Young Farmers field officer Biddy Huddleston covers the
area south of the Rakaia River. Photo by NZ Young Farmers.
Biddy Huddleston's job is all about putting Young Farmers
Ms Huddleston (24) is lower South Island field officer for
New Zealand Young Farmers.
She covers a vast patch from the Rakaia River south,
responsible for all the clubs and secondary schools in the
Aorangi and Otago-Southland regions.
''I have the best job in the world ... driving around talking
to Young Farmers and kids about agriculture,'' she said.
Based at Methven, where the organisation's head office is, Ms
Huddleston grew up in Otago and Southland.
Her parents live at Hawea, and she has a brother and sister
living in Central Otago, so always enjoys being back in
Otago. After finishing secondary school, she was accepted
into both Lincoln University and Teachers College.
She chose Lincoln but, after four weeks, made the decision to
switch and headed to teachers college.
After completing her studies, she taught new entrants for two
years before joining Young Farmers in August last year.
Not initially knowing what to expect, Ms Huddleston had been
impressed with the warm welcome.
''All the clubs have been so cool. I have been incredibly
lucky,'' she said.
While still learning the ropes, she joined Young Farmers
about the same time as its new chief executive Terry
Copeland, so that had been ''very cool''.
Membership of Young Farmers came in ''peaks and troughs''.
There were currently 12 clubs in Otago-Southland, which she
was ''more than happy with''. [North Otago comes under
Ms Huddleston hoped to see the establishment of a Middlemarch
club and also one at Te Anau. Anyone keen to get involved in
those potential clubs should contact her or any other Young
There was so much more than just tangible benefits in joining
''It really is: you get out of it what you put into it,'' she
Each club was completely different, yet they all did some
''fantastic'' things for their communities. There was also
the networking and personal development involved.
Otago-Southland had traditionally been a very strong region,
particularly in hands-on practical competitions, and she
intended pushing the ''next step'' that could be taken with
Young Farmers, particularly personal development and
leadership. The region was also very strong for AgriKids and
The Young Farmers year was starting with some club training
at Roxburgh on January 29 and Gore on February 12 and she was
hoping for a good turnout.
The Otago-Southland regional final of the ANZ Young Farmer
Contest is being held in Alexandra on February 22.
The practical section will be held at Pioneer Park with the
evening show at the Alexandra Community Centre.
The regional finalists are Simon Topham, Hayden Gentle and
John White, all from Nightcaps YFC, James Gardyne (Waitane),
Hamish Robinson (Lincoln), Dean Rabbidge (Wyndham), and Logan
Wallace and James Lawn (Clinton/South Otago).
The Aorangi regional final is being held at Fairlie on Easter
Monday, the practical section in conjunction with the
Mackenzie Highland Show, and the evening session at the
Mackenzie Community Centre.
The regional finalists are Stafford Adams and Cole Harris
(Milford/Clandeboye), James Davidson (Hinds), Sam Bryan
(Foothills), Nigel Woodhead (Pendarves), Sonja Dobbie (Five
Forks), Marshall Smith (Upper Waitaki) and Steven Smit
(Glenavy/Waimate). The grand final of the contest will be
held in Christchurch in July.
Also on the calendar are a series of Get Ahead days, being
held on March 3 at the Gore Town and Country Club and Totara
Estate on March 5.
Similar to a careers expo, it was about ''putting primary
industries out there'' for senior secondary pupils.