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New Zealand Young Farmers member Andrew Scott is officially New Zealand’s top young grower. Mr Scott was named Young Grower of the Year at the Horticulture New Zealand Conference.
The 29-year-old Pendarves potato grower beat three others in the day-long competition to win the Young Grower of the Year award at Horticulture New Zealand's annual conference held at the Ellerslie Events Centre in Auckland.
He earned his place in the competition after winning the Young Vegetable Grower competition earlier this year in his region. Andrew will now be focusing his attention on the Young Horticulturalist of the Year final which will be held later in the year.
He said it was a great honour to receive the award.
"This is a great privilege and I look forward to taking part in the Young Horticulturist competition in November, “said Mr Scott.
The New Zealand Young Farmers organisation is extremely proud of the achievements of its members. New Zealand Young Farmers Network Manager Sara Russell says “it is great to see a member achieving so highly in his sector of the primary industry.”
The four regional finalists (Mr Scott and three fruit growers) underwent rigorous testing on a wide range of essential horticulture business and practical skills, including working with fertilizers and soils, resource management and public speaking to more than 400 delegates at the conference.
“I really enjoyed the experience, getting to know the other three contestants and meeting people in the industry” he said.
Mr Scott said he was never certain of the result during the competition despite his success in winning awards for the best practical, business skill and innovation project.
"It's always hard to tell. I felt I did well in the practical [module], but I was always worried about my speech. You can never be too sure."
He believes his experience at growing a wide variety of crops gave him the edge over his competitors.
"They were fruit growers and they probably specialise in one product whereas I have a broader spectrum across the board growing different crops. That probably helped me overall."
“Mr Scott stood out as a very strong competitor in many areas throughout the competition; he did extremely well and had a real business and technical sense of the horticulture industry” Horticulture New Zealand Business Manager Sue Pickering said.
“The competition fosters best practice and leadership skills; it’s a bright future for the rural sector seeing young people coming through.”
“His experience with New Zealand Young Farmers has helped him achieve this award, it put him in good stead in terms of the competition” says Ms Pickering.
Mr Scott works as an operations manager for Ross Hewson in Pendarves where they grow approximately 20,000 tonnes of potatoes and export onions on 1800 hectares.