Watch the BOP’s best young fruit growers in action

04 Feb 2019 Watch the BOP’s best young fruit growers in action image

Eight of the Bay of Plenty’s best growers will showcase their horticultural expertise at the Te Puke A&P Show this weekend for 2019’s first Young Fruit Grower competition.

This year’s eight entrants for the Bay of Plenty are:

- Alex Ashe, Technical Advisor, Farmlands

- Andrew Jenkins, Orchard Cadet, Seeka

- Dylan Wadsworth, Orchard Manager, Baygold

- Emily Crum, Orchard Manager, Prospa (EastPack)

- Georgia Guy-Williams, Laboratory Manager / Inventory Assistant, Apata Group

- Hamish McKain, Avocado Manager / Production Manager, DMS Progrowers

- Megan Fox, Orchard Technical Advisor, Southern Cross Horticulture

- Ranjit Singh, Orchard Manager, Weskco

Now in its 12th year, the competition will see contestants demonstrating their knowledge and skills around topics vital to the management of a successful orchard, including tractor proficiency, orchard profitability, and plant nutrition. The winner will be decided at a gala awards dinner the following week, moderated by entertainer Jackie Clarke, where they will speak to an audience of 420 people from throughout the industry about the future disruptors to horticulture.

Prizes include sponsorship to attend the annual Horticulture New Zealand Conference, a media and presentation development course, and an all-expenses paid trip to compete for the national 2019 Young Grower of the Year title in October as well as cash prizes.

The competition is organised by the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower Upskilling Committee with support from New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc (NZKGI).

Andrew Dawson, Chair of the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Growers Upskilling Committee, says, "The avocado and kiwifruit industries are booming in the Bay of Plenty and we want to ensure that there are leaders with scientific, commercial and technical backgrounds to continue its success into the future. The Young Fruit Grower competition is a great way to promote and build the young and upcoming talent that our industry has."

Horticulture New Zealand CE Mike Chapman agrees that these competitions are an excellent showcase of the potential opportunities in the horticulture industry.

"The Young Grower competition doesn’t just show what you can accomplish with a career in horticulture, but how to develop the skills and experience to get there. Horticulture is a growing industry, and there are amazing opportunities for everyone willing to put the work in.

"The Bay of Plenty competition, and similar competitions held around the country, showcase the amazing talent we have working in our industry."

Event organiser Renee Fritchley says "This year we have had a record number of contestants apply to compete, and for the first time tickets to the gala dinner have sold out well in advance. This is a reflection of how dedicated our industry is to encouraging future talent, and the level of drive and commitment we are seeing from our future leaders coming through."

The champion of the Bay of Plenty competition will progress to the Young Grower of the Year national final, to be held in Tauranga in October. There, they will join the winners of the Nelson, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, and Central Otago regionals, as well as a Young Vegetable Grower, to compete for the national title of Young Grower 2019.

The Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower competition will be held on Saturday, 09 February at the Te Puke A&P Show. The sold-out awards dinner will follow on Wednesday 13 February 2019, Trustpower Baypark, Stadium Lounge. For more information on the competition and tickets, visit: www.bopyoungfruitgrower.co.nz.