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MESSAGE From the CEO Lynda Coppersmith Welcome to the spring edition of Muster magazine. Muster is a quarterly magazine produced by NZ Young Farmers, which tells the stories of the country’s young agri-food producers. In this issue, we head into the rugged hills overlooking Tolaga Bay to meet Gisborne Young Farmers member Kristy Roa. The 20-year-old shepherd recently took out the 2019 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award. Kristy’s not the only East Coast member receiving accolades for her work. We also profile the chair of Tikokino Young Farmers Chris Hursthouse, who is the inaugural winner of the new Hawke’s Bay Shepherd of the Year award. The pair are proof you don’t have to grow up on a farm to be successful in the agri-food sector. In recent months NZ Young Farmers has strengthened its partnership with PrimaryITO, which will lead to a rise in new members for a number of our clubs. PrimaryITO has this year offered 75 of its students a NZ Young Farmers membership. It’s a model we hope to implement with other corporates. In this edition, we meet two young dairy apprentices who are set to benefit from the partnership.

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two months since the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay. It was amazing to be in the audience as James Robertson became the youngest ever winner of the iconic contest. As always, our spring edition is packed with photos and stories from grand final. I hope you share a link to this magazine with others who might also enjoy reading it.


Lynda Coppersmith

MESSAGE From the Chair Ash-Leigh Campbell It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since I was elected chair of NZ Young Farmers. It’s been a fast-paced 12 months full of new experiences, growth and challenges. NZ Young Farmers held its annual general meeting (AGM) in July, where Kent Weir and Robert Barry were elected to the NZYF Board. In this edition of Muster we take to the skies with Kent, who is a topdressing pilot in the central North Island. We also catch up with Robert, who’s the sustainability manager for a large dairying business. The father-of-two is passionate about improving dairying’s environmental footprint. The AGM in Hawke’s Bay was the perfect opportunity to farewell departing board members Chelsea Millar and Jason Te Brake. Jason, who is a former NZYF Board chair, has made a massive contribution to our organisation. He has also been a mentor, friend and guiding hand during my first year in the role, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Our network of TeenAg clubs continues to expand. A third of all high schools in New Zealand now have a TeenAg club, which is a fantastic achievement. In this issue of Muster, we profile Kayla Calder, who was one of six TeenAg members who recently returned from a threeweek exchange to the United States. The group visited Yellowstone National Park, which is home to 5000 bison. Over the coming months, our TeenAg clubs will start winding down for the year and electing new chairs. I encourage all TeenAg members to consider standing for their club executives. It’s a great way to grow your skills. Cheers,

Ash-Leigh Campbell


Topdressing pilot joins NZYF Board


NZYF member named Hawke’s Bay Shepherd of the Year


Northland inventor on giving back



Effluent upgrade at Donald Pearson Farm


James Robertson makes grand final history

Trip of a lifetime for TeenAg students


Leadership growth at Raising the Standards


Agricultural opportunities at a Timaru school


NZYF member wins Māori farmer title


PrimaryITO membership deal

PO Box 23141 Hornby 8441 03 344 2473


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TWITTER & INSTAGRAM @nzyoungfarmers @FMG_YFoftheYear

EDITOR Brad Markham 027 282 5221



Bull calf fundraiser returns


Second time lucky for Napier duo


Kristy Roa

AHUWHENUA AWARD Gisborne Young Farmers member Kristy Roa has won the 2019 Ahuwhenua Young MÄ ori Farmer Award. Story Brad Markham




t’s a brisk winter’s night as Kristy Roa and her teammates jog onto a floodlit sports field in Gisborne.

The 20-year-old shepherd heads for the nearest goal, pulling on a clean set of goalkeeper’s gloves as she goes. A whistle sounds and it’s not long before a muddy soccer ball is hurtling towards the left corner of the goal.


Kristy dives, her arms stretched out above her head, blocking the ball and flinging it away from the net.

“It’s a long way to travel, but I enjoy competitive sport and it’s a good reason to get off the farm.”

Kristy’s the goalkeeper for a women’s soccer team in Gisborne. Two nights a week she makes the 45 minute drive from Tolaga Bay for practice.

Kristy works as a shepherd on Iwinui Station near picturesque Tolaga Bay on the East Coast.

“Our team’s doing quite well at the moment. We’re at the top of the table with Gisborne United,” she told Muster in June.

The 2100 hectare (effective) station runs 5500 ewes, 1200 ewe lambs, 450 hereford-angus cross cows and 1000 trading bulls.

Kristy, who’s a member of Gisborne Young Farmers, has been at Iwinui Station since January. “A typical day for me at the moment involves shifting stock to new paddocks until about lunchtime,” she said. “In the afternoon I might have to drench lambs or dag ewes. We spend a quite bit of time weighing lambs for the meatworks.”

I bought pups so I could break them in myself. I really enjoy training dogs. It’s quite cool to see them develop.

Approximately three-quarters of the property is moderate to steep hill country, the rest is flats.

The dogs are invaluable to muster sheep off the station’s steep coastal hills which overlook Tolaga Bay.

The large amount of yard work is good experience for Kristy’s growing team of eight sheep dogs.

Kristy gets around on a farm bike, but recently bought a horse.

“I only had a couple of dogs when I started working here, so I had to buy quite a few,” she said.

“Having a horse can be handy in winter when the tracks get a bit slippery. It’s also a quieter way of handling the stock,” she said.

Kristy grew up in Hamilton. She got her start in the industry at Waipaoa Station, an hour’s drive north of Gisborne. “By chance I heard about Waipaoa’s two-year cadetship. I attended the open day and it opened my eyes to the agrifood sector and endless opportunities within it,” she said. Kristy was one of five accepted into the 2017 intake. “For someone new to the industry I couldn’t think of anything better than doing a cadetship,” she said. “Over my two years at Waipaoa Station I was exposed to all aspects of the industry. Our fencing and dog handling tutors were some of the best in the business.”


Skills taught in the classroom are able to be applied out in the paddock. Cadets graduate work-ready with several qualifications. “When I started there I knew that sheep and cows ate grass and that was about the extent of my farming knowledge,” she laughed. Over the past two-and-a-half years Kristy has worked hard to expand her skills and knowledge. In May, she was named the winner of the 2019 Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award.


The announcement was made at a gala awards function in Gisborne attended by 600 guests including the Minister of Agriculture. The Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmer Award is designed to recognise talented up-and-coming young Māori farmers. “Winning the award has been an amazing experience. It’s been a great way to get my name out there and will look good on my curriculum vitae (CV) when I want to step up to a manager’s position,” she said. As part of the award, Kristy went to the Fieldays with AgResearch and attended a dinner focusing on disruptive technologies in the agri-food sector.

She was encouraged to enter the awards by her mother. “I submitted my application two days before entries closed,” she said.

I was nervous about entering and putting myself out there, but then I realised I had nothing to be afraid of, so I gave it a go.

Cadets are trained in all aspects of livestock handling and husbandry, and feed budgeting.

Lead judge Peter Little said Kristy exemplified all that is good about young Māori who are making successful careers in the primary sector.

“I joined not long after it was started. We began with about five paid up members, but we’ve got close to 20 now,” she said.

