Young Farmers show their talents

Some of the country's best young farmers will go head to head at the 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest grand final events at Lincoln and Christchurch.

In July, young farmers will be put through their paces in all things agricultural, from practical hands-on modules, including the action-packed agri-sports challenge, to theory and general knowledge tests.

''This contest is a testament to the calibre of individuals integral to the success of the primary sector,'' Young Farmer Contest chairman Kyle Goodwin said.

Canterbury will be represented by Tasman finalist Reuben Carter, of the Christchurch City YFC, and Aorangi finalist James Davidson, of the Hinds YFC.

While Mr Carter is competing in his second successive grand final, Mr Davidson is competing for the first time.

The grand final begins on Thursday, July 3, with the official opening at Lincoln University library, before the contestants battle it out in their first head-to-head challenge.

The next day is a practical one at the Lincoln University grounds, where the seven grand finalists will work their way through modules designed to test their skills, strength and stamina.

Young farmers of the future will then compete in the AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg grand finals, with 21 teams in each vying to take home their champion titles and trophies.

In the TeenAg, Canterbury and North Otago will be represented by Aorangi finalists the High Country Hillbillies (Holly Malcolm and Ella Sanderson) and the Gumboot Girls (Georgia Malcolm and Brittany Caldwell), from St Kevin's College, Oamaru, and the Moist Musters (Cody Callaghan and Thomas Yeatman), of Timaru Boys' High School.

They will take on two teams (Jack Anderson and Ben Early, and George Fraser and Hamish Gardner) from St Andrew's College, Christchurch, representing the Tasman region.

Aorangi will be represented in the AgriKids grand final by the Hinds Agris team (Ella Yeatman, William Ward and Hayden Jefferson), of Hinds School, the Crazy Cows (Ben Chambers, Sam Wilson and Ben Thompson), of Ashburton Intermediate School, and the Geraldine Musterers (Patrick Foley- Smith, Tim Sheed and Mitchell Sowden).

They will take on two teams from North Loburn School in North Canterbury, representing the Tasman region.

Spectators can also watch the finalists in the New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF) stock judging, fencing and clay target shooting competitions.

Also in the mix is the World Young Shepherds Challenge. Eight competitors from across New Zealand will be tested in their sheep industry skills and knowledge, with the top two winning a trip to France to represent New Zealand at the final in September.

In the evening, events head to the Wigram Air Force Museum for the ANZ sponsors and speeches dinner, where contestants are tested on their rhetoric talents.

Saturday is devoted to preparation for the live televised evening show, hosted by Mark Leishman at the CBS Arena in Christchurch.

By the end of the show, the scores will be tallied and one finalist will be named the 2014 contest champion.

Celebrations will continue into the evening at the black-tie dinner and ball at Addington Raceway.

''Young Farmers are known for putting on a good show. The events over these few days can be enjoyed by all and it's a great opportunity to celebrate rural New Zealand,'' Mr Goodwin said.

Other events include the annual NZYF Bus Trip, the TBfree New Zealand NZYF chairman's awards dinner and debate, the Agmardt Agri-business Breakfast and the NZYF annual general meeting.

 - The 2014 ANZ Young Farmer Contest grand final events are at Lincoln and Christchurch, July 3-5.