Locals in AgriKids final

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Ashburton Intermediate School pupils Callum Tait, James Lansdown and Ethan Graham (of AIS2), and Laura Hyde, Alice Johnson and Kaira Wright (of AIS5) will compete in the AgriKids grand final during the FMG Young Farmer of the Year event tomorrow.

Pupils from Ashburton Intermediate School are among the scores of primary-aged school children competing in the national AgriKids events tomorrow. They will take part in a series of rural-based tasks to find a national champion team.

Three teams from Mid Canterbury will compete; two from Ashburton Intermediate School (AIS) made up of Year 7 pupils Callum Tait, James Lansdown and Ethan Graham (who are in AIS2), and Laura Hyde, Alice Johnson and Kaira Wright (in AIS5), and one from Carew Peel Forest School (made up of pupils Ana Edkins, Ellie Moore and Olivia Connor).

The AgriKids event has 24 teams from around the country vying for the title, and runs alongside the grand final of the Junior Young Farmer (previously TeenAg) and the FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final.

The Aorangi region is represented by Mount Hutt College’s Sophie Atkins and Eddie Millichamp, and Geraldine High School’s Kieran Chisholm and Robert Firth (in the junior event) and dairy farmer Dale McAlwee (in the senior title, which runs until July 3).

All six pupils in the AIS teams, under the coaching instruction of principal Brent Gray, have rural backgrounds, living on a dairy, crop, cattle, sheep or beef farms and have been researching potential topics to be tested during the one day event. They have either used hints and tips information provided through the competition, searched online, or grilled their parents on farm for advice.

During the AgriKids day programme, each team completes an exam, modules and do an agricultural-based task in teams of three.

An opening ceremony gets under way today in downtown Christchurch, with the competition on tomorrow at Innovation Park, on Kirk Road in Templeton, followed by a prize-giving ceremony at the Christchurch Town Hall.

regional events doing a series of modules before the top seven teams went into a race-off event to compete a series of tasks in a time and points challenge.

Gumboot throwing, fencing, driving go-karts, sack racing and fitting chains on motorbikes were just some of the practical activities teams have had to tackle in previous years.

Theoretical modules surrounding livestock breeding and genetics, farm safety and healthy soil have also been challenges for teams to wrap their brains around.

By Toni Williams