Rural Youth’s Young Farmer of the Year competition held

The state’s next generation of farmers were put to the test at Quercus park on Saturday. 

Twelve farmers took part in Rural Youth’s Young Farmer of the Year competition. The farmers participated in a range of modules on the day, including chemical use, crop identification, fencing, finance and machinery operation.  

Rural Youth’s young farmer of the year competition coordination Andrea O’Halloran said the semi final was held at Hagley Primary School a few weeks ago. 

“They’re here today competing in around 12 modules and those scores accumulate,” Mrs O’Halloran said.

“At our awards dinner there is a public speaking event and then we award out some fantastic prizes. It’s a big day for them. They start at 8am and the final award winner is announced at 9pm. So it’s basically a 13-hour competition.” 

The final component of the championship was a public speaking event.

“Top six go through to the public speaking module. Everyone prepared a speech about an issue in the primary industries at the moment and they had to talk for three to four minutes,” she said.

The farmers were tested on parts of farming which weren’t necessarily part of their industry, which Mrs O’Halloran said could make it more difficult. 

“One of our challenging modules is the fencing. There is a lot that they should be able to do, but we’ve only given them 30 minutes to do it,” Mrs O’Halloran said.  

“The seed identification will also be challenging for them because there is a few different ones in there that some people might not know.” 

The competitors were vying for more than $40,000 of prizes, with the winner awarded a Polaris 8. 

Last year’s winner Peter Damen said it was fantastic to take out the 2017 challenge. 

“It’s a tough competition and very tight at the end,” he said.  

“It’s good being at the other end of it now, sitting back and helping out, it’s a lot less stressful.”

TP Jones and Co’s marketing manager Samantha Sullivan said it was important to give the young farmers a chance to learn.

“We have a strong mentality at TP Jones about grass-roots mentoring, and this is very important,” she said. 

The Rural Youth Young Tasmanian Farmer of the Year has been running since the 80s.