ANZ Young Farmer Contest Aorangi regional finalist Sonja
Dobbie says it would be ''really cool'' to win the national
final. Photo supplied.
When Sonja Dobbie entered the North Otago district final
of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest, she did not expect to do well.
The competition was held at Totara Estate, near Oamaru, last
November and members of her Five Forks club encouraged each
other to enter to ensure good representation.
But Miss Dobbie (23), a first-time entrant, finished third
behind Marshall Smith (Upper Waitaki Young Farmers) and
Steven Smit (Glenavy-Waimate), ensuring her a place in this
month's Aorangi regional final.
She is looking forward to the event, which will be held in
Fairlie on Easter Monday.
The practical day will be held in conjunction with the
Mackenzie Highland Show at the A and P showgrounds, with the
evening show at the Mackenzie Community Centre.
The three North Otago finalists will be joined by Stafford
Adams and Cole Harris from the Milford-Clandeboye club, James
Davidson (Hinds), Sam Bryan (Foothills) and Nigel Woodhead
Ms Dobbie grew up on a farm in South Otago and is now working
as a large animal technician at the Veterinary Centre, based
in Oamaru, a job she enjoys.
She joined Young Farmers in mid-2012 and is secretary of the
Five Forks Club, which meets monthly.
The club, which is running a membership drive, enjoys a mix
of social outings and fundraisers. It was a good opportunity
to meet people with similar interests, she said.
Entering the contest was good experience and an opportunity
to get to know young farmers from other clubs and also to get
her club's name better known, Ms Dobbie said.
The district final was a fun day with various modules that
had to be completed, ranging from making a horseshoe -
''no-one had ever done that'' - sawing a block of Oamaru
stone to drenching sheep, identifying fertiliser and
undergoing an interview.
She was expecting plenty of support from fellow club members
and family and friends at the regional final.
The winner of the regional final will join the six other
grand finalists from around New Zealand in the grand final in
Christchurch in July.
Miss Dobbie admitted it would be ''really cool'' to win the
national final. No woman has ever won;
Louise Collingwood came closest in 2003, finishing second to
Otago-Southland's Robert Kempthorne.