“Kristy has shown great commitment to her work, excellent leadership and will do a great job as a role model for other young people contemplating a career in the agribusiness sector,” he said.

New members are constantly joining the club. Kristy urges anyone under the age of 31, especially those new to the area, to attend a meeting.

As part of the awards process Kristy got to go on a two-day study tour with the other two finalists. “It was extremely beneficial. I got introduced to a number of industry professionals. I really enjoyed the leadership and goal setting course run by PrimaryITO,” she said. It’s not just soccer that brings Kristy into Gisborne after work. She’s been a member of the area’s growing NZ Young Farmers club since 2017.


PILOT'S PASSION Topdressing pilot and newly-elected NZYF Board member Kent Weir splits his time between the cockpit and the boardroom. Story Brad Markham


Kent Weir has been a pilot for Super Air for five years

Within minutes, a white truck fitted with a hydraulic loader arm, drops fertiliser through an opening in the aircraft’s roof. It’s the first of many loads the 27-yearold will spread over this rugged, hill country farm before the sun sets. Kent glances at the panel of dials and switches in front of him, as he prepares to take off on a flat strip of grass. The plane, which can carry up to two tonnes of fertiliser, climbs into the air, soaring over pockets of mist in the valley below. “Mornings are definitely my favourite time of the day,” he said, as the winter sun pierces through a gap in the hills.

Kent is an agricultural pilot for Super Air, a job he’s had for five years. He got his start at the company as a loader driver. “It’s a job I really enjoy. It’s a profession which has its risks, but I take a riskbased approach to every decision I make,” he said.

Making sure both the loader driver and I get home safely at the end of the day is at the forefront of everything we do.


t’s a cool, crisp King Country morning as Kent Weir climbs into the cockpit of his topdressing plane.

The King Country Young Farmers member flies the area between Otorohanga and Whanganui. “Most days I leave in the dark and get home in the dark. But the job is very weather dependent,” said Kent. “The majority of our clients are sheep and beef farmers. We can put on up to 400 tonnes of fertiliser in a day.” Super Air planes are fitted with modern GPS guidance systems, allowing them to receive 10 signals per second from up to 25 satellites. The technology enables pilots to spread fertiliser to an accuracy of one metre. It helps farmers comply with environmental regulations and obtain the best economic benefit from their fertiliser investment.


Elected members of the NZ Young Farmers Board (L-R) Kent Weir, Hannah Cameron, Ash-Leigh Campbell and Robert Barry

He grew up in Hawera in South Taranaki, where his father worked as a stock agent for 30 years. “I’ve always wanted to be a topdressing pilot,” he said.

I’m really passionate about aviation and agriculture and it’s one of the few jobs that combines those two things.

Kent has always had a love for the agrifood sector and flying.

Kent got his private pilot’s licence while he was at high school and later completed his commercial licence in Christchurch. He joined NZ Young Farmers (NZYF) in 2013 as a way to meet people and make new friends. It wasn’t long before he was giving back to the organisation, taking on major leadership roles. In March, he stepped down as chair of NZYF’s Waikato/Bay of Plenty region, a position he’d held for 18 months. He then served as the region’s National Committee (NatCom) delegate. “NZ Young Farmers has fantastic opportunities for personal development that don’t exist elsewhere for young people,” he said.

Kent Weir flies an area between Otorohanga and Whanganui

Kent was elected to the NZ Young Farmers Board in July. “I’m pleased, humbled and honoured to be given this privilege. I’m really looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing that I have this opportunity to sit at a board table at 27 and start my governance journey at such a young age.” Nine people were vying for two positions in the hotly-contested election.

“My main motivation for standing for the board was a desire to give back to an organisation I care a lot about,” he said.

They showed social activities run by NZYF clubs have a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of the organisation’s members.

“I have benefited greatly from the connections and friendships I have made over the years.”

“It was really heartening to see that survey come out and reinforce something that we anecdotally knew was true,” he said.

In February, the results of a Farmstrong survey involving 985 farmers under 35 were presented to the AGMARDT NZ Young Farmers Conference.

“It’s a tool that we can use to leverage membership growth and it’s an extremely strong selling point for our organisation.” Kent has been elected to the NZ Young Farmers Board for a three-year term.




Newly-elected NZ Young Farmers Board member Robert Barry has a passion for improving dairying’s environmental footprint. Story Brad Markham


Alison and Robert Barry


pair of fantails flit above Robert Barry’s head as he bends down to inspect a predator trap at the base of a totara tree.

The towering native is in a pristine bush block on a farm owned by the BEL Group near Waipukurau in central Hawke’s Bay.

Robert is using a ground-breaking trap developed by NZ Autotraps. The trap resets and rebaits itself, improving the kill rate. “The great thing about these traps is that they aren’t labour intensive and they kill a range of predator species,” said the Tikokino Young Farmers member.

The eight-hectare block is protected by a Queen Elizabeth II Trust covenant and is dotted with almost a dozen traps. “We have quite an extensive trapping programme here,” said Robert, as he points to two dead rodents. The canopy of the bush block is teeming with birds. The haunting call of a tui drowns out the faint chirp of the fantails. This area is known to attract ferrets, stoats, weasels, rats, mice and occasionally possums, which prey on the birds and their eggs.

Robert Barry monitors his local stream using water testing kits funded by Fonterra

These traps kill a range of predator species

This trap resets and rebaits itself, improving the kill rate

The 27-year-old’s passion for the environment has won him several accolades and landed him a new job.

Not being in the milking shed every day has given Robert the opportunity to start implementing his ideas.

In February he was appointed the sustainability lead for the BEL Group, which farms 3700 hectares (effective).

The business overhauled its wintering practices this year, with the aim of reducing nitrate and sediment loss from crop paddocks.

About 9000 cows are milked across nine dairy farms. The business owns or leases a further eight dairy support blocks. Prior to taking on his new role, Robert was second-in-charge on one of the dairy farms. “This job is a great fit for me. I’m really passionate about improving dairying’s environmental footprint,” said the father of two. “I was always making suggestions to the BEL Group’s leadership team about ways we could improve our practices.”

“I think it’s something everyone can do,” he said.

Being smart about where you plant your winter crops and how you feed them can lead to a big reduction in sediment runoff.

The business was started by Robert’s mother Andrea and his late father Peter in the 1990s and now employs 70 fulltime staff.


The QE2 bush block on one of the BEL Groups properties

“It can often be as simple as putting up a back fence or using a portable water trough to help reduce soil damage,” he said. Grazing sections of crop growing near waterways or at the bottom of slopes last helps trap contaminants. About 50 of the business’ staff are involved with feeding out to cows and young stock over the winter and shifting crop fences. Two full-time fencers have also been employed to fence off small ephemeral drains. “Legally we don’t need to fence them off. But they’re areas that get wet and boggy in winter and if we reduce the number of cows walking through them, that can have a significant impact on water quality,” he said.

“The river doesn’t have the benefit of a large volume of fresh water flowing through it. It’s fed by springs on surrounding farmland,” he said. “Anything we can do to keep livestock out of those springs will make a difference.”

The farmer-led community group is focused on improving water quality, biodiversity, and their greenhouse gas footprint. “This year through the group I have applied for and received $32,000 worth of funding from Fonterra to purchase water testing kits and to find potential wetland sites,” he said.

