The FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2022 contest kicks off on October 9, 2021, for the first qualifying rounds of season 54.
This year, all New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF) Club members are being challenged to enter to support their region's volunteers, have a bit of fun, and show their fellow club members what they're made of.
Sixteen district contests will be held across the country over October and November to select eight of the best competitors in each of New Zealand Young Farmers' seven regions.
Seven regional finals will be held early next year and the winner from each will proceed to the Grand Final in July, where they'll battle it out for the 2022 FMG Young Farmer of the Year title in Whangarei.
District contests are hosted by an Young Farmer Club and involve half a day of practical challenges.
A first-time competitor, 2021 FMG Young Farmer of the Year Jake Jarman initially signed up to the contest to give it a go last year.
"I saw it as a case of 'I've got nothing to lose so I'll get stuck in' instead of being a spectator and watching all the other competitors have all the fun," he said.
The ANZ Relationship Associate won the Taranaki Manawatu Regional Final and represented the region at the Grand Final in Christchurch in July, eventually bringing the title home.
As a former dairy farmer and researcher for Dairy Trust Taranaki, he said he completely failed the wool module in his first taste of the Young Farmer of the Year district contest.
"I definitely walked away having learnt a thing or two, including how to put the lid of a beehive on properly on the top, not the bottom," he laughed.
Jarman's advice to all Young Farmer members was to grab a mate, sign up for the district contest and personally challenge each other to see who will do better.
"Districts are a lot more low-key so the competition would be within all of our member's skill sets and I'd encourage everyone to give it a go."
"You're not going to embarrass yourself and if you don't know about something you will get taught on the day so at least you walk away from the day having learnt something like I did."
New Zealand Young Farmers Board Chair Kent Weir said he would love to see more member participation in the district contests to support the clubs who volunteer their time and energy to convene the competition.
"This is the perfect time to enter yourself, your clubmates, your workmates and even your partners into the district contests to have a bit of fun and earn a cold one at the end of the day."
"It's a good opportunity to not just test yourself and benchmark yourself against your peers, but a chance to meet new people, connect with the community, potentially learn a thing or two and get off the farm and socialise with others in the industry."
Having been a Young Farmer member for nine years, Weir said he knew all too well the banter that happened in clubs and agreed with Jarman that sometimes, the best challenge comes from your mates.
"Get all of your mates involved, have a laugh and find out who actually brings what to the table - especially seeing as districts are all about practical challenges," he said.
• FMG Young Farmer of the Year is an iconic contest which began in 1969 and showcases the best of the country's agriculture, food and fibre sector.