Within the large prize pool Logan Wallace won recently as the 50th FMG Young Farmer of the Year he found the solution to a cause very dear to his heart.

''There is still a bit of planning to do but next year I will be travelling to Sri Lanka using part of the Massey travel fund.

''I'm going with a group to support a sustainable farm my church has helped develop there that supports a nearby children's home.''

Parishioners from the Calvin Community Church in Gore have helped locals in Madampe, a small city on the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka, to purchase a 5ha coconut plantation and convert it into a sustainable farming operation.


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Between the coconut palms they grow bananas, ginger, watermelons and papaya.

They have also created a 1000-chicken run, a small piggery and recently expanded an irrigation pond into a fish farm.

Proceeds from the sale of fresh produce to local business and hotels goes towards helping fund a nearby children's home, a teenage rescue centre and vocational training programmes helping victims of the recent war.

Liaison for the farming project, Jo Grimm, said the group from Gore would be going to help out any way they could with the farm, to pass on ideas and advice and to also help set up a dairy project.

''They will all be doing what they can to help encourage the farmers to be more productive,'' Mrs Grimm said.

Mr Wallace sees it as an excellent opportunity to help others learn more about farming.

Following his win in early July, he has been a man in demand.


''For the first few weeks after the finals I didn't get much sleep, as each day I fielded calls from all over the place,

''Everyone wanted to talk to me or take my photo,

''So many cool things have came up and I've even been asked to speak at my old school - Gore High.''

But within a day of his win in Invercargill, the 28-year-old South Otago farmer was back working on the 290ha sheep farm he leases off his family's trust at Wairuna, north of Gore.

There he looks after 2300 Romney Texal sheep.

He was hoping for a high percentage of lambs this season from 700 hoggets and said the weather has been good so far.

Lambing has come early for the farm and his current work load could only be described as strenuous considering all the extra commitments he has taken on board.

''I've been speaking to a number of schools and groups of farmers.

''I've also been meeting with industry leaders and politicians to talk about good farming practices,'' Mr Wallace said.

-By John Cosgrove

Southern Rural Life