Green-thumbed students at the local school are helping to grow native plants and trees for the newly-protected areas.

Robert and his wife Alison were finalists in the 2018 Farm Environment Awards for the East Coast winning the Predator Free 2050 and DairyNZ Sustainable Farming Award.

BEL Group chipped in $4000 to help the school extend its shade house, which can now produce 1000 riparian plants a year.

In July, he was elected to the NZ Young Farmers Board.

Robert is the chair of the Tukipo Catchment Care Group, which he founded in February 2018.

Earlier this month, he was elected to the NZ Young Farmers Board. “I have been thinking about standing for the board for the last two years,” said Robert.

To be elected and have the backing and support of my fellow members is an awesome feeling. I’m really happy.

The majority of the farms sit in the Tukipo River catchment, which has poor water quality.

Robert saw joining the NZ Young Farmers Board as a unique opportunity for a young person to obtain governance experience. “There aren’t many boards out there that have being under 31-years-old as a criteria, so it’s an amazing opportunity which I had to seize,” he said. Robert has been elected to the NZ Young Farmers Board for a two-year term.

Newly-elected NZ Young Farmers Board members Kent Weir (left) and Robert Barry

SHEPHERD OF THE YEAR Tikokino Young Farmers member Chris Hursthouse is the inaugural winner of the new Hawke’s Bay Shepherd of the Year award. Story Brad Markham


The 22-year-old is a shepherd for the R+C Buddo Trust at Poukawa, near Hastings in Hawke’s Bay. The trust finishes 15,000 lambs and 500 bulls a year across four blocks totalling 825 hectares. “The operation has a big emphasis on using plantain and clover forage crops to fatten lambs,” said Chris, who’s the chair of Tikokino Young Farmers. “Plantain grows really well here through the autumn and spring with stock finishing exceptionally well on it.” In May, Chris was named the inaugural winner of the new Hawke’s Bay Shepherd of the Year award. He put himself forward for the title, which is part of the Hawke’s Bay Primary Sector Awards, after seeing a post on social media. “I thought I’ll never know unless I have a go, so I downloaded an application form and filled it out,” he said.

“I didn’t expect much to come of it. I was surprised when I found out I’d won, but stoked at the same time.” Chris found the judging and application process a beneficial exercise which encouraged him to think about his future. “As part of the application process I had to submit a curriculum vitae (CV), a cover letter and five-year career plan,” he said.

It made me stop and think where I’d like to be in five years’ time and what I have to do to ensure I achieve my goals.


hris Hursthouse is proof you don’t have to grow up on a farm to be successful in the agri-food sector.

He landed his first summer job in Ongaonga. He then took the plunge to dramatically grow his knowledge by taking a job in Kereru, working on two farms. The opportunity was a great way to learn from different farmers. One property was a sheep and beef breeding and finishing farm. The other was a large-scale deer breeding, finishing and velveting property. “I’d never seen a deer until I started working at that farm,” laughed Chris. “It was a good way to gain a broad range of skills and understand different aspects of farming production.” “It was a massive learning curve, but an experience I really enjoyed and got a lot out of,” he said. Chris has been in his current job at Poukawa for a year.

Chris is on a rapid rise through the industry. He was raised on a lifestyle block and attended Lindisfarne College. A “passion for being outside and for animals” led him to study through Taratahi to gain some basic farm skills.

Chris Hursthouse

Joseph Watts (below) is a member of Tikokino Young Farmers, which Chris chairs

Finishing 12,000 lambs through the winter and spring, and a further 3000 in the summer and autumn, is no easy feat.

“We’ve got a great club. It’s a good bunch of people and you don’t have to be a farmer to join up and get involved,” he said.

“There are three of us, plus the boss, and we get together weekly to determine what needs to be done and set a plan,” he said.

“NZ Young Farmers clubs are a great way for young people, especially those new to an area or working in isolated jobs, to make friends.”

Chris’ day could include anything from weighing or drenching lambs, to shifting stock or repairing fences.

One of the club’s members Joseph Watts represented the East Coast in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay in July.

“In the spring we spend a lot of time weighing and drafting lambs,” he said.

“It was awesome to have the grand final in our region so we could easily get along and support Joseph,” he said.

“September, October and November are our biggest months where we’re supplying lambs to the meat works on a weekly basis.”

Joseph and Chris have similar backgrounds – neither of the young men were raised on a farm.

The intensive nature of the operation means the lambs and bulls are used to being around people. “Grazing the forage crops is quite intensive, but I really enjoy that side of the business and seeing a well-finished product going into a high-end market,” said Chris. “Those paddocks are split with three-wire electric fences and livestock are rotated through them. The rotation length varies depending on the time of the year.” Chris enjoys getting involved in his local community and chairs Tikokino Young Farmers, a position he’s held since last October.

As a past student of Taratahi, Chris was saddened to hear about the education provider’s demise. “It can be a struggle to get into the primary industries if you’re not from a farm,” he said. “Taratahi played a vital role in giving young people training and an understanding of basic skills to help launch their careers.” “Its closure has left a big gap that needs to be filled.” Chris’ advice for urban residents considering a career on the land is to work for progressive employers who embrace new ideas. The young shepherd’s end goal is to one day buy his own farm.


James Robertson and his partner Megan Robertson

HISTORY MAKER Auckland Young Farmers member James Robertson is the youngest person ever to win the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final. Story Brad Markham

Photos Kirsten Simcox


James Robertson with his parents Sue and David Roberston


n Auckland-based business graduate has made history after being named the 51st FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

James Robertson took out the coveted title in front of a crowd of almost 700 people in Napier in July. There was loud applause and cheering as he made his way through a standing ovation and onto the stage. The 22-year-old is the youngest contestant ever to win the grand final of the iconic agricultural contest. “When my name was called out I went into shock. I just can’t believe it, it’s a dream come true,” said James.

It’s always been a goal of mine to win this title.


James grew up on a 200 cow dairy farm in the Waikato and works for Fonterra in its trade strategy team.

He also took out the FMG People’s Choice Award, winning $1,000 for his Auckland Young Farmers club.

He’s proof you don’t have to milk cows to have a career in New Zealand’s multibillion dollar dairy industry.

Despite his young age, James has had a long involvement with NZ Young Farmers which started during high school.

“The opportunities in the agri-food sector are endless, even if you live in the city. You just have to be passionate.”

In 2013, James and a fellow team mate from Hamilton Boys’ High School won the TeenAg Grand Final.

James was one of seven contestants from across the country who competed in this year’s grand final.

It means the Massey University graduate is the only person to take out both grand finals.

The victory was the culmination of days of gruelling practical and technical challenges which tested their skills, knowledge and stamina.

“The work NZ Young Farmers does in schools to show students the diverse range of careers in agriculture is extremely important,” he said.

Competitors had to drive a large grape harvester, make sausages, assess health and safety risks using a virtual reality simulator, install an irrigation system for fruit trees, market a line of sheep and sit an agri-business exam. James won a prize package worth at least $75,000, which includes a trip to Ireland.

I probably wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for my involvement with NZ Young Farmers early on.

