Hinds young farmer James Davidson (25) has won this year's Aorangi regional final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest at
the Mackenzie A&P Highland Show, at the showgrounds in Fairlie on Easter Monday. Supplied photo
He did not expect to come out on top but Hinds young farmer
James Davidson (25) is this year's Aorangi challenger aiming
to be New Zealand's top young farmer.
Mr Davidson, who is a dairy farm manager in Mayfield, was one
of eight young farmers' club members who competed in Fairlie
on Easter Monday to be selected to go to the ANZ Young Farmer
Contest grand final in Christchurch in July.
He is the last of the country's seven grand finalists to be
This was his first regional final and he last competed at
district level in 2012.
He was ''quite shocked'' to win what was a ''difficult''
competition, he said. His aim had been to ''scope out'' the
competition and learn from the experience.
''My goal was just to make it to the top four, so it was a
definite surprise to win.''
He put his success down to his diverse range of farming
experience and a Lincoln University education. He holds a
bachelor of commerce degree in agriculture.
''A lot of the stuff you learn in university that you never
thought you would use comes back to you.''
Mr Davidson also won the Agmardt Agri-business Challenge.
He is 2IC on a 1400-cow dairy farm in Darfield. Ultimately,
he would like to own his own farm. He is developing a 70ha
grazing and silage block at Glentunnel, which he bought
The next couple of months would be busy with plenty of study
and preparation. And he would be ''picking people's brains''
to build up his knowledge, he said.
Nigel Woodhead, of the Pendarves club, and Sam Bryan, of the
Foothills club, were placed second and third respectively. Mr
Woodhead won the Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge.
Cole Harris, of the Milford-Clandeboye club, was fourth,
Steven Smit, of the Glenavy-Waimate club, was fifth overall
and won the Silver Fern Farms Agri-sports Challenge, and
sixth placegetter Marshall Smith, of the Upper Waitaki club,
won the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge.
Mr Davidson has won a prize pack worth more than $10,000 from
ANZ, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, Agmardt, Silver Fern
Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.
The grand final will begin on July 3 and regional winners
will compete for the national title and more than $300,000 in
- by Ruth Grundy