Top young growers compete for honours
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.
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.