Today five young Bay of Plenty horticulturalists are competing for the title of Young Grower of the Year.
President of Horticulture New Zealand Andrew Fenton says the competition is part of the organisation’s strategy to create a $10billion industry by 2020.
“To maintain momentum and achieve our lofty goals we recognise we need to build the best people. We need highly skilled innovative growers, with exceptional production, business and leadership skills ready to face industry challenges and strengthen our leadership position in the global marketplace,” says Andrew.
“The primary purpose of Young Grower of the Year is to give recognition and develop the skills and commitment of our young growers.”
The Bay of Plenty Young Grower competition aims to inspire and acknowledge the talents of young people employed in the region’s fruit sector.
The winner of the BOP Young Fruit Grower goes forward to the national final of the NZ Young Fruit Grower at the 2012 Horticulture New Zealand Conference to compete against other regional finalists.
While at the conference the winner of New Zealand Young Fruit Grower also competes against the NZ Young Vegetable Grower for the national title of Young Grower of the year 2012.
Young Grower of the Year manager Michelle de Jong says the competition is great for developing leadership skills.
“What we try to do is provide opportunities for young people in the industry. At a regional level the competitors really enjoy matching themselves against their peers.
“From a practical level there’s more and more focus on management type issues like how to get resource consents or how one might deal with staffing issues.
“What we find is a number of previous contestants come back as judges. We want them to start getting involved in leadership roles, or they may pursue higher education.”
The competition started in 2007 and continues to be well supported by the industry and employers.
Competitors must be under 30-years-old with current competitors ranging in age from 23 to 27-years-old.
The competition is open to men or women working in horticulture.
Joel Wanhill on a cherry picker at the competition at Baypark.
Today’s competitors are:
Adam Bond, Canon Road Ltd Kiwifruit
Chriss Jennings, Ranfulry Orchard Services Ltd
Tim Webb, Te Puke Family Orchard
Joel Wanhil, Ken and Helen Edkins, Te Puke
Cody Bent, Satara Co-op Group.