Young Grower: Leaders of the Future
This year’s Young Grower of the Year is Andrew Hutchinson, a 28 year old technical support advisor with AS Wilcox & Sons in Pukekohe.
I got the chance to be at the Young Vegetable Grower finals in Christchurch back in April, and Andrew shone there as well. But the rest didn’t go down without a fight; it was a tough competition, and all the contestants did the industry proud.
There’s a neatness to a Pukekohe grower winning; last year’s winner, Hamish Gates, also worked for AS Wilcox & Sons in Pukekohe. Clearly they’re doing something right!
The aim of Young Grower is to foster excellence amongst young growers and future-proof our $5 billion horticultural industry, which exports 60% of total production to about 125 countries. Andrew has a bright future ahead of him and exemplifies the capability of young people in today’s rapidly growing horticultural industry.
Young people are vital to our industry. We need the youth, now more than ever, to step up and prepare to enter our shoes. Many of our current horticultural farm and orchard owners will be retiring in the next 15 to 20 years so we need good succession plans in place.
We have many young talented horticulturalists who will be our industry leaders of the future.
- Mike Chapman, CEO