The FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest is set to see several changes to its structure in a major overhaul.

The TeenAg competition will be rebranded as the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year, more technology will be used in challenges and there will be a bigger emphasis on food.

The changes will affect all competitors, including those from the nearby Marton Young Farmers Club.

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NZ Young Farmers contest board chairwoman Rebecca Brown said the changes wouldn't happen overnight, but would give the board a clear direction.


"There will still be a strong practical side to the contest, but our modules and challenges need to utilise technology more.

"In future, contestants might have to use GPS technology to mark out and erect a fence around riparian planting."

Awards for the highest-scoring competitor in five categories are also being scrapped and replaced with ones that assess knowledge across innovation, food, people, environment and technology.

The contest just celebrated its 50th anniversary and is the longest-running agricultural contest in New Zealand.

NZ Young Farmers contest board member Cole Groves said the contest wouldn't be relevant in another 50 years if changes weren't implemented now.

"We want to expand the contestants' knowledge beyond just fencing and identifying different types of fertiliser," Groves said.

"We're hoping the changes encourage more women to give the contest a go."

The contest will also be used to better tell New Zealand's paddock to plate food story.


"I think that can often get forgotten. There is a huge amount of public pressure on the primary industries at the moment," Groves said.

"We're all food producers and showcasing what we do is vital."

The changes will start rolling out at regional finals across the country early next year and TeenAg competitors will still compete in teams of two.

The 2019 FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final will be held in Hawke's Bay in July.