Four New Zealanders and two Australians have been selected as finalists to compete for Australasia's agricultural badge of honour, the Zanda McDonald Award.

The trans-Tasman award, now in its sixth year, recognises talented and passionate young professionals working in agriculture.

The six finalists for the 2020 award were selected for their passion for the industry, strong leadership skills, and the contributions they're making in the primary sector.

Scott Harpham. Photo / Supplied
Scott Harpham. Photo / Supplied

The New Zealanders are:

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• Scott Harpham, 27, Senior Business Manager for Pāmu Farms' Southland operation with over 200,000 stock units.

• Jack Raharuhi, 27, Buller Dairy Group Operations Manager for Pāmu Farms in Westport and winner of the 2016 Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer of the Year.

• James Robertson, 22, Sales Graduate for Fonterra and 2019 FMG NZ Young Farmer of the Year recipient.

• Nigel Woodhead, 31, sheep and beef farmer from Milton, and board member of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Award.

Jack Raharuhi. Photo / Supplied
Jack Raharuhi. Photo / Supplied

Federated Farmers president Katie Milne was impressed with the calibre of the Kiwi finalists.

"It's fantastic to see such an impressive line up of Kiwi talent come out of our primary sector and take on the Aussies for top honours".

"We are backing them all the way."

James Robertson. Photo / Supplied
James Robertson. Photo / Supplied

The Australian candidates are Michael Graham, 33, Central South West NSW General Manager for Paraway Pastoral Company and member of Paraway's leadership team and Dr Elle Moyle, 29, District Veterinarian for Agriculture Victoria and owner/operator of a sheep and beef farm based in Hamilton Victoria.

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The six will be interviewed in Wellington next month, and reduced down to three finalists.

Richard Rains, Award Chairman and member of the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) – the Australasian networking group behind the award – said the judges were rapt with the variety and calibre of applicants for this years' award, from across the broader agricultural spectrum.

Nigel Woodhead. Photo / Supplied
Nigel Woodhead. Photo / Supplied

"This is always such an exciting process for myself and my fellow judges, and yet again we've been blown away by the talent and capabilities of those that have applied".

The winner of the award will pick up an impressive personal development package, including mentoring with industry leaders, $2000 cash, and travel that includes chartered flights on a private jet to reach remote and diverse farming operations around Australasia.

The three finalists will be announced in November, and will be invited to attend the PPP Conference in Christchurch in March 2020. The winner will be announced at the event.