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FMG Young Farmer finalists announced

The competitors for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year East Coast 2022 regional final have been announced.

They are Hugh Banks, Aiden Smith, stock manager William Hobson, Ben Gordon, dairy farmer and Manawatu's 2021 Dairy Trainee of the Year Josh Wilkinson, Mark Wallace, sheep crutcher and calf rearer Samantha Thomson and Pukemiro Station cadet Fergus Casey.

They will go head-to-head at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year East Coast regional final on Saturday, March 26.

Regional final co-convener and seasoned competitor Joseph Watts said he was looking forward to being on the other side of the fence as an organiser after competing for the last six years.

Watts was named East Coast FMG Young Farmer of the Year for three years in a row (2019, 2020 and 2021) and came runner-up at the grand final twice.

“I have got a huge amount out of it because of the amazing work that all of the convenors have done in organising those events,” he said.

“I wanted to do my bit to provide that same opportunity for the next group of competitors to learn new skills and test the ones they already have.

“We want to create an event that is engaging for the audience and competitors and ensures that we have the best possible competitor representing the East Coast at the grand final.”

Every year the competition improves, despite the tests that Covid-19 has provided for the third season in a row, New Zealand Young Farmers CEO Lynda Coppersmith said.

“For season 54 we want to test our competitors and see who's up for it.

“We have already exceeded last year's entry numbers across the country, despite the fact that entries for a number of district contests are still open.”

“All of our volunteers and conveners across the country have created some incredible challenges so far, with the regional final season expected to take that to another level.”

All events in the regional final season will follow the Government's event guidelines at the time.

TRIPLE CHAMPION: Joseph Watts won the East Coast regional final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year three times and was a runner up in the 2021 grand final. He is looking forward to being on the other side of the fence next year. Picture supplied