Budding young farmers prepare to clash in annual agricultural competition.
Aspiring farmers from around the Lower North Island are preparing to showcase their skills at the inaugural Allflex Clash of the Colleges in The Square in Palmerston North on the eve Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games.
Emma Ractliffe, Vice Chair of Massey University Young Farmers Club and event co-organiser says the competition will see more than 140 teens from high schools around the Lower North Island compete.
“Teams of four will compete at 22 modules – everything from milking a cow and plant washdown, to wool classing and body condition scoring, as well as paper-based modules that cover seeds, weeds and fertilisers.”
“The combination means that we see a good mix of genders and abilities coming through, because it’s not just based on your physical strength. For me, seeing all of our budding farmers find the confidence to compete and succeed is really rewarding.”
Allflex Asia-Pacific and China Chief Executive, Shane McManaway, says he is delighted to be sponsoring the Allflex Clash of the Colleges.
“The Agri-sector is full of promise for young people – it is a rewarding career option! The Allflex Clash of the Colleges is all about bringing together young people from across the region to celebrate the sector.”
Having fun and giving it a go is key for co-organiser and FAHS Feilding High School Ag Science teacher Kain Nixon.
“Competing across such a broad range of activities makes it interesting, which is essential for attracting and retaining young talent into the farming community.
“Many of our kids with farming backgrounds know that it can be a really isolating industry, and this shows them how important it is to build a community around them.”
Home to the biggest teen-ag club in New Zealand, FAHS Feilding High School will have a strong contingent at this year’s clash.
“We have a huge number of kids from farming communities who choose to come to Feilding to broaden their agricultural base,” says Mr. Nixon. “We know as our primary industries grow, so will the number of young people who want to start building their careers at a young age.
“We’re hoping to see competitors from schools all over the Lower North Island, from Taihape, to Danniverke and Wairarapa.”