Lockdown puts young farmer’s hopes on hold

First place . . . Chairman Hamish Holland takes the top spot for Timaru's Young Farmer of the...
First place . . . Chairman Hamish Holland takes the top spot for Timaru's Young Farmer of the Year competition
Timaru Young Farmers Club chairman Hamish Holland was hoping for victory in the Aorangi regional final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

But with the cancellation of this year’s event due to the Covid-19 lockdown, he can now focus on working as an essential service.

‘‘I am lucky enough to be classed as an essential service as a field rep for Turnbull Grain and Seed. Heading out to farms, looking at the paddocks alone and being able to use my phone on the go, I can still do the job to 100% capacity,’’ he said.

It was a ‘‘no-brainer’’ for the regional finals to be called off but he felt privileged to be able to return next year.

“Obviously you are a little bit gutted. The focus now is to put my head down and hope I retain enough information for next year and have my crack then,’’ he said.

The Young Farmers Club has remained a tight group and its members shared with each other how their work is being affected by the lockdown.

‘‘I think for most of the members on farms, it is business as usual, besides a bit of social distancing. Some are trying to assist others where they can but lockdown is pretty serious and we have done everything to keep safe.’’

Four North Island regional finals were held before the Covid-19 outbreak. However, Aorangi, Tasman and Otago/Southland had to be postponed.

NZYF CEO Lynda Coppersmith said it was the first time in the contest’s 52-year history that the grand final and remaining contest season has been cancelled.

“Given this is an unprecedented situation, the board has agreed to show flexibility with a one year age extension and also revoke the number of grand final and regional final qualifications for the 28 competitors affected. This flexibility will apply to 2020 grand finalists, and those who have qualified for the cancelled regional finals.”

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