It was the buzzer round questions that won the Northern Regional Final for 30 year old Shane Munford in the first of Seven Regional Finals of The National Bank Young Farmer Contest.
The practical day took place on Saturday at the Helensville A&P Showgrounds with the Evening Show being held at the Helensville War Memorial Hall that evening.
A clearly emotional and very tired Shane was not expecting the win and couldn’t quite believe that he will represent Northern at the Grand Final in Masterton on June 29th – July 2nd.
“I can’t believe it - the butterflies won’t go away - I think I’m more nervous now.”
A Sub Station Electrician, Shane never thought that someone in his line of work could make it as far as the Regional Final let alone win.
“I think my passion for farming is what got me through.”
Shane was looking forward to a well-deserved rest after a very tough and very long day; both physically and mentally.
“I’m looking forward to a good sleep and then I’ll start thinking about the Grand Final.”
Shane is keen to work on all areas of his performance ahead of the Grand Final and is going for an all-round approach.
“I want to go the whole hog and get into everything – practical and theory. I’ll be talking a lot with some of the previous winners and other Club members.”
Shane is a father of two and husband to Maree. The Munford family will be going through some big changes over the coming months as Shane not only prepares for the Grand Final but also a career change. During the speech round Shane spoke about the process of changing his career to dairying. He said that it was a lifestyle choice and a very viable career option due to the ladder system in the dairying industry, meaning Shane can work his way up to farm ownership. Another motivator is that Shane wants his children to grow up on a farm.
“We’re following our dream.”
It could have been a very different outcome with 25 year old dairy farmer Katherine Tucker leading for much of the first half of the evening show. Katherine took out the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge and the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge which contributed greatly to her standing. In fourth place, after the Round 8 General Knowledge questions, a late run saw Katherine finish in second place, eight points behind Shane.
It was 30 year old Matt Smith’s last year of eligibility to compete in the Regional Final; he placed third after a solid performance in all areas.
It was also 4th place getter Damian Dixon’s last chance to reach Grand Final. Damian was a strong contender after taking out the Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge and sitting around 2nd place for most of the Evening Show.
Once again the Regional Final will be televised by TVNZ in the lead up to the Grand Final. The Northern Regional Final will be televised on TVNZ 7 on May 14th.
For those wishing to pledge their support to Regional Finalists around New Zealand, they can also get involved by heading to www.goyoungfarmer.co.nz to leave a message of support.
Also taking place at the Regional Final was the AgriKidsNZ competition where 69 children from around the Northern Region battled it out to get the chance to head to Grand Final in Masterton. The Country Bumpkins from Wainui School came in first and will be joined by the Future Farmers from Helensville School and the Woodhill Warriors representing Woodhill School.
The inaugural TeenAg Competition also took place and saw Logan Mason and William McCracken taking out the top spot. They’ll be joined in Masterton by second place getters Emma Watson and Tyler Reidy along with Jacob Lawes and JJ Philips who placed third.
TeenAg and AgriKidsNZ are competitions, and networks of Clubs, aimed to be a precursor to The National Bank Young Farmer Contest. Teenagers and children interested in the competition or becoming part of a Club can contact National Office to register their interest on 0508 247 454.