First 'Young Farmer of the Year' chosen

22 August 1969

Gary Frazer (Farmers Weekly)

Held at the South Pacific Hotel in Auckland, the competition was open to all members of the Young Farmers’ Club. The inaugural winner was Gary Frazer from Swannanoa, near Christchurch. The contest has become an established part of the farming calendar.

The Young Farmer of the Year competition today attracts up to 300 entrants each year. They compete at district and regional level to win the right to represent one of seven regions in the grand final. The 2016 finalists competed for more than $300,000 worth of prizes with the winner, Athol New from Aorangi, Mid Canterbury, scooping a prize package worth $80,000.

By 2017 only four women had made it to the grand final: Denise Brown in 1981, Louise Collingwood in 2003 and 2004, Katherine Tucker in 2012, and Lisa Kendall in 2017.

The grand final involves three days of physical and intellectual challenges designed to test practical, business-management, problem-solving and social skills. Highlights of the final have been televised since 1981.