A 27-year-old dairy farmer has been crowned the Waikato Bay of Plenty FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
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Chris Poole (left) has been crowned the Waikato Bay of Plenty FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Chris Poole of Te Kawa West took out the title on Saturday night in front of his wife and five-week-old son in Te Awamutu.

A dairy farmer and calf rearer on his family farm in Pirongia, Poole also works with Connecterra, a new artificial intelligence platform,

Agricultural consultant Braydon Schroder, 25, from Reporoa was named runner up.

Meanwhile, BNZ agribusiness partner and dry stock manager Stephen Brunskill, 26, from Hamilton City came in third.

Reflecting on the win, Poole says he’s excited for the next step and Grand Final preparation.

“That was my third go at a regional final so I was pretty keen to win it which was good to finally do it,” he says.

Poole’s wife, Emma Dangen, was an FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Finalist in 2019 and he says he’s hoping to pick her brains.

“Sheep is definitely a weakness for me being a dairy farmer,” he says.

“I’ll be doing a bit of study with Emma, she’ll have tips for me I’m sure having done it herself.”

Named as the fourth Grand Final qualifier, Poole will join Otago Southland’s Alex Field, Tasman’s Jonny Brown and Aorangi’s Tom Adkins in Whangarei in July.

“I did watch the head to heads and they looked like there was plenty of skill there so it will pretty tough competition,” he says.

The contest is based on four pillars – agri-skills, agri-business, agri-sports and agri-knowledge.

New Zealand Young Farmers chief executive Lynda Coppermith says the stakes for the 2022 competition were incredibly high as this marks the third contest season marred by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Entries for FMG Young Farmer of the Year were up 30% this year despite the uncertainty of COVID which is credit to all our amazing volunteers, members, sponsors and staff who put this contest together,” Coppersmith says.

“My gratitude for everyone’s efforts extends beyond words and I am really proud to see how everyone has worked together to deliver another season, to pivot and adapt to new challenges including the red light framework.”

“The calibre of competitors at each Regional Final is the highest I have seen it and is an extraordinary showcase of the skills and knowledge needed to be involved in the primary industries in this day and age.”

“Our competitors represent the full diversity of the primary industries and the array of opportunities available and goes to show that New Zealand Young Farmers’ members really are the best and brightest,” she says.

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