Te Puke grower Joel Wanhill impressed judges at the national Young Grower of the Year Awards in Auckland last night.
The 24-year-old Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower of the Year took second place in the best speech and innovation sections of the contest, the winner was announced at a gala dinner in Auckland.
Joel Wanhill with his trophy for Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower of the Year.
Jos Bell, 27 from Waimea, won the competition to become New Zealand's Young Fruit Grower of the Year.
The Young Grower of the Year title was awarded to Andrew Scott, 29, from Canterbury.
Andrew, 29, was presented with his award last night after the day-long Young Grower of the Year competition held at Ellerslie Events Centre, Auckland, as part of this year's Horticulture New Zealand Conference.
Four regional finalists underwent rigorous testing on a wide range of essential horticulture business and practical skills, including driving a tractor, resource management and public speaking to more than 400 delegates.
Horticulture New Zealand President Andrew Fenton says Andrew was a very strong competitor.
'We could see that Andrew gave 100 per cent in every challenge.
'He showed agility, confidence and had a real business and technical sense of the horticulture industry. I look forward to watching this young grower progress in his horticulture career."
Andrew, who works as an operations manager for Ross Hewson in Pendarves, thanked the Young Grower competition organisers and says it was a great privilege to receive the award, especially given the calibre of his fellow competitors.
'I really enjoyed the experience and getting to know the other three contestants,” says Andrew
'They are really great guys and I wish them all the best for the future. It was a great event and I want to thank Horticulture New Zealand for all the support they have shown me and the other contestants.”
Andrew also won the awards for Best Practical, Best Business Skills and Best Innovation project.
Andrew earned his place at the competition after taking out the Young Vegetable Grower title earlier this year.
He wins $4,000 and a trip to Australia to visit other vegetable crop growers.