James is only the second person from the Northern region to win the grand final. Central Hawke’s Bay technical field representative Joseph Watts, 28, took out second place in the grand final.

He also won the innovation prize, the award for showcasing food production and was named the most tech-savvy contestant.

The contest is supported by FMG, Ravensdown, Honda, WorkSafe, STIHL, Lincoln University, Massey University, Southfuels/Northfuels, Betacraft and New Holland.

Waikato vet Emma Dangen, 24, came third and picked up the award for championing environmental best practice. Alex Field, 25, who’s a stock manager south of Whanganui, won the award for outstanding leadership skills. The total grand final prize pool is worth $100,000. The FMG Young Farmer of the Year is an iconic contest which began in 1969 and showcases the country’s agri-food sector.

FMG YOUNG FARMER OF THE YEAR PLACINGS: 1st: James Robertson 2nd: Joseph Watts 3rd: Emma Dangen

Challenge winners: Food Award

Joseph Watts

Technology Award

Joseph Watts

People Award

Alex Field

Environment Award

Emma Dangen

Innovation Award Joseph Watts

Community Footprint Award: Matt McRae People’s Choice Award: James Robertson



GRAND FINAL 2020 Christchurch is set to host the national final of an iconic contest showcasing the country’s food and fibre producers. It’s been confirmed next year’s FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final will be held in the area in July. The announcement was made at this year’s grand final in Hawke’s Bay. “This is a really exciting opportunity to highlight the important role Canterbury plays in our agri-food sector,” said convenor Sarah Heddell. The region consists of a diverse mix of dairy, sheep and beef, and cropping operations. Half of New Zealand’s grain seed and fodder crop land is in Canterbury, according to Statistics New Zealand. The last grand final in the region was in 2014. “Christchurch is New Zealand’s thirdlargest city. The contest is a great way to help grow urban residents’ understanding of modern food production,” said NZ Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith.

“The popular practical day showcases the innovation and technology being used by farmers to produce food and fibre more efficiently.” The agricultural contest has been testing the knowledge and stamina of young farmers since 1969. Convening an FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final is a dream role for Sarah Heddell. The 31-year-old Dunsandel Young Farmers member is a land management and biodiversity advisor for Environment Canterbury and lives in Ashburton. She’s helped run four regional finals - convening two of them - and was majorly involved with the 2014 grand final. “I love everything about the contest. It challenges people and helps them to learn and grow, it highlights the vital role the agri-food sector plays in the economy and it also brings people together,” said Sarah.

The technical day will be held at Blinc Innovation at Lincoln University. Venues for the gruelling practical day and hugely popular quiz and evening show are still being decided, but will be within the Christchurch city district. The event will take place on the 2nd4th July 2020. National finals for the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year and AgriKidsNZ competitions are run alongside the contest.

Sarah and her organising committee are currently in discussions with Christchurch City Council about locations for key aspects of the event. “I’d like to have the opening parade and ceremony in town. It’s a lively event involving school children from across New Zealand,” she said.





09 NOV 2019 (Upper North) Kaikohe 30 NOV 2019 (Lower North) Waimuaku

09 NOV 2019 (Aorangi North) Mt Somers (DATE) (AORANGI SOUTH) TBA



WAIKATO/BAY OF PLENTY 09 OCT 2019 (North Waikato) Huntly 16 NOV 2019 (Bay Of Plenty) Reporoa 23 NOV 2019 (Piako) Morrinsville 30 NOV 2019 (Waipa/King Country) Piopio REGIONAL DATE: 08 FEB 2020

TASMAN 19 OCT 2019 (Tasman South Open) Springston 26 OCT 2019 (Tasman North Open) Rangiora REGIONAL DATE: 28 MAR 2020



19 OCT 2019 (Otago) Middlemarch 16 NOV 2019 (Southland) Balfour

05 OCT 2019 (Manawatū Closed) Palmerston North 09 NOV 2019 (Manawatū Open) Feilding 16 NOV 2019 (Taranaki Open) Eltham 30 NOV 2019 (Taranaki Closed) Stratford



EAST COAST 09 NOV 2019 (East Coast South) Pongoroa 30 NOV 2019 (East Coast North) Gisborne REGIONAL DATE: 29 FEB 2020



FARM TO FRIDGE Former FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist James Davidson has achieved a long-held goal of setting up a boutique milk business. Story Brad Markham


The Davidson family taking time out at the beach

James and Chloe Davidson, who have two young children, have established Darfield-based Roan Farm. The couple has leased 24 hectares of land where they will produce soughtafter A2 milk to sell door-to-door. “There’s something nostalgic about having fresh milk delivered to your door from the farm just down the road,” said Chloe. Animal welfare, the environment, sustainability and the consumer are a key focus for the fledgling family farm to fridge business. “The conventional dairy industry has some image problems and we want to lead by example and show what is achievable,” said James.

“Our cows are grass fed, our A2 milk will be delivered in reusable glass bottles and we plan to leave calves with their mothers.” James is a former FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand finalist who has carved a name for himself in the traditional dairy sector. “It can be a bit disheartening when you work long hours and your milk gets collected by the milk tanker and you never see it again,” said the 30-year-old.

I want to interact with the people who buy and drink our milk and share with them the story of where it comes from.


new family-owned boutique milk business is set to bring the clink of glass milk bottles back to Canterbury streets.

Angus and Margot Davidson enjoy a snack

The demise of another operator was the catalyst the couple needed to launch their new venture. Last year they spotted the company’s mobile milking equipment for sale on Trade Me. “We knew that if we didn’t take a gamble and buy the milking equipment then, we probably never would,” said James. The equipment James refers to is a unique mobile milking shed on a trailer, which provides huge flexibility for Roan Farm.

We move it every day. So our cows, which are 100 per cent grass-fed, walk up onto the trailer and they’re milked in the paddock.

Like many other eager young food producers James and Chloe are educated, skilled and brimming with ideas – but don’t own land, or until recently, a milking shed.

The mobile shed suits the “calf at foot system”. The young calves wait nearby until the cows are milked. Roan Farm is milking 15 cows, including a number of Milking Shorthorns, with plans to expand as demand grows. Once the milk is harvested, it will be pasteurised in small batches and then bottled. There are a couple of reasons behind the decision to pasteurise the milk. “Pasteurised milk has a longer shelf life, so there is less wastage and it means we can sell it in cafes and grocers,” said Chloe.

Milk from Roan Farm will be sold in reusable glass bottles

James learned a lot about the problem of food waste when he attended the recent Boma NZ agri-summit in Christchurch, which he described as “thought-provoking”. Initially the milk will be found in a range of stockists from Darfield to Lyttelton, Woodend to Christchurch, as well as Ashburton. “Our aim is to ramp up slowly. A local café has come on board to sell the milk, as have a couple of small grocers,” said Chloe. “Once we have established supplies we’ll begin delivering the milk to residential streets in Darfield, followed by West Melton and then Christchurch.” Getting the new venture off the ground has been a big learning curve for James and Chloe.

“We’re farming our land organically. We’re in the conversion stage, which is a three-year process until we’re fully organically certified,” said James. “We’ve been replacing a lot of dryland cocksfoot pastures with a mixed sward of 20-odd species of herbs, pasture and legumes.” James and Chloe may not know it, but they’re role models for young dairy farmers in other regions eager to strengthen their connection with consumers.

