West Melton in Young Farmers final

by Mike Isle

West Melton Young Farmers club is in the running for New Zealand Young Farmers Club of the Year following its stunning win in the Tasman regional final of the competition.

Club chair, Bex Legat, said 20 members, almost all the 26-strong club, will be heading to Invercargill on July 5 to attend the 50th FMG Young Farmer of the Year awards presentation.

Ms Legat said the win was particularly stunning because as far as she can recall it is the only time West Melton had entered the club competition.

“Eighteen of us went to the presentation at the regional awards night, and the Club of the Year award was the last presented on the night. When our name was read out, we were really stoked.”

Ms Legat thinks the West Melton club had the edge over the ten other clubs in the Tasman region because of its involvement in the community.

“We have a very enthusiastic membership. We always have the largest turnout for Young Farmers events, and we volunteer for quite a lot of community and charity events helping with the traffic management and things like that. We are always looking at ways to support other clubs and the region,” she said.

Recently the club organised the National Ploughing Association event hosted by the Courtenay Paparua Ploughing Association. Association chair, Jeff Cridge, described West Melton Young Farmers’ involvement as “fantastic.”

All gate takings from the event were returned by the club to the National Ploughing Association.
Earlier in the club’s busy schedule, they volunteered at the recent Jump for Cancer event in Hagley Park. The club is heavily involved with charity work, Ms Legat said.

However, the club’s community spirit doesn’t stop at volunteering. Coming up there is the prospect of the club publishing a nude calendar as a fundraiser for Rural Support Network in Canterbury.

“That’ll be a bit of a challenge,” Ms Legat said. 

The Selwyn District Council’s Civil Defence Welfare Team will help 
support people in times of emergency events like last year’s 
Port Hills fire

“But it is all part of the fun of being in the club and shows what a little bit of imagination can do, and it is for a good cause.”

Ms Legat said the club was hoping for the best at the national finals. In all, there will be seven regional finalists competing for the coveted prize.

“We are certainly hoping that we will be right up there, and the club executive will meet over the next couple of weeks planning our strategy and content for the finals.”

Ms Legat, who is into her third term as the club chair, believes a win at the national final, becoming Club of the Year at its first attempt, will be a huge stimulus for the club.

However, she said for her and the club members, the ultimate satisfaction is being part of such a vibrant club and organisation.

“There is a lot of reasons to be a member of Young Farmers. It’s a great organisation to belong to. Very social. Here at West Melton, we have had such a huge year and an awesome membership growth. You don’t even have to be a farmer. Up until recently, we didn’t have a single farmer in our group.”

Anyone interested in joining Young Farmers can go to the organisation’s website youngfarmers.co.nz or contact Bex direct on 027 958 9242. The West Melton branch meets every second Monday at the Rocks Restaurant Rolleston from 7.30pm.