Pukekohe grower Scott Wilcox competes for national title
Pukekohe's young vegetable grower champion is set to battle it out in Christchurch next week for the national title of Young Grower of the Year 2017.
Scott Wilcox triumphed over six other young vegetable growers back in May when he was named New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower of the Year 2017.
Wilcox, 23, is a fourth generation grower at family company AS Wilcox and is an assistant in the carrot growing programme.
On August 16 and 17, at the Sudima Airport Hotel in Christchurch, Wilcox will test his horticultural skills and knowledge against four fruit growers to compete for the national title of Young Grower of the Year 2017.
The competition, run by industry representative Horticulture New Zealand and sponsored by the Horticentre Trust, is now in its 11th year.
The finalists will compete in a series of practical and theoretical challenges designed to test the skills needed to run a successful export-focused horticultural business.
They also take part in a leadership panel discussion, before delivering a speech in front of the judges at a dinner event, where the winner is announced.
Horticulture New Zealand chief executive, Mike Chapman, said the aim of the competition was to foster excellence among young growers and future-proof what is a $5.6 billion industry that exports 60 per cent of total production to about 124 countries.
"The competition is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our exceptional young growers while also supporting them in their futures," Chapman said.
"Scott is a great example of the young people who are passionate about the industry's future and their role in it. He has such a promising career ahead of him."
Scott will compete against Central Otago Young Fruit Grower 2017 – Ben Geaney; Hawke's Bay Young Fruit Grower 2016 and 2017 – Jordan James; Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower 2017 – Erin Atkinson and Nelson Young Fruit Grower 2017 – Ralph Bastian.