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Hyundai Country Calendar


Episode 22: In To Win

Denise Lupton. Photo by Carol Archie.

Denise Lupton and her dogs. Photo by Carol Archie.

Denise Lupton on her tractor. Photo by Carol Archie.

On the next episode, screening 10 July at 7pm on TV ONE:

In to Win

No woman has ever won the National Bank Young Farmer contest, but a growing number are giving it a try.

Ambitious stock manager Denise Lupton is one of them. Denise has been passionate about both animals and farm work since childhood, when she and her two brothers would share the chores on their family farm in Northland.

She's gone on to make a career out of farming, completing an agriculture degree at Massey University and then taking on shepherding jobs in southern Hawkes Bay and the King Country.

When Country Calendar caught up with her, she was working on a large Waikato farm at Glen Murray, raising more than a thousand bulls, dairy heifers and breeding cows.

Her own menagerie included eight dogs, six sheep - to help with dog training - two horses, a cat and kitten, and a tank of gold fish.

Denise first set her sights on the Young Farmer contest while working in the King Country. A fifth placing in the local contest encouraged her to give it another go when she shifted to the Waikato, improving to fourth place in 2008.

The Country Calendar crew followed her as she made a third attempt at the title.

Denise worked hard at learning the skills needed to succeed in the contest, getting farmers and contractors around Glen Murray to teach her about dairying, cropping, driving heavy farm machinery and operating gear like water pumps and chain-saws.

She brushed up her presentation skills by attending Toastmasters' meetings and her mother and father gave her extra tuition in areas like shoeing horses, shearing sheep and welding.

In her spare time, Denise swotted up on agricultural facts and figures and tried to improve her general knowledge.

Even at the local and regional levels, the contest is gruelling. Most competitions began at 7am and last till about 10 p.m., testing business skills, practical ability across a wide range of land-based activities, and general knowledge.

Denise found some of the practical tests that required strength were a challenge, but she recovered points where brains and attention to detail were more relevant.

- More about The National Bank Young Farmer Contest.