You’re never too young to be a farmer. You don’t have to work on, or even be near a farm to have a passion for the industry and to enjoy socialising with likeminded people.
New Zealand Young Farmers (NZYF) is a not for profit organisation aimed at New Zealanders between the ages of 18 to 31. Whether you’re after someone to just simply have a beer with or someone to push you to better yourself, you’ll find the door open and a seat for you at the table.
The NZYF National Office in Templeton, Christchurch is the hub for all of the activity that goes on across the nation. Seven field officers are spread across the country to facilitate clubs and ensure correct meeting etiquette is undertaken. NZYF events are hosted to the most professional standard and provide great opportunities for members to network and get together to reap the rewards of their memberships.
If you’re too young for a beer, then NZYF won’t stop you from becoming a member. TeenAg and AgriKids are branches of the NZYF organisation and are very similar to their YF big brother, although are generally school based.
No matter which age bracket of membership you belong to, you’re able to take part in the annual New Zealand Young Farmers Contest. AgriKids are aged 8-13 and are in teams of three. TeenAg are high school aged pairs and the FMG Young Farmer Contest is for a standard, of-age member. Considered ‘the ultimate farming challenge’ the Young Farmers Contest can involve anything from cooking a steak, to driving a tractor, to resolving an employment dispute or even building a fence.
The biggest event on the calendar of a Young Farmers member is the FMG Young Farmers Contest Grand Final. Hosted on alternate years between the North and South Islands, 2016 in Timaru promises to be no different. Calling Young Farmers far and wide to support their region and network with fellow members from all over the country.
NZYF has grown exponentially over the last decade. The staff numbers at NZYF have more than doubled to match the ballooning membership numbers. With so many people involved, the opportunities for networking are endless. Networking opportunities become an invaluable occasion, especially for new graduates in the industry, who are trying to get a foot in the door for potential career pathways. The Young Farmers members are the next generation of agriculture so enabling youth in agriculture to up skill themselves, make industry connections, all while having an enjoyable time, is seen as the key to success for many within the organisation.
A unique and exciting feature of NZYF is the chance for not only professional development, but personal development also. Natural leaders are often shifted into roles of responsibility within committees in an organic and prolific way. Chairman of the Taranaki/Manawatu region for Young Farmers Daniel Russell agrees, “if you show a bit of effort it doesn’t go unnoticed, no doubt about it, you get out what you put in to the club”.
Current Chairman of Massey University Young Farmers club Sam Tipping has experienced this growth first hand. “Young farmers has been the best possible addition to my time at university, the people I’ve met and opportunities I’ve had simply by being a member have been awesome. Now that I’m Chairman it’s great to be able to make sure others get those same chances I did. Not to mention the good times with a couple of cheeky beers!”
Whether it’s romance, ruminants, rugby or reproduction you’re after, you name it there’s something for everyone at New Zealand Young Farmers.