Jake Jarman, 24, has been crowned FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2021 for the contest's 53rd season.
The ANZ relationship associate, representing the Taranaki/Manawatu region, beat six other grand finalists for the prestigious title at Wigram Airforce Museum in Christchurch on Saturday night.
An Inglewood Young Farmer, Jarman was the fifth generation to work his family dairy farm, and also worked as a farm systems research graduate with Dairy Trust Taranaki.
After his win, Jarman said he was feeling "overwhelmed, excited and relieved that it's over!"
"I'm just also so incredibly thankful to so many people, far too many to name, but its a huge team of people to pull together this event and a big team behind me to get me here too".
Jarman said he was determined to give Grand Final his best shot after initially signing up just to participate in the contest.
"I was happy that I gave everything a go to the best of my ability and be competitive. I loved the practical day, the challenge of having to multitask under time pressure and be a bit strategic".
He said he never dreamed he'd win the title of FMG Young Farmer of the Year but was immensely proud of the achievement and hoped it would inspire others.
The victory was a culmination of days of gruelling practical and technical challenges set out to test the seven grand finalists' skills, knowledge and stamina.
Contestants participated in a technical day, a practical day, speeches, exams and the famous FMG Young Farmer of the Year buzzer quiz.
"My fellow competitors certainly didn't make it easy and honestly, I feel like it was anyone's game for the whole three days. It's been a privilege getting to know them and to now call them friends," Jarman said.
Jarman won a prize package worth over $75,000 which included a $15,000 cash prize from FMG, a Honda ATV, and a $30,000 package from New Holland.
Jarman also won the Agribusiness, Agri Sports and Agri Knowledge awards.
Meanwhile, Joseph Watts was named runner up FMG Young Farmer of the Year, for the second time.
The Tikokino Young Farmer missed out on the title in 2019 by a whisker to James Robertson, and qualified for the cancelled 2020 Grand Final.
It was hard to compare the 2019 contest with this one, he said.
"Every year it's such a different competition which is what makes it so hard, it's one reason I do feel as content as I do about this is knowing that across two very different competitions I still managed to be consistent in my performance"
Once a professional squash player, the PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative and East Coast representative also won the Agri Skills Award at Grand Final.
Whangarei Young Farmer Calvin Ball, 31, took out third place in the Grand Final and also won the Community Footprint award.
Ball said he had put his "absolute best" into the contest.
"I made so many sacrifices and I'm so proud of how I competed, but at the end of the day there was seven amazing competitors, so big ups to Joseph and Jake who pipped me but I'm very grateful and proud of what I've achieved during this experience".
This was the regional sales manager's second time competing for the prestigious title, having previously competed in 2016.
Kieran McCahon from Waikato/Bay of Plenty was named FMG People's Choice Winner.
Congratulating Jarman, New Zealand Young Farmers CEO Lynda Coppersmith said he was a fantastic representative for the contest and the agriculture, food and fibre sector.
"It is an absolute honour to have Jake named as the 2021 FMG Young Farmer of the Year," she said.
"As a first time competitor, it has been amazing to watch Jake shine and not just 'give it a go', but take out the title. He has proven to us again that this contest isn't about age and experience but determination and cross-sector skills."
Jarman was a fantastic leader for the ag sector, a role model and had already inspired other young people to believe in themselves and showcase what they're made of, Coppersmith said.
"It's incredibly exciting to see what lies ahead for Jake and as the 2021 FMG Young Farmer of the Year, we are grateful to be able to part of that."
53rd FMG Young Farmer of the Year "a true celebration".
The 53rd FMG Young Farmer of the Year kicked off with a bang on Thursday afternoon where Young Farmers from all around the country invaded the Garden City.
The New Zealand Army Band set the tone for the opening ceremony and the contest to come, leading a procession of contestants, supporters, sponsors and crew from Park of Remembrance to Riverside Markets.
"To have the whole procession of FMG Young Farmer of the Year, FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year and AgriKidsNZ Grand Finalists from around the country come together for the first time since Covid was a true celebration," Coppersmith said.
The FMG Young Farmer of the Year practical day on Friday got off to a very chilly start but contestants hit the ground running and were eager to get stuck into making a mini farm/farmlet.
Throughout the day they had seven modules and a number of tasks to complete including constructing gates, railing and mailboxes, pruning trees, plumbing in a water trough and installing a water monitoring system to name a few.
In between modules, the grand finalists battled it out in the head-to-head competition which saw contestants racing the clock to create a produce box as well as AgriSports which was all about strategy to gain the most points.
With a large number of tasks to get through including putting together a spring gate, hooking up a New Holland tractor to a drill, using a gas saw, chopping down a tree and more – all in 45 minutes.
Any safety infringements were penalised heavily with contestants having to race back to the start, jump rope for 30 seconds before navigating a series of obstacles to get back to where they were.
Speaking to a full crowd at the Christchurch City Town Hall on Friday evening, contestants gave a speech on their chosen topic out of three possible topics which ranged from sustainable agriculture, what they wished non-farmers knew, and what the most innovative thing in their industry was.
Saturday provided a more relaxed day, ahead of the famous FMG Young Farmer of the Year buzzer quiz, designed to test the grand final contestant's knowledge across a range of topics.
Listen to Jamie Mackay interview FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2021, Jake Jarman on The Country below:
The competition this year was fiercer than ever, after the 2020 season cancellation, Coppersmith said.
"To have such a wide range of grand finalists this year really shows the massive range of opportunities available in the agriculture, food and fibre sectors.
"Watching them battle it out in the classroom, on the stage and on the field and to have seen their individual strengths shine over the season has been a privilege.
"We are so proud of everyone who has contributed to and competed in the 53rd season of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest. Lastly, a big thank you goes out to all out sponsors and volunteers who make this contest possible every year."
FMG Young Farmer of the Year 2021 - full results:
FMG Young Farmer of the Year: Jake Jarman, Taranaki/Manawatu Region
Runner Up FMG Young Farmer of the Year: Joseph Watts, East Coast Region
Third Place FMG Young Farmer of the Year: Calvin Ball, Northern Region
Agri Business Challenge Winner: Jake Jarman, Taranaki/Manawatu Region
Agri Sports Challenge Winner: Jake Jarman, Taranaki/Manawatu Region
Agri Skills Challenge Winner: Joseph Watts, East Coast Region
Agri Knowledge Challenge Winner: Jake Jarman, Taranaki/Manawatu Region
Community Footprint Winner: Calvin Ball, Northern Region