It's a dream come true': Auckland business graduate named FMG Young Farmer of the Year

James Robertson took out the coveted title in front of a crowd of almost 700 people in Hawke’s Bay.
James Robertson took out the coveted title in front of a crowd of almost 700 people in Hawke’s Bay. Photo credit: Supplied

An Auckland-based business graduate has been named the 51st FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

James Robertson took out the coveted title in front of a crowd of almost 700 people in Hawke's Bay on Saturday night.

There was loud applause as the 22-year-old made his way through a standing ovation and onto the stage.

"I honestly can't believe I've won. It's a dream come true. This win brings a tear to my eye," Robertson told the crowd.

James Robertson tackles a practical challenge at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds.
James Robertson tackles a practical challenge at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds. Photo credit: Supplied

The Fonterra business graduate is the youngest of seven finalists who competed in this year's grand final.

The victory is the culmination of days of gruelling practical and technical challenges which tested their skills, knowledge and stamina.

Competitors had to drive a large grape harvester, make sausages, assess health and safety risks using a virtual reality simulator, install an irrigation system for fruit trees, market a line of sheep and sit an agri-business exam.

Joseph Watts empties a water trough during the agri-sports challenge.
Joseph Watts empties a water trough during the agri-sports challenge. Photo credit: Supplied

Robertson takes home a prize package worth at least $75,000, including a trip to Ireland. He also took out the FMG People's Choice Award, winning $1000 for his Auckland Young Farmers club.

Central Hawke's Bay technical field representative 28-year-old Joseph Watts took out second place.

Emma Dangen operates a New Holland grape harvester.
Emma Dangen operates a New Holland grape harvester. Photo credit: Supplied

He also won the innovation prize, the award for showcasing food production and was named the most tech-savvy contestant.

Waikato vet 24-year-old Emma Dangen came third and picked up the award for championing environmental best practice. 

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