The Horticulture New Zealand Young Grower of the Year for 2023 is 28-year-old produce lead Taylor Leabourn. Six regional finalists competed over two days in Pukekohe for decide this year’s winner. Taylor Leabourn says the national competition was a noticeable step up from the regional competitions held earlier this year and he appreciated being able to compete for his national title in his home region for the final. He says the future looks good for hort but it is facing the big challengers like global warming, urban sprawl, extreme weather. The competition is run on similar lines to the Young Farmer Contest and tested the vegetable and fruit-growing knowledge practical tests in nutrition and fertigation, tractor operation, integrated pest management, health and safety, agrichemicals, and horticulture biosecurity. They also completed two business activities — and gave a speech.