Seven grand finalists, three days of competition, one title.

There is an air of calm in Invercargill as the top young farmers prepare to do battle in the 50th FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final.

First held in 1969 as a radio competition quiz, it has evolved into a three-day mental and physical challenge over its 50-year history.

It is the first time the contest has been held in Southland since 2010.

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Since 1969, 232 men and women have tested their mental and physical skills as part of the competition.

"The 50th anniversary celebrations have given this year's event an X factor," contest board chairman Dean Rabbidge said.

FMG Young Farmer of the Year finalists Andrew Wiffen, Daniel Bradbury, Logan Wallace, Cameron Black, Josh Cozens, Will Taylor and Patrick Crawshaw.
FMG Young Farmer of the Year finalists Andrew Wiffen, Daniel Bradbury, Logan Wallace, Cameron Black, Josh Cozens, Will Taylor and Patrick Crawshaw.

A team of dedicated volunteers has spent the past 10 days getting everything set up.

Among the finalists are two southern locals - Aorangi representative Cameron Black, formerly of Riverton, and Otago-Southland representative Logan Wallace, of Waipahi.

The pair will compete with Tasman's Andrew Wiffen, East Coast representative Patrick Crawshaw, Taranaki-Manawatu representative Will Taylor, Waikato-Bay of Plenty representative Josh Cozens and Northern representative Daniel Bradbury.

Both Mr Wiffen and Mr Wallace have competed in the grand final before, Mr Wiffen finishing third last year and Mr Wallace fifth in 2016.

The competitors get under way today with a technical day, which involves a business test, some financial analysis and an interview by three judges.

The 50 years of the competition would also be celebrated throughout the grand final. Challenges would be innovative but also incorporate some older aspects of the past five decades to throw contestants out of kilter, Mr Rabbidge said.

Grand final convener James Goodwin said preparations had gone well and challenges would be varied, as they were every year.

"It's going to be a real mixed bag."

All seven of the contestants were raring to go and were looking forward to the start of competition.

While it was all laughs yesterday, the group was preparing for a tough contest.

The 50th FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final starts today with the opening parade at Queens Park, followed by the practical day tomorrow at Donovan Park.

The national finals for the young farmer fencing, stock judging, clay target shooting and debating competitions are also being held tomorrow at Donovan Park.

The winner will be crowned tomorrow evening at the quiz and awards evening at Stadium Southland.