Keen to try Roan Farm milk? Below is a list of outlets which will stock the milk: The Fat Beagle, Darfield Vege n’ Out, Woodend Healthy Fruit and Veges, Prebbleton Piko Wholefoods, Christchurch The Leeston Grocer, Leeston The Harbour Co-op, Lyttleton


Adrian Beattie

PRIMARY ITO PARTNERSHIP “A lot of young people, especially those working on larger dairy farms, struggle to find a good work-life balance,” he said.

The 20-year-old apprentice is in his second season on a 710-cow dairy farm at Ohaupo near Te Awamutu.

It’s hoped a new partnership between PrimaryITO and NZ Young Farmers (NZYF) will provide an incentive to get off the farm.

Prior to moving to the Waikato, he spent a year on a dairy farm milking 2500 cows in Rotorua.

The education provider has this year offered 75 of its students a NZ Young Farmers membership. Fifty of those students, like Adrian Beattie, are undertaking dairy apprenticeships through Federated Farmers.

Members at the AGMARDT NZ Young Farmers Conference in February 2019

I think it’s a great initiative. The free membership will motivate people to be social and grow their support network.


drian Beattie readily admits it can often be hard for new entrants to the dairy industry to have a social life.

Adrian is a member of Te Kawa West Young Farmers. It’s one of almost 80 NZYF clubs around the country which hold regular meetings and social events, skills days and leadership workshops. Recent research by Farmstrong found social activities run by NZYF clubs have a positive impact on members’ wellbeing. “We find if young people on farms don’t have a connection to their community and make friends in their first couple of years, we tend to lose them,” said Anna Yarndley from PrimaryITO.

Being able to offer the membership and get them into a club and supported will not only improve their work-life balance, but help retain talent in the industry.

“It’s a perfect fit. The apprenticeship has been amazing for my professional development. I’m constantly learning and setting new goals.”

Hamish Macaulay-Burke, 27, works for Coombes Farms, which peak milks 1900 cows across two farms at Ngahinapouri. The former Wellington resident started a dairy apprenticeship earlier this year and has also been given a NZYF membership. “The apprenticeship is awesome, it’s helping me to learn new skills. But this will enable me to meet other like-minded people. I’m really looking forward to heading along to my first club meeting,” he said. “I can see this initiative being extremely beneficial for young people working on smaller farms where it’s just them and their employer.” NZ Young Farmers hopes to implement similar partnerships with other corporates over the next 12 months.

Kaikoura Young Farmers members Jodie Hails, Haylee Hendrie, Josh Richardson and Hannah Bradshaw

Michael Macmillan and his father Alex Macmillan


n organisation helping to nurture young people in the primary industries is set to benefit from a Northland farmer’s invention. Alex Macmillan, 81, who farms beef cattle at Pipiwai, has developed a game-changing device for electric tape gateways. He’s designed a sturdy gateway hinge spring using marine-grade stainless steel, which won’t rust and will last longer. The device is the first of its kind in New Zealand and was officially launched at the national Fieldays in the Waikato in June. Alex was a member of NZ Young Farmers (NZYF) in the 1950’s and has decided to donate a portion of all sale proceeds to the organisation. “I got immense benefit out of being a NZ Young Farmers member. It was one of the best ways to make friends,” recalls Alex.


The octogenarian was a former Patumahoe Young Farmers club member, which was one of a number in the Franklin district.

Alex and his fellow club mates also knew their way around a dancefloor, regularly attending Saturday night dances in local halls.

“The thing I remember most fondly were the interclub debates,” he said.

Supporting NZYF is a legacy Alex wanted to create to help the next generation of agri-food producers reach their goals.

“There was some fierce competition in our area. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge, share ideas and common interests, and to socialise.”

The unique gateway hinge spring, which is being marketed by Lomacs New Zealand, has even generated interest from the Australian states of Tasmania and Victoria. “This product is different to anything else on the market,” said Alex’s son Michael Macmillan, who’s a director of Lomacs New Zealand. “Other devices for electric tape gates have the spring inside plastic handles.” “The Lomacs gateway hinge spring is permanently mounted on a post and all of the componentry, apart from the plastic anchor, is marine-grade stainless steel,” he said.

Alex Macmillan has dedicated his entire life to the agriculture sector. In the early 1960s he got a job working for the Milk Marketing Board in the United Kingdom as an artificial insemination (AI) technician. “I was the youngest technician they ever employed,” he said. Upon his return to New Zealand, Alex spent more than four decades working for the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) as an AI technician. “One of my biggest days involved inseminating cows in 29 herds. I travelled more than 209km that day,” he recalls.

A number of the devices are set to be installed at the Auckland dairy farm gifted to the organisation by the late Donald Pearson.

Michael Macmillan is looking forward to hitting the road to attend NZYF club meetings to discuss and promote his father’s invention.

“We’ve had considerable interest from farmers in coastal areas who’re tired of replacing their current gate components every couple of years due to rust. The Lomacs gateway hinge spring will solve this problem,” he said.

The gateway hinge spring has been selected as a finalist in the NZ Best Design Awards.

Keen to know more? Would you like a demonstration of the gateway hinge spring at your next club meeting? Contact Michael on 021 217 8291 or Alex on 09 430 0943 /


Central Taranaki Young Farmers member Matthew Herbert

CALF COMPETITION NZ Young Farmers is holding its annual bull calf competition again, with a substantial prize pool. It’s a major fundraiser for NZ Young Farmers clubs in the Taranaki/ Manawatu region. Matthew Herbert, who’s a 50:50 sharemilker in Manaia, has already picked the bull calf he’s going to rear.

“Most of our calves have been Jersey or Crossbed this year, so I’ve kept the only Friesian bull we’ve had,” he laughed.

The competition is a fantastic way to support the next generation of farmers.


armers in Taranaki and Manawatu are being encouraged to put their skills to the test to see who can rear the heaviest bull calf.

The bull calf competition was last run in 2017, where it raised more than $10,000.

It wasn’t held last year due to the mycoplasma bovis outbreak. Farmers keen to rear a Friesian bull calf (F12+) until weaning must register by August 15th. The first 40 calves donated will get a free bag of meal from NRM to assist with rearing the calf. “The calf has to be born between July 27th and August 20th this year,” said the chair of NZYF’s Taranaki/Manawatu region Jessie Waite. “We’re hoping to have around 50 calves donated.” “The weigh-in will be on November 24th, when all the donated calves will be sold to a single buyer on contract,” she said. Cooks Honda Hawera has come on board to give farmers another incentive to enter. “The main prize is a Honda twowheeler motorbike bike valued at $4500,” said Jessie. The Taranaki/Manawatu region stretches from Urenui in north Taranaki, down to Wellington.

Marton Young Farmers member Lachlan Fee

YOUNG FARMERS CLUBS & LOCATIONS NZ Young Farmers has seven distinct regions with almost 80 clubs across New Zealand.



