An Auckland-based business graduate at Fonterra has been named the Northern FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

James Robertson, 22, took out the title after winning the fiercely-contested Northern regional final in Warkworth last night.

The event saw eight finalists tackle a series of gruelling modules, including a fast-paced agri-knowledge quiz.

It was his first attempt at the title.

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"I can't believe it," Robertson told the crowd after being handed a large silver trophy by last year's winner Daniel Bradbury.

"The modules were challenging and it was an awesome event to have been a part of."

The prestigious contest has undergone a major overhaul since marking its 50th anniversary in Invercargill last year.

"We're now showcasing all aspects of what it means to be a modern food producer," said Te Radar.

Robertson's win netted him $12,000 worth of prizes, including an XR150 Honda farm bike.

The Auckland Young Farmers member took out the food production award and the prize for championing environmental best practice.

Listen to Te Radar talk to Jamie Mackay about the Northern region final and the changing face of New Zealand agriculture below:

Robertson has a Bachelor of AgriCommerce from Massey University and has been a business graduate at Fonterra since January 2018.

He works in the dairy giant's venture capital team.

The 22-year-old grew up on a 200 cow dairy farm on the outskirts of Hamilton.

Robertson's win has secured him a spot in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke's Bay in July.

"I sit at a desk all day in an office, so I'm going to have to try and get outside as much as I can to brush up on my practical skills," he said.

It won't be Robertson's first time competing in the national final of an event run by NZ Young Farmers.

In 2013 Robertson and a teammate from Hamilton Boys' High School won the TeenAg Grand Final.

Northland beef farmer Tim Dangen came second in the Northern regional final. Photo / Supplied
Northland beef farmer Tim Dangen came second in the Northern regional final. Photo / Supplied

Northland beef farmer Tim Dangen, 26, came second in last night's regional final and was named the most tech savvy contestant.

Cameron Massie, 26, who's an Auckland-based management consultant with KPMG, placed third.

Ponui Island sheep and beef farmer George Watson, 26, won the award for outstanding leadership.

Wellsford dairy farm manager Daniel Richards, 21, who's a member of Kaipara Young Famers, took out the innovation award.

The contest is supported by FMG, Ravensdown, Honda, WorkSafe, Zero Harm Farm, STIHL, Lincoln University, Massey University, Southfuels, Northfuels, Betacraft and New Holland.

The Young Farmer of the Year is an iconic contest which began in 1969 and showcases the country's agri-food sector.

Northern regional final results:

1st James Robertson

2nd Tim Dangen

3rd Cameron Massie

Innovation Award: Daniel Richards

People Award: George Watson

Food Award: James Robertson

Environment Award: James Robertson

Technology Award: Tim Dangen