Scott Wilcox from Pukekohe has emerged victorious against six other entrants to be named New Zealand’s Young Vegetable Grower of 2017.
Scott continues AS Wilcox’s winning streak, becoming the third employee in three years to take home the award.
The day-long competition in Pukekohe yesterday saw competitors engage in a series of practical and theoretical challenges designed to test the skills needed to successfully run a vegetable growing business.
Scott, 26, is a fourth generation grower at family company AS Wilcox. He is an assistant in the carrot growing programme. He was awarded top marks for three categories; best speech, pest and disease identification, and fertiliser knowledge and calibration.
Chris Cowie, 26, from T&G in Reporoa was runner up, winning the best business prize. Shaun Reynolds, from TA Reynolds in Pukekohe, was second runner up.
“The competition has been a great opportunity to test my horticultural and business skills,” said Scott. “I’m excited to represent the vegetable industry, and my region, at the national final in August.”
Scott, together with four regional Young Fruit Growers, will go on to compete for the 2017 Young Grower of the Year title in Christchurch.
The Young Grower of the Year competition is run by Horticulture New Zealand and is now in its tenth year.
HortNZ chief executive, Mike Chapman, said Scott had a bright future ahead of him and exemplified the capability of young people in today’s rapidly growing horticultural industry.
Mr Chapman said the aim of the competition was to foster excellence amongst young growers and future-proof the $5 billion horticultural industry that exports 60% of total production to about 124 countries.
Scott’s prize includes a professional development tour to Australia to learn about its horticulture industry valued at $2,500, a cash prize of $1,500 and an all-expenses paid trip to compete for the national 2017 Young Grower of the Year title in August.