Auckland City Young Farmers Club Bay of Islands Young Farmers Club Franklin Young Farmers Club Kaipara Young Farmers Club Northern Wairoa Young Farmers Club Whangarei Young Farmers Club

Cambridge Young Farmers Club Eastern Bay Young Farmers Club Hamilton City Young Farmers Club Hauraki Young Farmers Club Ngarua Young Farmers Club North King Country Young Farmers Club North Waikato Young Farmers Club

Piarere Young Farmers Club Reporoa Young Farmers Club South Waikato Young Farmers Club Te Kawa West Young Farmers Club Te Puke Young Farmers Club Tihoi Young Farmers Club Waihi Young Farmers Club

TARANAKI/MANAWATŪ Central Taranaki Young Farmers Club Coastal Young Farmers Club Fitzherbert Young Farmers Club Inglewood Young Farmers Club Marton Young Farmers Club Massey University Young Farmers Club

Opiki Young Farmers Club South Taranaki Young Farmers Club Urenui Young Farmers Club Whanganui Young Farmers Club Wellington City Young Farmers Club


Ashley Clinton/Norsewood Young Farmers Club Ballance Young Farmers Club Dannevirke Young Farmers Club Eskview Young Farmers Club Puketoi Young Farmers Club South Wairarapa Young Farmers Club


Amuri Basin Young Farmers Club Banks Peninsula Young Farmers Club Christchurch City Young Farmers Club Dunsandel Young Farmers Club Golden Bay Young Farmers Club Grey Valley Young Farmers Club


Five Forks Young Farmers Club Foothills Young Farmers Club Glenavy/Waimate Young Farmers Club Hinds Young Farmers Club MacKenzie Young Farmers Club

Tikokino Young Farmers Club Wairarapa Young Farmers Club

Hurunui Young Farmers Club Kaikoura Young Farmers Club Lincoln University Young Farmers Club Renwick Young Farmers Club Waimakariri Young Farmers Club West Melton Young Farmers Club

Methven Young Farmers Club Pendarves Young Farmers Club Timaru Young Farmers Club Upper Waitaki Young Farmers Club

OTAGO/SOUTHLAND Balfour Young Farmers Club Clinton/South Otago Young Farmers Club Maniototo Young Farmers Club Nightcaps Young Farmers Club Strath Taieri Young Farmers Club Tarras Young Farmers Club Te Anau Young Farmers Club

Teviot Valley Young Farmers Club Thornbury Young Farmers Club Tokomairiro Young Farmers Club Upper Manuherikia Young Farmers Club Waitane Young Farmers Club West Otago Young Farmers Club Wyndham Young Farmers Club 34

DONALD PEARSON FARM About 135 cows have been wintered on the 74-hectare property, up from 115 cows last season. “We are well over halfway through calving,” said the chair of the Donald Pearson Farm Board Julie Pirie in early August. Forty-three in-calf Jersey heifers arrived on the farm in late May. They were bought from the estate of the late Bobbie Backhouse. The heifers are in the top five per cent for breeding worth (BW) and are some of the country’s best Jersey genetics. “The majority of the heifers were in calf to an AB (artificial breeding) mating. Many have had heifers, which is excellent,” said Julie. “We already have more than 30 replacement heifer calves.” The calves are being reared in an old wintering barn on the property which was converted into calf pens in June. “Donald used to calve a couple of times a year, so his pens were perfectly adequate for his needs,” said Julie.


“But we calve the entire herd in the spring, which means we needed more space to cope with the larger volume of calves.” Students from nearby Manurewa High School helped construct the new rearing pens. The herd produced 26,370 kilograms of milksolids in the 2018-19 season. Production was hampered by a wet winter and a dry summer. This season is off to a promising start. “Milk production is up 50 per cent on the same time last season,” said Julie in early August.

The new heifers are settling in well. The herd is being fed a blend of pellets with added minerals through the in-shed feed system.


alving is in full swing at the Auckland dairy farm owned by NZ Young Farmers (NZYF).

The farm’s manager Tom Ruki is using the covered stand-off pad to feed grass silage to the cows and protect pastures from damage.

“We now have a big amount of storage. The cost of the upgrade is not finalised yet, but it looks to be around $150,000,” said Julie.

“Tom’s using that facility really well. The cows are in good condition and things are looking a lot better than they were at this time last year,” said Julie.

Graduates working at Fonterra have been assisting the Donald Pearson Farm Board with long-term planning for the farm.

“Our focus now is on getting as much milk in the vat as possible before the farm dries out in the summer.”

They’ve looked at how the farm can be used as an education tool and to improve the connection between rural and urban people.

A major upgrade to the farm’s effluent system is complete. A new, fully-lined pond has been built to handle effluent from the 11-aside herringbone milking shed. It’s connected to pods and a travelling irrigator which utilise the valuable effluent to fertilise the soil and grow more grass.

"They've taken ideas from an open day earlier this year and the board’s thoughts. We hope to see some exciting proposals put forward,” said Julie. The graduates’ report will be presented to the next meeting of the Donald Pearson Farm Board on August 29th.

Finance that’s farm fit. Find out more at

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David Highsted


unique project is using the agri-food sector to help improve the literary skills of a boys’ English class in Motueka.

David met with the school’s head of technology Peter Allan, who offered to share the learning modules among his teaching colleagues.

“It can often be hard getting boys to develop a real interest in something and hopefully this will help achieve that,” he said.

Motueka High School, which has 700 pupils, was looking for a way to inspire and engage a Year 10 English class of 15 boys.

“The best thing about the units is their flexibility. They can be modified quite easily to suit the learning level of a class,” said Peter.

It’s not the only learning resource, which can be downloaded for free from the Agrication website, being used by Motueka High School.

David Highsted works with teachers to provide schools with agri-food focused learning resources and offered to help.

The school’s English department was after a more practical-based resource for an all-boys class of Year 10 students.

Students in Years 9-10 are studying a unit called Predicting Progeny and a Year 12 class is using a statistics resource.

“A big part of my job at NZ Young Farmers is helping teachers weave the food and fibre sector into their subjects,” said David.

The resource was designed to teach younger students about the importance of science and genetics in the red meat sector.

Our resources are a way to inject real-world farming and food production into statistics classes or the science lab.


“We’ve altered it slightly and started teaching it this term. It will hopefully make English more relevant for the boys,” said Peter. “I have lined up a highly-skilled local farmer who we plan to visit. It will keep the students engaged and expose them to the wide variety of career opportunities in the primary industries.”

The learning resources are funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) and have been a hit with students. The school also has a TeenAg club which recently visited a sheep and beef farm that has diversified into growing hops.


Matthew Halford and Finn Beamish

Two Napier Boys’ High School students have been named the FMG Junior Young Farmers of the Year. Finn Beamish, 17, and Matthew Halford, 17, took out the coveted national title in Napier in July.

