South Otago sheep farmer Logan Wallace has been named the 50th FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
The 28-year-old took out the coveted title in front of a crowd of 1,000 people in Invercargill tonight.
Elated locals cheered as their hometown boy made his way through a standing ovation and onto the stage.
It’s Logan’s second attempt at the title and means the sought-after winner’s trophy will be staying in Otago/Southland region.
The Waipahi sheep farmer convincingly beat six other finalists after three days of gruelling competition.
The event saw the men tackle fast-paced practical modules, technical challenges and an agri-knowledge quiz.
“We are immensely proud of Logan. He’s put his all into the contest,” said Logan’s father Ross Wallace.
“It’s something he’s wanted to do since he was a boy.”
Logan Wallace runs 2,300 ewes on a 290-hectare farm, which he leases from his parents.
The intensive sheep breeding and finishing property also carries 700 hoggets and 400 trading sheep.
The Clinton Young Farmers member, who has mild dyslexia, is heavily involved in his local community.
He leads a youth group and is a Land Search and Rescue member.
“I used some of those search and rescue planning skills this week to ensure I didn’t waste any time,” he said.
The winner’s prize package includes a New Holland tractor, a Honda quad bike, cash, scholarships, equipment and clothing.
The overall grand final prize pool was valued at more than $155,000.
“Logan Wallace is an extremely deserving winner,” said Andrea Brunner from FMG.
“He has demonstrated the breadth of knowledge, skill and capability required to be crowned the FMG Young Farmer of the Year.”
“The calibre of the finalists this year is testament to the depth of talent we have in our rural sector,” she said.
Allan Anderson won the prestigious title in 1970 and is the longest surviving Young Farmer of the Year Grand Champion.
“This win will be life changing. Logan should bask in the warmth of the win and make the most of the opportunities it will present,” said Allan.
The victory is made even more special because the contest, which began as a radio quiz in 1969, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“It’s pretty special that the grand finalist in the region hosting the 50th year managed to win the contest,” said contest chairman Dean Rabbidge.
“I’m proud of the entire Otago/Southland region for pulling together to make this grand final week such a success.”
Second place went to Cameron Black, who’s a Christchurch-based rural consultant for New Zealand Agri Brokers.
Bay of Plenty contract milker Josh Cozens took out third place and the agri-knowledge challenge.
An edited version of the 50th grand final will be available on digital streaming service ThreeNow from July 14th.
AGMARDT Agri-business challenge: Patrick Crawshaw
Massey University Agri-growth challenge: Logan Wallace
Ravensdown Agri-skills challenge: Logan Wallace
Agri-sports challenge (supported by Worksafe): Logan Wallace
Meridian Energy Agri-knowledge quiz and speech challenge: Josh Cozens
FMG People’s Choice Award: Patrick Crawshaw
We went down to Invercargill on Thursday for the 50th anniversary dinner.
My farmer was the 2nd best Young Farmer of the Year in the 10th contest.
Like two others who came second he went on to become National President.
In those days there were around 7000 members.
The ag-sag of the 80s started a decline in membership until it had only around 1000 members. That has been turned round in the last few years and Young Farmers numbers are continuing to grow.
The FMG Young Farmer contest plays an important role in the organisation and the enthusiasm shown by entrants in the AgriKids and TeenAg competitions augur well for its future.
So too does the high standard of the reunion dinner and the contest.
That’s good, not just for the individual members and Young Farmers but for farming and rural leadership too.