Farmer at helm of Taranaki Young Farmers for first time in four years
A farmer will lead Taranaki's Young Farmers clubs for the first time in four years.
Kaponga contract milker Matthew Herbert was elected district chairman of Young Farmers at its annual meeting.
"There's a great vibe within our clubs currently and I'm keen to build on that," Herbert said.
The 26-year old takes over from former insurance advisor Warwick Fleming, who was in the role for a year. Fleming's predecessor, Paul Duynhoven, is an accountant.
"Matthew's appointment means [Taranaki] Young Farmers will be led by a farmer," Fleming said.
"He's the ideal person for the job; he has a grassroots approach, he's professional and has great social media skills."
Taranaki has five Young Farmers clubs: Urenui, Coastal, Inglewood, Central and Waimate West.
"The Stratford, Okato [Coastal], and Urenui-based clubs have all seen fantastic membership growth over the last year," Fleming said.
"That's a tribute to the hard work of the teams running them."
Herbert said the fundraising efforts of the seven-member Urenui club had been particularly impressive.
Last month, more than 300 people took part in a trail ride which netted the club $8500.
"For such a small team, that's an incredible result," Herbert said.
"Young farmers do amazing work across Taranaki - everything from pest control to mentoring TeenAg clubs."
A fundraiser by the Coastal club last May raised $4500 for the Taranaki Rescue Helicopter Trust. Central Taranaki Young Farmers' popular comedy night, which also raises several thousand dollars for charity, will be held again this May.
Herbert, who is in his first season farming in Taranaki, will be supported in his role by newly elected vice-chairwoman Kate Appert, who is second-in-charge on a 600-cow farm at Okato.
"It was a great surprise, " the 20-year-old said.
"I'm really looking forward to getting more involved with Young Farmers at a district level."