District contests will begin in Northland next month to begin selecting the Northern region representative for the 2018 FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest, now entering its 50th season.

The Lower North district final will take place at 137 Shepherd Rd, Te Hana, on November 18. Entry details and other information is available from event convener Colin Beazley on 021 042 4002.

The Upper North district final will be held on the Colebrook farm on the corner of Pipiwai Rd and Three Mile Bush Rd, Kamo, on November 25. Event convener Clement Lafon can be contacted on 022 016 5097.

"Skills days will have pairs competing side by side, as a way of encouraging more members to have a go."

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Regional finals beginning in February next year will pick the competitors for the 50th Anniversary Grand Final at Invercargill in July, when the top seven contestants around the country will compete against each other.

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Contest chairman and former Grand Finalist Dean Rabbidge said the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest was in good heart and remained an iconic event in New Zealand agriculture.

He said the contest, which started as a national radio quiz in 1969, had undergone many changes but the challenge remained the same.

In a new innovation this year, district contest and skills days will have pairs competing side by side, as a way of encouraging more members to have a go.

Those competing in pairs will not be eligible to compete in regional finals but instead will be able to split practical modules and encourage each other.

The Grand Final at Invercargill will feature special celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary, including an exhibition of memorabilia and a function to celebrate past winners and Grand Finalists.

Meanwhile, AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg competitions will be held around New Zealand to coincide with Young Farmer of the Year regional finals, but due to the competitions' popularity organisers are urging teams to get their entries in now.

Forty-eight AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg teams will compete in seven regional finals across New Zealand for each competition next year.

The Northern regional final will be held at Kerikeri on March 17. The top three teams in each regional final will go through to the grand final at Invercargill in July for each competition.

NZ Young Farmers competitions co-ordinator David Highsted said since AgriKidsNZ began in 2005 and TeenAg began in 2009 the competitions had gone from strength to strength. There had been 564 school children competing in AgriKidsNZ and 422 students in TeenAg this year.

Entries are now open online at: agrikidsnz.co.nz and teenag.co.nz