Thursday, August 18, 2022

Young plant producers compete for national title

The winner also gains automatic entry to the Young Horticulturalist of the Year award.
Ellen Ballentine of Rainbow Park Nurseries in Drury, Auckland. Photo: Supplied

Five of the country’s most successful young plant producers are taking part in the 2022 Young Achiever competition in Christchurch from this Wednesday, vying to be named Aotearoa’s best.

The competition – organised by NZ Plant Producers (NZPPI), hosted by IPPS (the International Plant Propagators Society) and supported by the Horticentre Charitable Trust – tests competitors on the skills needed to run a successful plant production business, including finance, biosecurity and health & safety.

It gives young plant producers from nurseries around the country an invaluable boost of experience, industry insight and mentorship, plus the chance to win a $4000 fund to advance their career. 

The winner also gains automatic entry to the Young Horticulturalist of the Year award, where they will compete against finalists from the entire horticulture sector, vying for a prize pool worth more than $20,000. 

Since 2016, Young Achiever winners have placed first or second in the Young Hort competition.

“The Young Achiever competition showcases our industry’s most talented young plant producers. We’re proud to support the development of our industry’s future leaders and see them putting their knowledge and skills to the test,”  NZPPI people capability advisor Alice Schofield said.

“Every year the standard increases and we’re looking forward to seeing who among our five competitors takes home the winning trophy.”

The Young Achiever Challenge Day is being held at Lincoln University on Wednesday, July 27, followed by a business breakfast on Thursday in the CBD, where the finalists will present their speeches before judges decide on and announce the winner. 

This is the first year Young Achiever is being held at Lincoln University.

The 2022 Young Achiever finalists are:
• Amy Clark, branch manager at Kings Plant Barn Botany in Auckland
• Joshua Mercer, plant propagation technician at Growing Spectrum in Hamilton
• Eilish Chilton, viticultural technician at Riversun Nursery in Gisborne
• Ellen Ballantine, potting team leader at Rainbow Park Nurseries in Auckland
• Rajan Singh, nursery supervisor at Kings Plant Barn in Auckland.

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