Young Grower winner announced for 2023
Taylor Leabourn has been named the Young Grower of the Year at the national final in Pukekohe on 4 and 5 October.
The Young Grower of the Year is an annual competition run by regional organisers and Horticulture New Zealand. Fruit and vegetable growers compete in separate regional competitions, with the winner from each of the six regions going on to compete for the grand title.
Fruitfed Supplies has supported this competition as a sponsor for many years, and National Manager Duncan Fletcher says it’s part of PGG Wrightson’s commitment to supporting the wider horticultural sector and all those building their horticultural careers.
“We value this opportunity to recognise and support the young people in our sector,” says Duncan. “Congratulations to everyone who put themselves forward to the regional competitions, and to the regional winners and Taylor for their success in this year’s Young Grower of the Year events. All the best for your future endeavours in horticulture.”
The finalists were:
Jan Buter, a Supply and Continuous Improvement Technician with T&G Global, won the Hawke’s Bay’s Young Fruit Grower title from seven other competitors after a memorable and difficult year in the region.
Emily Samuel, an apple and kiwifruit manager for Thompson’s Horticulture, won the Gisborne Young Grower title in a keenly fought competition which is valued for the opportunities it creates for young people to get together and develop their professional network.
Sydney Hines, an orchard manager in Ōpōtiki for Sybton Horticulture, dominated the day-long competition to win the Bay of Plenty Young Grower title. Sydney has a Bachelor of Commerce from Massey University and is just finishing a post-graduate diploma in horticulture science through Lincoln University.
Dillon Peterson, age 27, the Nelson Young Grower of the Year and an Orchard Hand from Hoddys Fruit Co of Stoke. Dillon won this title for the second time, having won the regional finals in 2018 and five years on, decided to give it another go.
Gregoire (Greg) Durand, the Clyde-Roxburgh sector manager for Cherri Global in Clyde, won the Central Otago Young Grower competition which attracted five entrants and covering modules such as irrigation, first aid, tractor and machinery work, pest and disease, spraying and weed management as well as biosecurity.
Taylor Leabourn, the Produce Lead at SKU Limited and formerly an Agronomist with LeaderBrand, won the Pukekohe Young Grower title which tested the vegetable and fruit-growing knowledge of eight contestants from diverse backgrounds including outdoor vegetables, glasshouse, and fruit growing.
As the winner of the 2023 Young Grower of the Year, Taylor wins a significant prize package and competes at the Young Horticulturist of the Year on 7 and 8 November.