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Young grower aims high

At 16 years old, Austin Singh was an entrant in the 2017 Young Vegetable Grower New Zealand competition. Austin, a Year 12 student at Pukekohe High School, was the youngest of the seven entrants to compete.

The day-long competition held in Pukekohe recently saw competitors engage in a series of practical and theoretical challenges designed to test the skills needed to successfully run a vegetable growing business.

He was required to complete eight modules including bin loading, disease and pest control, fertiliser and nutrients, seeds and planting, and irrigation. He attributed his strong performance in the business modules of human resources, and marketing and finance to the experience he had gained from working in his family business.

Austin felt he gained most benefit from the irrigation and the seed and planting modules, as he handles seeds and plants on the daily basis on the family farm and dealt with its irrigation system over the summer season.

Whilst he did not win the title, Austin says he was grateful of the opportunity to learn and experience new things in the primary industry, and meeting new people with farming backgrounds.

“I plan to compete again next year,” says Austin.

“My goal is to win the competition in 2019 and be the youngest person to ever win it.”

Austin also plans on going to university to study for a degree in horticulture and business in 2019.

Story by Justine Gustafson

Pukekohe High School student, Austin Singh, was the youngest entrant to compete in the 2017 Young Vegetable Grower New Zealand competition.

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