A combination of heavy rain and hundreds of gumboots turned the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds into a muddy mess, but for the young people competing at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year it was just another day on the farm.

Hundreds of people from the rural community across New Zealand came to Hawke's Bay for the competition, which includes the AgriKidsNZ for primary school age kids, FMG Junior Young Farmer for high schoolers and the prestigious FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Today, the AgriKids and Junior Young Farmers competed in a series of practical and theoretical tasks.

For the older kids this involved driving a tractor, towing a trailer, setting up an irrigation system and proving knowledge of water quality issues, farm safety and soil quality.

FMG Young Farmers CEO Lynda Coppersmith said despite the weather, which forced the cancellation of the opening ceremony, the day had gone well.


She said it was a particularly exciting year because for the first time two women were competing in the FMG Young Farmer of the year.

"It's a whole different sort of playing field this year."

She said the competition also had a different strategy this year, moving away from focusing just on the practical aspects of farming to looking at technology, innovation and the environment.

Emma Dangen having a go on a simulator at the showgrounds. Photo / Paul Taylor
Emma Dangen having a go on a simulator at the showgrounds. Photo / Paul Taylor

"It's working really, really well."

She said the local team of volunteers had done a great job running the event.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway pulled on a pair of gumboots at the event.

He said he was pleased to have had so many conversations with people about the importance of mental welling being, as well as physical safety at work in the agricultural and horticultural industries.

"What we really want to see is for young farmers to become old farmers by being safe and well in their workplace."


"There has been a lot of conversations about wellbeing; just about everywhere I have gone today people have been talking about wellbeing."

"The mindset is shifting from just focusing on acute physical industries on farms and actually talking more holistically about people's wellbeing."

He said events like Young Farmers provided an excellent space to have conversations around applying health and safety.

"We know that we need to improve health and safety in agriculture, we know everybody is committed to doing that, what we need to do is keep working together on the things that really matter and make a difference."

In total, 63 kids competed in the AgriKids competition in teams of three, 28 teenagers competed in FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year in teams of two, and there are seven competitors in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

AgriKids and Junior Young Farmer finished today. Tomorrow is reserved for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year technical competition and final quiz.