Grand Final results:

1st Napier Boys’ High School Finn Beamish and Matthew Halford 2nd Napier Boys’ High School Guy von Dadelszen and Macabe King 3rd Geraldine High School Jacob Price and Patrick Foley-Smith Competitor of the Year Te Awamutu College Alex Fitzgerald

They were one of 14 teams from across New Zealand which competed in the prestigious grand final. “It was awesome to get another crack at the competition. We’re both rapt that we won,” said Finn. The pair came second in last year’s grand final in Invercargill and credit the experience with their victory. “It was great to have been through the process before. It meant we knew where we needed to improve,” said Finn. The Year 13 students took home $5,000 worth of prizes. The event took place in cold and wet conditions and tested students’ practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

They had to install a farm water system using Hansen products, spot safety faults on a piece of agricultural machinery and sit an agri-business exam. “It really enjoyed the module involving the New Holland police tractor,” said Finn. “We had to drive a tractor towing a trailer loaded with silage bales and a police officer pulled us over to question us about the road rules.” A Massey University module on the sheep industry caught the pair by surprise. “We weren’t expecting that. It was quite challenging. We had to identify different breeds of sheep and types of wool,” said Matthew.

Guy von Dadelszen, 16, and Macabe King, 16, who’re also Napier Boys’ High School students, took out second place. “We’d really like to thank our agriculture teacher Rex Newman. We wouldn’t be where we are without him,” said Guy. “He’s been setting us challenges to help grow our knowledge and organising opportunities to hone our practical skills.” Jacob Price, 17, and Patrick Foley-Smith, 17, from Geraldine High School were third. The award for Competitor of the Year went to Alex Fitzgerald from Te Awamutu College. The overall prize pool for the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year was more than $9,000, which is the largest ever. The event is a key part of the work being done by NZ Young Farmers to attract students into the agri-food sector.


FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year

activity Te mata mushroom company

arataki honey


They’ve been meeting at lunchtime three days’ a week to grow their skills and knowledge of the agri-food sector. “They have worked extremely hard. I’ve been testing them on hundreds of agricultural-related questions,” said Kirsten McIntyre.

A talented trio from Tapanui in West Otago has taken out the national final of a hotlycontested agri-food competition. Shamus Young, 13, Archie Chittock, 12, and Flynn Hill, 12, from Blue Mountain College have won the AgriKidsNZ Grand Final in Hawke’s Bay. The trio beat 60 other students from around New Zealand to take out the event in cold and wet conditions in early July. “We’re so excited. It’s an awesome result. We’ve been doing a lot of study in the lead-up to the final,” said Archie. Students competing in teams of three, tackled a range of challenges testing their practical and theoretical skills. Modules included livestock breeding and genetics, farm safety, fuel storage, healthy soils, an agri-sector quiz and a race-off. “Our favourite module involved checking the sprockets and fitting the chain onto a two-wheeler Honda farm bike,” said Shamus. The trio qualified for the national final after coming third in the Otago/Southland regional final in Milton in February.

Kirsten is a former teacher who’s been helping the students prepare for the prestigious grand final. “We’ve been on field trips to farms, the local mechanic and spoken with experts from Ravensdown and New Holland,” she said. “The students have asked a lot of questions and have been really committed to giving it their best go.” The students thanked the local businesses and their families who supported them on their journey to Hawke’s Bay. “We probably wouldn’t have done as well as we did without their support. Special thanks goes to Ms McIntyre,” said Flynn. The trio’s prize pack included puffer jackets from Hunting and Fishing, gumboot vouchers and books for the school’s library from WorkSafe, Bluetooth speakers from Ravensdown, New Holland rugby jerseys and bean bags, a Northfuels/Southfuels hat and drink bottle pack, Beef + Lamb NZ merchandise, and tickets to the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final. Seth Jones, Zane Brown and Sam Henwood, from Kamo Intermediate in Northland took out second place. Ruby Giera, Lachlan Rooney and James Clark, from Mt Somers Springburn School near Ashburton, were third. The award for Competitor of the Year went to Ben Cairns from Limehills School in Southland. The event is a key part of the work being done by NZ Young Farmers to attract students into the agri-food sector.



Blue Mountain College Shamus Young, Archie Chittock and Flynn Hill


Kamo Intermediate Seth Jones, Zane Brown and Sam Henwood


Mt Somers Springburn School Ruby Giera, Lachlan Rooney and James Clark


AgriKidsNZ Competitor of the Year Limehills School Ben Cairns 43



Southland student has added wandering bison to her list of potential traffic hazards when driving overseas.

Kayla Calder, 17, who’s from Dipton, recently returned from a three-week TeenAg exchange to the United States. “It was the trip of a lifetime. I had an amazing time. It was great to experience farming in other parts of the world,” she said. The Southland Girls’ High student was one of six TeenAg members picked to take part in the sought-after exchange. The group visited Yellowstone National Park, which has 10,000 hydrothermal features and is home to almost 5000 bison. “I was surprised by how big bison are. They were everywhere, including on the roads,” she laughed. “One day we drove around a corner and had to slam on the brakes because there was a bison in the middle of the road.”


“The animals are wild, but they’re so used to tourists and traffic that they wander wherever they like,” said the Year 13 student. As part of the exchange, the TeenAg members attended the 4-H Congress in Bozeman, Montana.

The four-day event attracted 350 students. “I enjoyed getting to meet new people. Everyone was so friendly and easy to get along with,” said Kayla. During the congress, Kayla took part in a livestock judging workshop and visited a farm with several hundred alpacas.

Tyla Bishop and Mikayla McClennan

Sarah Humphries and Rhiannon Simpson

“I found that field trip really interesting. I haven’t had much to do with alpacas I’m from a sheep and beef farm,” she said.

The business has 250 registered Hereford cows and sells 75 bulls and more than 50 registered females each year.

Students got to watch the animals being shorn and learn more about their fibre and how they are farmed.

“That was an awesome experience. One of their bulls was named supreme champion Hereford at a national stock show,” she said.

“Alpacas don’t produce a lot of milk, so sometimes the cria (baby alpacas) have to be bottle-fed,” she said. “Their fibre is so soft. The farm uses it to produce blankets, jerseys, scarves and other items of clothing.” Following the congress, Kayla was billeted with Morgan Stevenson, 16, and her family at Deer Lodge, northwest of Bozeman. During the stay, Kayla got to visit renowned Montana cattle stud Thomas Herefords at Gold Creek. The stud was started in 1957 and began using artificial insemination in the 1970s to advance its genetics faster.

“I’ve made a number of connections in Montana and I’d like to return to the state to work and grow my knowledge one day.” Kayla plans to study a Diploma in Agriculture at Lincoln University. The five other students on the exchange were Sarah Humphries from Southland, Olivia Mackenzie from Ashburton, Rhiannon Simpson from Timaru, Tyla Bishop from Oamaru and Mikayla McClennan from Te Awamutu. It’s hoped the inaugural exchange will become a biennial event.

Kayla Calder

(L-R) Emma Dunderdale, Izy Greville and Jade Rivers


awke’s Bay student Izy Greville has spent part of the July school holidays honing her leadership skills at a unique course.

The 17-year-old was one of 14 teenagers from the lower North Island selected to attend the three-day programme in Napier.

It was designed to enhance the skills of emerging leaders within school-based TeenAg clubs run by NZ Young Farmers. “I found it really beneficial, especially the sessions on networking and building an impressive curriculum vitae (CV),” said the Woodford House student. “Those are skills which are extremely relevant as most of us try to line-up parttime jobs in the school holidays.” The course called Raising the Standards was organised by NZ Young Farmers and funded by DairyNZ. Students learned about cadetships, overcoming pressure, dealing with conflict, interview techniques and budgeting. “Many didn’t realise there are jobs in the banking sector which involve working solely with agri-business clients,” said Mary Blain from NZ Young Farmers.

