Former Gladstone man Tony Dowman is a grand finalist in the 2016 FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition, after taking first place at the East Coast Regional Final in Dannevirke on the weekend.
Mr Dowman went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from FMG, Massey University, Ravensdown, Meridian Energy, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, STIHL and Vodafone.
He also won the Massey University Agri-growth Challenge, Silver Fern Farms Agri-sports Challenge and the Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenge.
The last time Mr Dowman competed in the contest was in 2012.
Mr Dowman was the farm business manager for Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre for seven years before moving to a management position for Landcorp, in Manawatu, in December.
"Same thing, but a hell of a lot more cows," he said.
Mr Dowman has been at the grand final before, in 2012, and contestants are only allowed to be in the grand final twice in their lives.
They also have to be 30 or under, which Mr Dowman just qualifies for.
Asked if he was still on the ball after a three-year gap, he said, "well, I must have had what it takes".
The eight contestants were put through their paces in a variety of challenging modules touching on all aspects of farming from practical hands-on tasks to theory and business components.
The contestants do not know the details of the tasks beforehand.
Mr Dowman said whatever the organising committee "throws at us, the East Coast final convenes very, very well."
He will head off to the grand final in Timaru with eight other finalists on July 7 to 9. This year's Grand Final prize pack is $162,200.
"I miss Wairarapa, that's for sure, but this [Manawatu] was a new opportunity.
"At least I'm still representing East Coast, that's the main thing."
Second and third places went to Hawke's Bay.
The AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge was won by Featherston's Nick Bertram.
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