Horticultural skills on show at the Mount

The competition is taking place on Thursday. Supplied photos.

A diverse group of eight young growers have stepped up to compete for the title of 2021 Bay of Plenty Young Grower of the year.

This year's contestants span from Katikati to Opotiki and include one entrant from Pukekohe.

The competition, which also accepts participants from the Northland region, is now in its 14th year of celebrating the young and upcoming leaders of the horticulture industry.

Originally planned for February this year, the competition was postponed due to a change in Covid-19 Alert Levels.

The competition day will take place Mount Maunganui College ground on Thursday, July 22.

From 9am to 1pm competitors will be undertaking a range of horticultural related theory tests and practical modules.

Spectators are encouraged to come and support the young growers on the day.

Following the day event there will be a Gala Dinner and Awards Evening at Zespri International, Mount Manganui, where the young growers will participate in a speech competition, with the final winner announced at the end of the evening’s proceedings.

Contestants will have the opportunity to compete for the title of the 2021 Bay of Plenty Young Grower and additional prizes will be up for grabs for the runners up and the winners of each module.

The 2021 winner receives a media and presentation development course in Auckland, and will travel to Wellington to represent the Bay of Plenty in the 2021 national final of the NZ Young Grower on 22 & 23 September.

The 2021 Bay of Plenty Young Grower competition aims to inspire and acknowledge the talents of young people in the fruit and vegetable sectors.

Last year, Melissa van den Heuvel secured the title of the 2020 Bay of Plenty Young Grower.

‘’It’s a great promotion of what the horticulture industry has to offer and provides the opportunity for young people to share their passion, knowledge and skills. It is also a great way for the younger generation to be empowered, and to promote the industry and opportunities within it to others looking for future careers.”

This year’s young growers come from an array of backgrounds. All of them have made grand contributions to the horticulture industry.

Katherine Bell is proud of helping run a Katikati grower group to facilitate discussion on orchard topics, with the hope that the sharing of knowledge amongst growers will improve their yield and OGR.

Yvette Jones’ accomplishments include helping to identify unusual vine symptoms that led to kiwifruit trunk disease research.

Trevor Macdonald’s eye for detail and strive for perfection has helped him achieve Punchbowl’s most improved orchard for the 2020 harvest.

Jess Matheson has provided crucial financial and labour knowledge to support orchard managers and is a stakeholder in a nursery that provides growers with high quality plants for the base of their orchards.

Aurora McGee-Thomas has broken major industry stereotypes by doing a male dominated job, showing other women there is a place for them in any role in horticulture.

Bryce Morrison’s achievements include the Gold Futures and Cut it Out projects, which helped the industry better understand and manage Psa.

Quintin Swanepoel has conducted vital research on industrial hemp cultivators and continues to contribute to the hemp industry by providing support and sharing his knowledge.

Emily Woods determination helped her successfully co-ordinate Apata’s harvest at their Turntable site in a season of uncertainty.

About the competition

The 2021 Bay of Plenty Young Grower competition aims to inspire and acknowledge the talents of young people employed in the fruit and vegetable sectors in the Bay of Plenty.

We have some of the best fruit and vegetables in the country so it goes without saying that there are also a number of very talented young fruit and vegetable growers in the region.

The winner of the 2021 Bay of Plenty Young Grower goes forward to the national final of the NZ Young Grower on 22-23 September 2021 in Wellington. More information at www.bopyounggrower.co.nz

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