Students heard from numerous guest speakers, including a banker, vet, viticulturist, a technical field representative and the sustainability manager for a large dairy farming business. The group visited Bostock NZ’s organic apple orchard and the Mr Apple packhouse. “Going inside the apple packhouse where the fruit was graded and sorted was an eye-opening experience,” said Izy.

“It was a huge, highly-automated operation involving lots of technology and science.”

The technology takes 240 photos of every apple in a split second to assess its external and internal quality.

Izy Greville was one of four Hawke’s Bay students on the course. She was joined by Kaylee Hutchinson, Annabel Bowen and Emma Dunderdale.

It means the machine snaps approximately 640,000 photos of apples per minute, stopping defect fruit from being exported.

“The packhouse was fascinating and not what I was expecting. Each apple is photographed by high-tech machinery to check for bruising."

“The field trip opened my mind to the wide variety of jobs in the horticulture sector which I was previously unaware of,” said Emma.

The Mr Apple packhouse is fitted with multi-million dollar sorting equipment and an automatic defect grader.

The 16-year-old lives on a sheep farm in Ongaonga and is the chair of the TeenAg club at Central Hawke’s Bay College. The Year 12 student is considering studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science or a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology at Massey University. “I like animals and science. I think studying agricultural science will keep my options open to a larger number of job opportunities once I’ve graduated,” said Emma. Students on the course were from Woodford House, Central Hawke’s Bay College, Iona College, Wairarapa College, Rathkeale College, Palmerston North Girls’ High School, Palmerston North Boys’ High School and Feilding High School. The guest speakers were from PGG Wrightson, BNZ, Waterforce, BEL Group, Vet Services Hawke’s Bay, Delegats Crownthorpe Vineyard, CP Wool and Miraka. TeenAg clubs are funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).


HIGH-TECH CAREERS A group of Waikato students is learning how robotics is being used to overhaul careers in the agri-food sector.

About 80 students from Te Awamutu College visited a local 80-cow dairy farm which owns a Lely robot. The state of the art milking machine enables Ian and Sharon Commins’ cows to milk themselves.

“It’s a really high-tech set up which removes the labour-intensive part of harvesting milk,” said Casey Huffstutler from NZ Young Farmers.

Casey organised the field trip after receiving a phone call from Te Awamutu College teacher David Prout back in April.

“The students loved watching the robotic arm extending towards each cow’s udder and attaching the milking equipment.”

David wanted to showcase the technology and innovation being used in agriculture to his Years 11-13 science classes.

“The robot collects a huge amount of usable data from each animal, allowing farmers to spot health problems with cows sooner,” she said.

The school’s using free learning resources from the Agrication website, which is funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).

As part of the trip students visited the workshop and depot of agricultural contracting business John Austin Ltd. They were given an insight into the technology being used in harvesters, choppers and speed seeders, and John Austin explained how innovation is helping to improve soil structures. “A rep from Agrowquip told us about 250 John Deere tractors a day are produced by the company’s factories in the United States and Germany,” said Year 11 student Brad Greenhalgh.

The pace at which these massive pieces of equipment can be assembled is unbelievable.

Students also visited Andrew Wellington’s 400 hectare farm which runs 4000 deer, sheep and dairy graziers. Velvet produced by the deer is used in health products in Asia. Students got to get up-close with hinds in the deer shed. “That was an incredible experience. Deer can be quite flighty, so it was great being able to get close and pat them,” said Brad. “We were shown a set of antlers from a stag weighing 11 kgs.” Students also got to tour a dairy farm producing and selling raw milk. Brad is studying agriculture, horticulture and science and is keen to train as an agronomist when he finishes high school.

AGRICULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES A South Canterbury school principal is going the extra mile to ensure his students have opportunities to experience the agriculture sector.

Hamish Brown is the principal of Beaconsfield School near Timaru, which has a roll of 104 students from both rural and urban backgrounds. Last year almost 40 of the students visited the 380-hectare Cannington farm of Bill and Shirley Wright. The trip was part of an RMPP-funded resource they were studying on boosting productivity in the red meat sector. Hamish was very surprised when he discovered one of the Year 8 students had not been on a farm before. “I almost fell off my chair. That revelation surprised me. Our school is in a rural area surrounded by farms,” he said. It made Hamish step up his efforts to ensure pupils were aware of the career opportunities in the agri-food sector.

The school is weaving teaching resources from the Agrication website run by NZ Young Farmers into its curriculum.

The group’s students are responsible for the wellbeing and feeding requirements of the school’s chickens and its four sheep.

“We’re planning another farm visit again soon as a key part of studying those learning modules, as well as a visit to a dairy farm through DairyNZ,” he said.

“When the sheep arrived one of the students mentioned they needed a drench, and then told me the reason why based on his experience. So the group organised temporary yards and drench for the school and undertook the process,” he said.

“We had a fantastic time on the last farm visit. Students came back to the classroom with lots of questions.” Hamish also runs a Rural Enrichment Group at the school, which includes the student who visited a farm for the first time last year. The group’s made up of 11 pupils who’ve had a range of rural experiences. “It’s a hands-on way for students to learn about job prospects and the business side of farming and food production,” said Hamish. “We’ve been on a number of field trips, including watching veterinary technicians work with dairy heifers and comparing the benefits of kale, fodder beet and grass for cows.” “We’ve also attended practical field days which covered topics from beekeeping to wool, fencing and quad bike safety, and we’ve looked at the costs associated with crop farms.”


“They’re learning about all aspects of farming. They know how much the sheep cost and what the associated costs are.” “They are monitoring livestock prices and if we get short of grass they will calculate the profit we could make by selling them,” he said. Hamish hopes the school’s efforts lead to more students considering careers in the primary industries. NZ Young Farmers organises free visits to sheep and beef farms for primary schools using Agrication resources. The trips are funded by the RMPP, a Primary Growth Partnership programme working to help the red meat sector increase productivity and profitability.


Prep—Time 30 mins



Lamb 8 Quality Mark lamb loin chops

Lamb Place the marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Brush lamb chops with marinade and set aside. Preheat the barbecue plate until medium-hot.

Marinade 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce 2 tablespoons runny honey 2 tablespoons light soy sauce 11/2 tablespoons dry sherry 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder Salad 350g green beans, trimmed 4-6 small radishes, finely sliced or quartered 1 red capsicum, finely sliced 2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced 1 handful flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped Small bunch chives, snipped Dressing 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 4 tablespoons olive oil

Salad Steam the green beans until tender. Set aside to cool before placing in a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients. Dressing Place all the ingredients in a screw top jar, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and shake well.

Cook—Time 10 mins

Serves 4 people

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Recipe Provided By Beef + Lamb NZ For more recipes visit

To serve Place a piece of baking paper or silicone baking sheet on the barbecue (this helps prevent the marinade from just burning). Place on the lamb chops and barbecue for 10-12 minutes, turning once.

Certified Quality

Drizzle dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Place in a salad bowl and serve with the lamb chops.




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