STIHL's involvement in the Young Farmer of the Year contest has always been a source of pride. With several years for STIHL now under the belt, all eyes were on Hawkes' Bay to find out who would be victorious in this extremely difficult challenge to win the honour of being not only FMG Young Farmer of the Year in 2019, but taking home the extensive STIHL prize packages that supports our sponsorship of this event. 50 times a new Young Farmer has donned the Cloak of Knowledge who was going to be the 51st?
After winning successive district and regional finals, seven hopefuls representing their regions took on three days of gruelling academic and physical challenges that would stretch every ounce of capability and ability from the final seven.
STIHL was on site in Hastings on Friday for the main practical day providing supporters, officials and onlookers a chance to talk STIHL product, try the different chain sharpening systems or simply get out of the weather under the STIHL marquee! Once completed, all comers headed to Napier for the FMG Junior Young Farmer of the Year, final public quiz and awards ceremony where STIHL was on hand to do its part.
Saturday dawned cold but clear for the final technical challenges prior to the grand final at the Home of the Magpies; McLean Park. A black tie evening event this was the last chance for contestants to gain points during the televised quiz section hosted by none other than Te Radar. It may have been nerve-wracking for the contestants but for local STIHL retailers this proved to be a great night out to participate in STIHL's support of this prestigious event. Amongst us was Alan Buckman and business partner Mike–Rittson Thomas representing their STIHL SHOP stores but who both in their own right are top level farmers and in Alan's case a bit of former Young Farmer of the Year class, having once upon a time made the Wellington Regional final on behalf of the Apiti Young Farmer's club.
STIHL was honoured to present Waikato vet Emma Dangen with her certificate and prize package for achieving third place overall while Joseph Watts from Manawatu gained second after a very strong finish to a triumphant James Robertson from Northern who is now the 2019 FMG Young Farmer of the Year.
James Robertson was thilled with winning the contest.
"A huge thank you to yourself and the team at STIHL. It was great to see your support as a sponsor again this year. We've always used STIHL gear on the farm, and getting to fire up a new saw at the regional and grand final is making me excited about getting a new Chainsaw. It's been great to see your staff getting along and supporting or running modules across the country from skills days through to district and regional finals. Without your support events like the Young Farmer of the Year would never be possible" says James.