Emma beat out six other finalists to be crowned the winner, the first time in the contest’s 55-year history that a woman has won the title. The announcement came at an awards ceremony held in Timaru on 8 July. She was representing the Waikato-Bay of Plenty region.
Second place went to Peter O’Connor from Aorangi and third place went to Otago Southland finalist and Massey agricommerce alumnus Hugh Jackson.
The FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition, which has been running since 1969, puts contestants through a diverse range of practical, theoretical and technical farming challenges. The competition is the flagship event for NZ Young Farmers and showcases the level of skill and knowledge of young people in the food and fibre sector. It brings together competitors, industry leaders and volunteers to celebrate the future of the industry.
Four out of the seven finalists were current or former Massey students. Joining Emma and Hugh in the group of finalists was distance agriculture student Lisa Kendall and second-year veterinary student Mac Williams.
Head of the School of Agriculture and Environment Professor Paul Kenyon says it’s fantastic to see so many Massey connections in this year’s competition.
“As the leading university for agriculture in New Zealand, we have a long tradition of preparing our graduates well for the practical aspects of our primary industries. Congratulations to this year’s winner Emma Poole. It is also wonderful to see our tamariki performing as well as their older counterparts, and it bodes well for the future of New Zealand where we want to build a sustainable and profitable food and fibre sector.”
Massey is a long-running sponsor of the event. The university also supports the AgriKids and Junior Young Farmer of the Year events, which aim to excite school students about the food and fibre sector.
AgriKids contestants compete in teams of three and are challenged to a range of practical modules that encourages them to get outside and active with their friends. Every year, over 400 primary school students from all over the country compete in their local regional final and those that make it through are invited to take part in practical day, where they showcase their skills and knowledge.
Taking out the 2023 AgriKids title was Team Legendairy from Mount Somers Springburn School.
The 2023 Junior Young Farmers of the Year was won by twins Zoe and Millar McElrea from the Otago Southland region who won after two previous Grand Final attempts. They worked together seamlessly on an exam, a speech, an intense Practical Day and a nail-biting face-off quiz against the other top four teams.
Senior Lecturer Dr Sarah Pain and Associate Professor Penny Back were on hand to give out prizes on behalf of the university.
The annual FMG Young Farmer of the Year awards wrapped up their 53rd season recently with the top three award winners being Massey alumni.
Massey University graduates have taken out the top three spots at the Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.
Massey graduate Cameron Black is the first Massey University alumnus confirmed as a finalist at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.