The East Coast's regional finalists have been chosen for season 54 of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
Hugh Banks, Aiden Smith, stock manager William Hobson, Ben Gordon, dairy farmer and Manawatū's 2021 Dairy Trainee of the Year Josh Wilkinson, Mark Wallace, sheep crutcher and calf rearer Samantha Thomson and Pukemiro Station cadet Fergus Casey are the top eight competitors in the East Coast region.
They will go head-to-head at the FMG Young Farmer of the Year East Coast regional final on Saturday 26th March.
Regional final co-convener and seasoned competitor Joseph Watts said he was looking forward to being on the other side of the fence as an organiser, after competing for the last six years.
Watts was named East Coast Young Farmer of the Year for three years in a row (2019, 2020 and 2021) and came runner up in the grand final twice.
"Over that time, I have got a huge amount out of it because of the amazing work that all of the conveners have done in organising those events," he said.
"I wanted to do my small bit to help provide that same opportunity for the next group of competitors to learn some new skills and test the ones they already have."
His mind is set on how to best the competitors' skills and abilities, rather than trying to work out how to get around the tests himself.
"We want to create an event that is engaging for the audience and the competitors and ensures that we have the best possible competitor representing the East Coast at the Grand Final who has the ability to bring the title home."
New Zealand Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppersmith said the competition improved every year, even with Covid-19 challenges.
"We've already exceeded last year's entries across the country, despite the fact that entries for a number of district contests are still open."
Coppersmith said season 54 will test competitors to see "who's up for it'".
"All of our volunteers and conveners right across the country have created some incredible challenges so far, with regional final season expected to take that to another level."
Coppersmith said all events would strictly follow the Government's event guidelines at the time.
FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2022 East Coast regional final results
East Coast North
1st - Hugh Banks
2nd - Aiden Smith
3rd - William Hobson
4th - Ben Gordon
East Coast South
1st - Josh Wilkinson
2nd - Mark Wallace
3rd - Samantha Thomson
4th - Fergus Casey