Turakina sheep and beef farmer Alex Field is the Taranaki/Manawatū FMG Young Farmer of the Year, beating six other finalists in the competition in Whanganui.
Field, 25, won the regional title after a day of practical events at Cooks Gardens on Saturday. The seven finalists had a range of challenges, including flying a drone, using GPS technology to help set up a temporary electric fence and making butter. The practical tests were followed by a fast-paced agri-knowledge quiz during the awards event at the Whanganui War Memorial Centre on Saturday night.
"I'm speechless," Field said, after being announced the winner.
"I think it's going to take a few days for the win to sink in. I was pretty anxious during the awards ceremony because I didn't know which way the result would go.
"There was a refreshing mix of modules. This was my first time using a drone."
Field won $12,000 worth of prizes, including a XR150 Honda farm bike, and the chance to compete in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final in Hawke's Bay in July.
"It's been a long-held dream of mine to compete in the grand final. I'm excited about being a part of this year's event."
The Marton Young Farmers vice-chairman, who is a stock manager on the Redmayne family's 1000 hectare property at Turakina, was named the most tech-savvy contestant and won the award for outstanding leadership.
Massey University agricultural science student Graham Johnson, 21, was second overall, winning awards for championing environmental best practice, showcasing innovation and the food prize.
Massey University student and two-time world archery champion Benjamin Orchard, 20, was third.
Feilding High School students Anna Simpson and Phoebe Smailes, both 16, were named the Taranaki/Manawatū FMG Junior Young Farmers of the Year. They, along with second placed Olivia Buick and Nelson Greenwood, also of Feilding High School, will compete in the national final.
Sam Cranstone, 12, Falcon Proffit, 11, and Thomas Revell, 11, of Huntley School in Marton, won the AgriKidsNZ competition. Liam Hutchinson, Pippa Waite and Darren Pease, a combined team from Toko School and Marco School in Taranaki, placed second, with Hugh Thomas, Abbey Grant and Grier Cunliffe, of South Makirikiri School in Marton, third.
All three teams have qualified for the AgriKidsNZ Grand Final in Hawke's Bay.