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George Dodson Gearing up for Season 56 FMG Young Farmer Of The Year

22 Year Old, Ag Assister, George Dodson is working hard in the lead up to this years FMG Young Farmer of The Year competition to be held in Hamilton on the 11th of July. 

Originally growing up on a 700 cow dairy farm in Southland, George wasn’t always set on a future within the agricultural industry. In his final year of high school George first became involved in the sector, rolling paddocks and then milking cows for Ag Assist CEO Tony Dodunski. “Quite often I’d milk in the mornings before school, be late to school and then get back on farm in the afternoon to help out when classes finished.” When his plans to go to Camp America in 2020 were shattered due to COVID-19, George finally considered a career in Agriculture and took on a full time job for Tony, quickly being promoted to 2IC. “I just ended up falling into it [farming] and really enjoying it!”.

It was during the initial work for Tony that George was first exposed to Young Farmers through his flatmate and Young Farmers Alumni, Cheyenne Wilson. From then George has continued his dairy farming career and Young Farmers (YF) involvement, moving back down to Southland for a stint, where he was a member of the Thornbury YF Club. He now resides on a 430 cow dairy farm in Darfield as 2IC and has since joined the local Darfield Young Farmers Club. 

George first tried his hand at the nationally recognised Young Farmer of the Year competition at the Tasman Region District final in 2020 then again in 2022 where he place 4th. “I was on the organising committee for the regional final in 2021 and got to meet heaps of people, which I find is where you get the most value out of Young Farmers. It’s a get out what you put in sort of thing.” Earlier this year at the Tasman Regional Final in May, George gave the competition another crack. Coming out on top, he earned his spot in the esteemed Grand Final competition, facing off against the top placing competitors from each of the 7 regions around the country. 

Since then George has been flat out preparing for the big event in July. “I felt like I had to get myself to a baseline of knowledge first.” Fencing, farmlet’s, weekly quizzes and reading the entire Lincoln University technical manual from front to back are some of the activities Dodson has been fitting into his busy schedule to get to where he wants to be before the final. “Training can get quite lonely and tedious sometimes so you’ve got to make it fun as well. I try my best to do quizzes and farmlet’s with other people.” He’s now tidying up the final projects, presentations and speeches required by each finalist for the technical and community basis of the competition. 

With a rich history of contest involvement running through the Dodson family, George is lucky to have the support of his father, Fred Dodson, who competed in the Grand Final in 2000. “He’s been helping me with everything. He will sit here for 2-3 hours reading to me and quizzing me”. George’s uncle also represented the Tasman region at Grand Final in 1985 and took home full bragging rights after being crowned Young Farmer of the Year. 

Grand Final won’t be the end of George’s journey in Agriculture with plans to strike up a share-milking partnership in the future. At Ag Assist we are proud to back individuals making headway in the sector, and wish George all the best for his journey to FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Click below to find out more about the contest: 

NZYF Contest

George Dodson (photo supplied)