September is almost here, signalling the official start of spring and the end of another Hort season like no other.
As I write this, most of you, our customers will be well advanced with planning for the upcoming season and reflecting on the season just gone. I know it’s a common comment that the season just gone was like no other, but in this case, it certainly came with stronger head winds than usual which challenged and tested all in the Hort industry. Whether it was the hail damage in the Nelson/Motueka region, heavy rains pre harvest in Central Otago, lack of labour to pick and pack the crops, or the ongoing logistics challenges of container and shipping availability, this season seemed to have it all. That said, collectively as an industry we adapted (can’t bring myself to use the trending “pivot “phrase), met the challenges head on and as the theme for this year’s Hort Conference attested, we were resilient, and we are recovering.
Speaking of the Hort Conference, we hosted all the regional Young Grower winners to this year’s conference as part of our sponsorship. I have to say that if the seven finalists are indicative of the talent and passion of the next generation coming through, then our industry has a bright future. At Jenkins we are pleased to play a small part in fostering and developing our young talent. Our sponsorship has grown from a regional support to a national one and we look forward to continuing to support Hort NZ with this programme. In the meantime, it is vital that we all work to encourage more of our young school leavers to consider horticulture as a career path. They are our future and the challenge for us all is to share the fact that there are a wide variety of career opportunities within our industry. As our industry grows and labour becomes increasingly tight, we need as many good young people to enter our vibrant industry as we can find. As an early manager of mine told me when I started out in my sales career “Mark you can’t sell a secret”. So let’s shout it out, tell your friends, family and anyone who will listen, the Hort industry has career opportunities. Whether it’s outside in the orchard, fields, inside a hothouse or in the packhouse, organising the shipping or marketing, we need a pipeline of enthusiastic young people to choose Horticulture as their career of choice.
Postscript - I wrote this blog just prior to the country being plunged into lockdown 2.0 due to delta outbreak and just reaffirmed how unpredictable our lives are in this current environment and reaffirms our need to be adaptable and resilient and support one and other. Stay safe and as always the team at Jenkins are here to support in whatever way we can.