Nick showing shear commitment in his Grand Final preparation

28 June 2023 | News

Nick O’Connor is already immersed in learning about agriculture at Lincoln University but he is still working hard to prepare for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year Grand Final next month.

The third year Bachelor of Agriculture student and Chair of the Lincoln Young Farmers Club has never sheared a sheep, and he doesn’t want to get caught out if it is something he is asked to do in the practical section of the event.

So he is heading to a friend’s sheep and beef farm in Kaikoura over the university holidays to learn how.

Nick was raised on his family’s dairy farm in Westport and is confident in the milking shed.

He grew up driving tractors and has looked into the business management side of the farm, which he said is a big part of the event too.

Aside from being only 20 years old and still a student, being in the Grand Final is special for another reason - he will be taking on his brother, Peter, who is five years his senior.

It is the first time two brothers have been in the same Grand Final.

Though competitive with each other, he said it was "nice to have someone to share the experience with".

Aside from tackling the sheep shearing, Nick has also been looking over old finals footage to see the tasks past competitors were given.

He has also enlisted his seven flatmates (five of whom are studying agriculture at Lincoln, with another two pursuing Land and Property Management degrees), to quiz him for the buzzer round.

Nick said his degree had "been a big help" and had given him a broad knowledge base. In some of the preliminary finals, he had come across questions in areas he had just been studying.

As with all the contestants, he has also been busy helping to promote the Grand Final, and had been to Fieldays and worked with sponsors. He said Young Farmers had been great in offering support.

He confessed to being a little bit nervous, but he has been fitted with the tuxedo for the Saturday night dinner, and his parents had tickets booked for the event.

It will be a big night for the O’Connor family.

Lincoln University is a proud sponsor the FMG Young Farmer of the Year, and proud to have alumni Nick and Peter O'Connor, Lisa Kendall and Patrick Crashaw in the Grand Final in Timaru from 6 - 8 July.

You can read more about all the Grand Finalists here.