Broken, not bothered

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Jake Jarman's broken arm may limit his physical training ahead of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final, but not his theory preparation.

Jake Jarman isn’t letting a broken arm stop him from preparing for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final. It’s just meant focusing on a different training plan.

The 23-year-old lives in Ashburton, plays rugby for Southern at Hinds, but will represent Taranaki Manawatu in the grand final of the FMG Young Farmer of the Year in Christchurch in July.

He will go up against Aorangi finalist and Pendarves young farmer Dale McAlwee, an assistant dairy farm manager, and five others from around the country.

Jake, a first time competitor, blitzed through his regional finals in every field earlier this year and days later was packing his life’s possessions into his car and driving to Ashburton to grow his agricultural experience – in banking. He is a relationship associate with ANZ.

Southern Rugby Football Club also temporarily got a new blindside flanker/lock for their senior team but Jake broke his arm in the first round robin game at home against Waihora on April 10 and will likely be out for the rest of the season.

The injury will limit, but not stop, Jake’s training preparation for the national young farmer contest.

He can focus on theory work but physical activities such as butchery work, using a chainsaw or fencing are out.

He is due to get his cast off two weeks earlier and will have to rebuild the strength in his right arm.

Jake moved to Ashburton three months ago but hasn’t yet been converted to a Crusaders supporter, despite also studying in Canterbury in his younger years.

“Never! Hurricanes supporter through and through,” he said.

“I’ve always had an interest in finance and how it plays out in the agricultural sector. That was one of the reasons I decided to go to Lincoln to study a Bachelor of Agri-Commerce.”

He went on to then complete a Masters in Agricultural Science (Dairy Systems) at Massey, and when the time came for the next step, banking appealed.

“I wanted to get into the banking industry to learn more about how that side of the relationship works so when the ANZ job came up, I grabbed it with both hands.

Ashburton seemed like the perfect place to be based as it had a range of agricultural businesses not seen in other parts of the country, he said.

“The scale of the industry here is much larger than I had growing up in Taranaki – large farms with economies of scale, and a large inter-linked agricultural industry – primary producers, allied industries, associated industries, food processing – the works,” he said.

“Ashburton is a critical town for the surrounding agricultural industries, and there are so many businesses supporting those farms you’ve got machinery dealers, seed merchants, livestock companies, banks, accountants, lawyers whole developed industry.”

Jake Jarman in action during the Taranaki Manawatu FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional final.

Jake grew up on a family dairy farm in Inglewood.

He was an Inglewood Young Farmer when he took the Taranaki Manawatu FMG Young Farmer of the Year regional title and at the time had thoughts of creating a “rigorous training plan” to prepare for the grand final. Instead he has moved to Ashburton for a job with the ANZ. Prior to that he was a part-time researcher for Dairy Trust Taranaki and worked part-time on the family farm.

“I’ve sort of been in that space my whole life, and it’s created quite a good foundation to be able to understand (rural) needs and where they’re coming from quite quickly,” he said.

ANZ’s agricultural customers were also a selling point for the new job.

“A lot of these farms have been working with the bank for 30, 40, 50 years clients that have banked with us for multiple generations, and that only happens if you maintain that relationship.”

Since moving to the Ashburton district Jake has met a wide range of farming clients, “from ambitious young couples looking to grow and expand, to older, more settled farmers wanting to consolidate while encouraging the next generation through”.

“It’s pretty clear they’re proud of their local area and keen to protect it into the future, and Ashburton locals have also been really friendly at all the events I’ve been to – you always get a smile on the street.”

Climate change and environmental regulations made it a challenging time – to be in the industry but Jake is optimistic.

“The regulations are continually evolving and impacting on how farmers operate. You’ve got a changing global market, the whole climate change issue – so obviously agriculture has a part to play in that.

“I think we’re in a pretty cool space, and the next 10 years are going to see some pretty awesome change and opportunities.”