards dinner in Timaru on Saturday night.
His win followed commanding performances across all facets of the competition during the three-day event.
The 30-year-old dairy business manager did not win any sections of the contest but did score above average in all of them, and ended up winning by a comfortable margin of ten points.
The honour proved an emotional one as New accepted the Cloak of Knowledge at the awards ceremony.
New works within the senior leadership team at Purata Farms, supplying independent milk company Synlait Milk, and leads of team of more than 10 staff.
He has had a rapid rise through the dairy industry, which he puts down to his old agriculture teacher at Kamo High who encouraged him to go to Lincoln University to study an agricultural commerce degree.
The Pendarves Young Farmer member said winning the FMG Young Farmer of the Year was the pinnacle of his career.
Although he was relieved the competition was over, he said he was grateful to have met the other six finalists as they were all 'great guys' and would go on to be leaders in the primary industry.
However, he won't have long to dwell on his win with wife Jane due to give birth to their first baby in October.
The two other place getters both did well at various sections of the contest, with East Coast finalist Tony Dowman taking out second place and Tasman's James Hoban finishing third.
It was the second win in two years for Mid Canterbury, with 2015 winner Matthew Bell hailing from Hinds.
NZ Young Farmers CEO Terry Copeland said New represented the often un-acknowledged high achievers of the primary industry and said he was the embodiment of the wide array of skills those in the industry need to have to succeed.
"This contest showcases the extraordinary depth of talent that we have in the agricultural sector and continues to help progress and discover vital leadership for the sector.
"From Whangarei with no farming background to managing multi-million dollar complex dairy businesses and now winning the FMG Young Farmer of the Year, Athol shows the exciting opportunities in our industry."
For winning the FMG Young Farmer of the Year, New walked away with $80,000 in prizes.