“It’s an absolute honour and a privilege”, said Mr Van de Molen following the evening show at TVNZ Studios in Auckland.
The ANZ agri-manager and farm owner from Hamilton was runner up in the 2011 Grand Final. “I’m just delighted with the outcome, it is been a long road to get here”, said Mr Van de Molen.
Mr Van de Molen was not the only winner on stage tonight.
The youngest competitor, Matthew Bell of Aorangi, took out the Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge and is the proud owner of $14,000 worth of Ravensdown and C-Dax products and services. Taranaki/Manawatu’s Cam Brown triumphed in the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge and won a $15,000 AGMARDT Scholarship towards a career development programme. Reuben Carter from Tasman dominated the Silver Fern Farms Agri-sport Challenge winning a Silver Fern Farms and FarmIQ farmer technology package worth $5,000. And, the Champion, Mr Van de Molen, also took out the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge and received $9,500 towards an industry related conference package. . . .
It’s a sign of the times that the contest doesn’t get the publicity in general media that it used to.
But the contest, and the title, are still highly regarded in rural circles where the winner will get the respect he’s earned.