On one side of Whanganui Racecourse, students are frantically stepping standards into the ground and erecting a temporary fence - complete with a battery unit to make it hot.

Surrounding them, others are connecting a mobile trough, working with chainsaws or even partaking in a good old-fashioned gumboot toss.

It is the first ever TeenAg skills day in Whanganui and Whanganui High School students were keen to make the most of the opportunity, with over 20 signing up to take part.

Territory manager for Taranaki and Whanganui Megan Bates says NZ Young Farmers have been focusing on Whanganui for the last 12 months.

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Tyler Pomeroy and Rawiri Lindsay, both 15, attach rubber-ware to cups used for milking cows. Photo / Stuart Munro
Tyler Pomeroy and Rawiri Lindsay, both 15, attach rubber-ware to cups used for milking cows. Photo / Stuart Munro

"These events are not just for practical people, they're for those that are high achieving as well and that's the big message that we're struggling to get across in Whanganui.

"We're working more closely with the technology aspect heading forward and that will hopefully attract those students that might not be so practical."

Bates has been visiting school's all over the city and when she went to Whanganui High School she found a keen teacher in Nick Staples who helped to organise the event.

TeenAg is being scrapped and replaced with the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year and the Taranaki/Manawatū regional final will be held in Whanganui next April.

"That's a huge day, there will be 40 or 50 teams and those spaces sell out really quickly," Bates said.

"We want to promote it in Whanganui so that they can get some teams in there first."

Schools need to become a TeenAg club to participate and can easily do so by visiting the TeenAg website.

Participants will travel to Whanganui from schools between Wellington and New Plymouth for the event.

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Bates said that there would be 50,000 jobs coming up in the agriculture industry in the next five years.

"The primary industries are really important and it would be good for schools to encourage students to participate in these initiatives.

"We need students coming into our industry in all aspects, whether it's practical or working with machinery, technology and those kinds of things."

Bates has been in her role for four years and in that time, the number of TeenAg clubs has risen from a dire two, to a whopping 18.

She encouraged as many people to get involved with the junior farmer competition as possible.

"There has been some good learning here today, we have the team that came second in our Manawatū competition here and they're like little sponges which is fantastic.

"We want to see more of those students that are interested and passionate. Come along with a friend, have a go, you'll surprise yourself and have a lot of fun."