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The Amuri Basin Young Farmers’ Club member is one of eight finalists in the 2021 FMG Young Farmer of the Year Tasman region final being held at the Malvern A&P Show at Sheffield on March 27.
After qualifying for last year’s regional final, which was cancelled due to Covid-19, Mr Gardiner and Oxford-born finalist Jeremy Kilgour were looking forward to at last competing in their first final.
Mr Gardiner grew up on a sheep and beef farm on the Waipara coast, before completing a double diploma in agriculture and farm management at Lincoln University.
The stock manager from Kaiora Downs, near Culverden, manages 10,000 stock units on a 1400ha property.
One day he plans to head home and help his sister run the family farms and continue their parent’s legacy.
In the regional final, Mr Gardiner said his goal was "to gain as much experience and knowledge as possible".
After growing up on the family pig farm at Oxford, Mr Kilgour ventured overseas, studying a business course at Cayuga Community College, which is part of the State University of New York, and later worked as a camp counsellor and activity instructor in New Hampshire, in the United States.
With experience in on-farm systems in dairy, sheep, beef and deer under his belt, he has also travelled to China on a summer scholarship to learn at first hand about international agribusiness and commerce.
Now in his third year studying for an agricultural science degree at Lincoln University, he also works as an agricultural contractor and helps out on the family farm.
This year’s Tasman regional final convener, Cheyenne Wilson, has a busy schedule over the next few months, between dairy farming, managing a young stock farm and studying for a commerce degree at Lincoln University.
When she is not working and studying, Ms Wilson is a keen hunter and enjoys spending time in the back country, as well as working with young people to showcase all the opportunities in the rural sector.
"Encouraging future leaders in the industry to develop their skill set this season is a goal of mine," she said.
"I want to create an environment that will allow members in the region to grow and understand more about the contest while creating strong connections and networks.
"I hope to help connect members within the region with industry leaders, potential employers and mentors while building everlasting friendships."