Proud Caitlin wins crown

MORIARTY farmer Caitlin Radford has been crowned the 2022 Tasmanian Young Farmer of the Year.

Ms Radford, 22, is also a member of Rural Youth Tasmania and had her skills tested alongside nine other finalists at Quercus Park last weekend. Competitors were put through their paces on everything from finance to farm equipment handling as well as a general quiz and a daunting impromptu public speaking module.

“This win was definitely a shock but it means so much to me,” Ms Radford said. “It gives me confidence in my abilities and also shows me what I need to work on. “The competition was so fierce and close this year and I congratulate everyone who gave it ago. “To have the support of such generous sponsors and people who want to see young people succeed in agriculture in Tasmania really is such a special feeling and gives me a lot of hope for the future of our industry.”

Ms Radford is a fifth generation farmer from the state’s North-West region and currently rents her grandparents’ farm where she has sheep and grows vegetable crops.

She joined Rural Youth at the end of 2018 and is the Vice Chair of this year’s Agfest committee. The award judges included Tasmanian Government MP and Parliamentary Speaker Mark Shelton, Meander Valley councillor John Temple and Karen Smith and Wendy Oldaker representing Woolworths.

Only a few points separated the top four contestants. The runner-up was 30-year-old Brodie Hill from South Riana. Mr Hill manages his parents 500-cow dairy farm. Third place went to 29-year-old self-employed builder Owen Woolley, who also farms with his partner on the north West Coast, while Dylan Bellchambers, 22, came in fourth.

Rural Youth Tasmania State president Josh Mison said it was a highly successful event. “It was fantastic to see our finalists surrounded by so many supporters and that many of our competitors are competing for the first time, what a great achievement,” Mr Mison said.

In addition to many other prizes Ms Radford won a brand-new Polaris Ranger 500 valued at $14,880. The total prize pool was more than $40,000 this year.