Two Central Hawke's Bay workmates are about to go head-to-head in the East Coast Regional Final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Hugh Abbiss and Patrick Crawshaw are both employed by Foley Farming Enterprises, which is a 1200ha intensive sheep and beef breeding and finishing property.

"We run 2500 breeding ewes, finish 32,000 lambs and have up to 1500 trade cattle, plus we grow a small amount of cash crop," said Hugh, who is the operations manager.
Patrick joined the agricultural business as a block manager in July 2017.

"I'm only 24 years old and Hugh's 25, so he's got a full year's more experience than me," Patrick said.


The pair both graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) majoring in farm management.

Patrick described entering the prestigious contest as a valuable learning experience, helping broaden his skill set.

"I enjoy a challenge and it gives you exposure to different industries," he said.

Patrick got a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in 2017, spending time as runner-up Hamish Best's official bag carrier.

"It was an interesting insight into how gruelling the competition is at that level," said the 24 year old.

Hamish, who's now an elected member on the NZ Young Farmers board, is housemates with Hugh.

"He's my main motivator to get involved and keep going. I get a lot of support and encouragement from him," said Hugh.

Hugh and Patrick first clashed at a regional final in early 2017, several months before they became work colleagues.

"We're both competitive, but I reckon we'll probably put in a bit of practice together at some stage," said Hugh.

Patrick plays hockey competitively and Hugh's completed 10 full marathons in New Zealand. The pair will go up against six other contestants — Ben Thomas, Brandon Giddens, Hamish Duff, Richard Falloon, Robbie Hill and Rob Barry.

The regional final is being held at the Masterton A&P Showgrounds on February 17. The evening show, hosted by Te Radar, is at the Wairarapa College Hall.

It's the 50th anniversary of the iconic agricultural competition which was first held in 1969.