Jamie McIntyre – the 25-year-old orchard hand at Illawarra Farms who won the 2021 Gisborne Young Grower of the Year competition – won the FMG Best Speech award at the Young Grower of the Year final, last month.
“I was absolutely stoked to win the Best Speech,” says Jamie.
“The calibre of the other contestants’ speeches was so high – they were all amazing speeches. When they called my name out, I was absolutely rapt.
“In my speech I talked about the nine planetary boundaries which are the natural limitations of the planet. As an industry we need to do our part to help out, including being more targeted about nitrogen and nutrient use.
“We need to use all the tools available to make nutrient use smarter. If we do that, we can do more with less – we can improve the environment with no detriment to economic gains.”
Jamie says that nurturing people and providing an environment for professional progression will help ensure the future success of the industry.
“There’s some wicked young people out there and we need to look after them.
“Everyone in the competition was so supportive of each other. Those connections are one of the biggest things I’ll take away from my experience.”
To anyone considering entering the competition, Jamie’s message was simple: “do it,” he says.
“I cannot recommend it enough. It might seem scary but it’s a really supportive environment. It has increased my fizz levels for my job a lot, and I’ve made some real life-long connections.”