Tom Ferguson comes up trumps

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Tom a superb second at Young Horticulturist awards

Tom Ferguson from Southern Woods Nursery, and the nursery and garden industry representative, came up trumps at the Young Horticulturist of the Year competition earlier this month, placing second overall.

The 2015 competition assessed contestant’s abilities across multiple skills that reflect the diversity of skills demanded by a modern career in horticulture, including innovative product design, market research, public speaking, interviews with judges and a day of practical assignments.

Tom won the Bayer Best Practice Award in a range of activities with a focus on crop management practices and sustainability, and placed third in the Agmardt Market Innovation project with a in-depth study of the use of drones for frost protection, something he says is a viable option in the near future with the change in CAA regulations.

“I was honored to take part in the event and represent the nursery industry. It was a rewarding experience and I met some inspiring people. I would definitely recommend entering to young people in the industry. There is enough emerging talent in the nursery industry to be involved in future competitions.”

Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust Chairperson Nicola Rochester said this year’s competition shows that horticulture is an industry that is far from boring. “There are so many opportunities out there for personal and career development, and the 50 plus finalists that have been part of the ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year’ over the last 10 years are veritable proof, as they use their scholarships and prize money to travel and learn more about their industries and themselves. With the produce from the Horticulture industry estimated at $6.6b now and exports at $3.5b – and set to get to $10B by 2020 – the hunt is on for young leaders now that will help shape the exciting horticultural future of tomorrow.”