Lincoln University alumni excel at Young Farmer fi

by Anonymous Author

More than half of the 2017 Young Farmer of the Year awards have been won by Lincoln University alumni, including the top spot of Young Farmer of the Year.

For the first time in its 49-year history, an Otago farmer is the FMG Young Farmer of the Year with Milton sheep and beef farmer, Nigel Woodhead, convincingly winning the prestigious title after three days of gruelling competition.

Handing over the title to Mr Woodhead was the 2016 Young Farmer winner Athol New, who is also a Lincoln University graduate, having achieved his Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce degree in 2009 and now manages several dairy farms at Dunsandel.

Mr Woodhead, who represented Otago Southland in the competition, studied Agricultural Science at Lincoln University. 

The 28-year-old was overwhelmed and emotional after 3 days of intense competition.

“I watched FMG Young Farmer of the Year when I was a child, so to win it is a childhood dream that I think will take a long time to sink in,” Mr Woodhead said.

Winner Nigel Woodhead shows his sawing skill in the Ravensdown 
Agri-Skills Challenge section of the competition

A popular winner, Nigel graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science before working at Midlands Seed in Ashburton for five years, prior to heading home to the family farm. The win is particularly relevant in the Woodhead household as Nigel grew up in a family that watched the contest every year with his Dad competing at a young age.

He said the win was the realisation of a dream.

“My wife Leanne and I worked really hard and to win this is incredible.” Contest Chairman and former Grand Finalist Dean Rabbidge said he was thrilled to see an Otago Southland farmer take the title home.

“History has been made tonight in a proud farming province and we couldn’t be happier.”

NZ Young Farmers CEO Terry Copeland said Nigel was the epitome and pinnacle of what future leaders in the Agri-sector need to be.

“The FMG Young Farmer of the Year continues to showcase the brilliant young leadership our organisation strives to develop and Nigel is an example of this as an inspiring future leader. “

Third place went to another Lincoln alumni, Andrew Wiffen, who represented Tasman.

The 29-year-old West Coast Dairy farmer graduated from Lincoln University with a Commerce and Agriculture degree and worked on dairy farms in Canterbury before setting up a 200 cow dairy farm near Hokitika with his family. 

Agri-Growth Challenge winner, Lisa Kendall, represented the Northern region and studied Agriculture and Farm Management at Lincoln University. She is one of only four women to ever compete in the Young Farmer of the Year final.

She worked on dairy and sheep farms after she graduated and today she owns and operates ag-support service company Nurture farming. 

Lincoln University graduate Arjan van’t Klooster took out the Hynds 
Agri-sport Challenge title during this year’s FMG Young Farmer 
of the Year competition

Hynds Agri-sport Challenge winner Arjan van’t Klooster studied Agricultural Commerce at Lincoln University.

Mr van’t Klooster, who is 25 years old and his fiancee Kelsi Chamberlain own a 164ha 600 cow farm at Glenavy and are also lower order sharemilkers milking 1,200 cows on his parents’ farm.

Full results FMG Young Farmer of the Year: First: Nigel Woodhead, Otago Southland; Second: Hamish Best, East Coast; Third: Andrew Wiffen, Tasman; AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge winner: Hamish Best; Massey University Agri-Growth Challenge: Lisa Kendall; Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenge: Nigel Woodhead; Hynds Agri-sport Challenge: Arjan van’t Klooster; Meridian Energy Agri-knowledge Quiz and Speech challenge: Hamish Best.