Going to the Regionals — Jonny Brown, Alex Knowles and Martin Bates

Three into Young Farmer regional final

by Anonymous Author

Rakaia dairy farmer Jonny Brown’s bid to be FMG Young Farmer of the Year is back on track after suffering a setback last year when he failed to qualify for a hotly-contested regional final.

The 27-year-old assistant farm manager, this month took out first place in the Christchurch district contest, which secures him a spot in the Tasman Regional Final next March.

Jonny said a narrow loss in qualifying for last year’s final was motivation to step up his efforts this year.

“I missed out by one point. I was gutted — but, it is a different story this year, and it’s a relief to know I am advancing to the next stage,” he said.

Jonny and his fellow competitors were required to compete in a range of theoretical and physical disciples, including assembling a shearing handpiece, identifying different types of plants, reversing a quad bike and trailer, and milking sheep. Jonny will be joined in the Tasman final by two other local young farmers, Alex Knowles, 25, and Martin Bates, 29.

“I am quite surprised that I did as well as I did,” said Alex, who is an agri-manager with Ravenstown.

“I only entered because I thought it would be hypocritical of me to tell other people to sign up if I didn’t have a go myself.”

Martin Bates is a qualified builder and contract milks 1,200 cows across two Charing Cross farms. He is excited about competing in his second regional final.

“The last one was a great experience because it highlighted my shortfalls and what I need to work on,” he said.