Massey flatmates battle for farming title 

(left) Hamish Best, James Lawn and Richard French. 

This year’s Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final is showcasing three Massey graduates who will know a thing or two about their competition, having lived together in their final year of study.

Massey graduates and flatmates James Lawn (Taranaki-Manawatū), Hamish Best (East Coast) and Richard French (Waikato-Bay of Plenty) will be testing their skills against four other contestants from around the country.

To get to this week is no small feat, with the seven grand finalists beating out 400 contestants from the 22 District Contest and Skills Days and 56 regional competitors from the regional finals.

The Grand Final, hosted in Manawatū, will begin on Thursday at Massey University for the private technical day, and see their hands-on skills tested at the practical day at Manfield on Friday, which the public can attend. What skills will be required remain a mystery until the day.

Finalists come from the seven regional finals, including: Northern, Waikato-Bay of Plenty, Taranaki-Manawatū, East Coast, Tasman, Aorangi, Otago-Southland, with competitions running from February through to April.

But, it is anyone’s game leading into the Awards Evening on Saturday at Manfeild Park in Feilding.

The practical day will also feature the first ever Trans-Tasman Olympic Ag Battle between current FMG Young Farmer of the Year Athol New and Tasmanian Young Farmer of the Year Marty McConnon.

Saturday’s Grand Final Awards Evening will be available to watch on multiple online platforms, instead of the traditional television spot, with livestreaming on Facebook, as well as many of the other events throughout the week.

How they stack up

James Lawn
Representing - Taranaki-Manawatū
Degree - Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture, Rural Valuation and Management
Job - Dairy Farmer
Trump card - hometown advantage

Richard French
Representing – Waikato-Bay of Plenty
Degree – Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture and a grduate diploma in Business Studies in Rural Valuation
Job - sheep and beef farm manager
Trump card – former rural banker

Hamish Best
Representing - East Coast
Degree – Bachelor of Science with Honours (Agricultural Science).
Job - PGG Wrightson technical field officer 
Trump card - History shows that when the year ends in a seven, the contestant from the East Coast has won.

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