HortNZ is speaking with young people in the industry to see what they have been up to during the COVID-19 lockdown. This week we interview Regan Judd who was the winner of the 2019 Hawkes Bay Young Fruit Grower Competition and is currently working for T&G Global.
Regan has been working hard in his role at T&G Global since taking part in the 2019 national finals of the Young Grower competition.
Who’s in your bubble?
My bubble has been pretty quiet, my flatmate headed to his folks for the lockdown. So it’s just been me holding down the fort.
What have you been doing in the lockdown?
When the lockdown started the T&G team and our growers were right in the middle of our apple harvest, so I’ve been flat tack supervising a picking team for the duration of the lockdown. Which is fortunate, as I think I’d find it pretty tough hanging around home for that long.
What do you think are the industry’s major challenges with COVID-19?
I think a challenge that the industry has faced – and may continue to face – is how we support our smaller growers and businesses who struggled with reduced or no income during Alert Levels 4 and 3. It’s good to see more movement happening now as some of these businesses get back up and running – with more businesses now open at Level 2 – and then people can actively support them.
What do you think the opportunities might be, once we’re further through COVID-19?
An opportunity for the industry could be people cooking more for themselves and looking to buy more fresh fruit and veges. I believe we are in a good place to meet that demand internationally, but particularly domestically with Kiwis looking to buy more locally grown products to support New Zealand businesses.
Regan had plenty of support from family at last year's Young Grower of the Year national finals.
Any ideas about what the rest of 2020 will bring for you? Any plans around work or study, or it is too early to tell, given current uncertainties?
For me, the rest of the year will be about continuing to learn everything I can in my role. I also aim to get into the hills for a hunt whenever I can and enjoy exploring the bush.
It’s also been really inspiring to see how everyone has stepped up to get things done and support each other through all this. I’ve seen a lot of it myself at work, and it’s awesome to see how communities across New Zealand have come together.