Young Farmer district final

Young Farmers will have a rare old time on Saturday.

The North Otago district final of the Young Farmer of the Year contest is being held at Totara Estate during the Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations.

Convener Andrew Cochrane said the Young Farmers organisation liked to attach its competitions to an existing event, to capitalise on the crowds and showcase the entrants' skills to a wide audience.

With the district final due to be held before Christmas, the Victorian Heritage Celebrations were an obvious choice, Mr Cochrane said.

Totara Estate's historic farming connections made it ''ideal'', he said. It is now owned by the Historic Places Trust and open to the public as the place where the frozen meat export trade was pioneered in the 1880s.

Traditional rural trades are on display at the estate and much of the original machinery and amenities have been preserved.

Some of the modules the young farmers would have to complete would be related to the site's early days, Mr Cochrane said. However, he could not divulge details, as the entrants had to expect the unexpected on the day.

There had been thoughts of dressing the competitors in period clothing, but that could prove cumbersome, he said. They would be kitted out in modern gear bearing the sponsors' logos.

Actions starts from late morning on Saturday. The top three entrants will go on to the Aorangi regional final, then that winner will compete at the national final in Christchurch in July next year.

Mr Cochrane hopes the contest will help draw new people to the Young Farmers movement.

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