Top young grow­ers com­pete for hon­ours

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HE­LEN MUR­DOCH

Six of the re­gion’s best bud­ding or­chardists will com­pete for the chance to vie for the na­tional Young Grower of the Year ti­tle at Hope’s Hoddy’s Or­chard next Fri­day.

The en­trants have to com­plete eight prac­ti­cal ex­er­cises de­signed to test the skills nec­es­sary to run a suc­cess­ful or­chard, in­clud­ing demon­strat­ing their knowl­edge of ir­ri­ga­tion and soils and com­plet­ing a first aid ex­er­cise.

And they get the chance to show off their public speak­ing skills when they ad­dress 220 at­ten­dees on the topic of in­spi­ra­tional lead­er­ship at the evening’s awards cer­e­mony.

The an­nual event to find Nel­son’s best young fruit grower is part of the na­tional Young Grower of the Year com­pe­ti­tion. The Au­gust fi­nal, in Christchurch, will see re­gional win­ners, and the na­tional young veg­etable grower fi­nal­ist, com­pete for the na­tional ti­tle.

The re­gion’s en­trants in­clude; Ralph Bas­tian, 29, block su­per­vi­sor for Wai West Hor­ti­cul­ture in Ap­pleby, Rowan Cox, 25, or­chard su­per­vi­sor for Ri­waka’s Thomas Bros, Daniel Thomas, 22, as­sis­tant cool­store man­ager for Thomas Bros, Aaron Fin­lay, 25, se­nior lead­ing hand for T&G in Ri­waka, Corey New­port, 27, pack­house 2IC for Hey­wood Orchards in Motueka and Lee Beloe, 29, as­sis­tant ap­ple grower for Vail­ima Or­chard on the Waimea Plains.

Up for grabs is a pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment tour to a grow­ing re­gion of their choice along with a cash prize of $1500 and an all­ex­penses paid trip to com­pete for the na­tional 2017 Young Grower of the Year ti­tle in Au­gust.

Hor­ti­cul­ture NZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Chap­man said each year con­tes­tants con­tin­ued to lift the com­pe­ti­tion’s stan­dard, ‘‘and we ex­pect that this year will be no dif­fer­ent’’.

‘‘These young grow­ers are the fu­ture of our in­dus­try, and the com­pe­ti­tion pro­vides a good mea­sure of how well we sup­port young, up and com­ing grow­ers.

‘‘We wish all com­peti­tors the best of luck and look for­ward to see­ing them in ac­tion,’’ he said..

The Nel­son Young Grower com­pe­ti­tion will be held on Fri­day 7 July from 10am at Hoddy’s Or­chard in Hope. The awards din­ner will fol­low from 5pm at Head­ingly Cen­tre, Rich­mond.

PHOTO: MAR­ION VAN DIJK/ FAIR­FAX NZ

Ap­ples will be the fo­cus when en­trants in the an­nual Nel­son Young Grower of the Year com­pe­ti­tion go head-to-head at Hoddy’s Or­chard next Fri­day.

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