A rural banker who breeds Hereford cattle has joined the race to be the next FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
Sam Tipping, 25 - right, has clinched a spot in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Final after winning a qualifying event in Hamilton.
"I entered the district contest to benchmark myself. To come out on top was a bit of a surprise," he said.
Sam is a Hamilton-based agribusiness partner with BNZ, a position he's held since September last year.
In his spare time he runs Kamaro Herefords, a thriving beef stud which he established in Waitomo in late 2013.
"I've got about 30 breeding cows. Last year I started an artificial insemination programme to help fast-track the herd's genetic gain," he said.
The Hamilton City Young Farmers member is a former fencing contractor whose work took him to Fiji.
"I spent a month erecting fences on a research station. The humidity was a killer," he laughed.
Sam took out a junior sheep judging title at Hawke's Bay premier agricultural show last month, winning a trip to Perth.
"It's awesome. I'm a cattle breeder who'll be representing New Zealand in sheep judging," he said.
Before then, Sam will compete in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year in Matamata on March 23 next year.
The second-to-last Waikato/Bay of Plenty qualifying event was held in Piarere on Saturday and the last is this Saturday at Pokuru.