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Justin Wehner is turning his passion for horticulture into a thriving career that will help make the industry more sustainable.

Originally from Nelson, he developed a keen interest in growing plants and fruit after working at his local orchard and becoming fascinated with observing different growth cycles during the changing seasons.

“Horticulture is one of the most crucial and fastest-growing industries in the world,” he says. “It’s filled with a broad range of opportunities and huge potential for innovation and technology.”

Currently studying for a Diploma in Horticulture, Justin chose to attend Lincoln due to its specialist credentials, which he says will give him the skills to hit the ground running in the industry.

“The practical work is particularly valuable, as it allows me to learn from current industry experts and put into practice what I have learned in class,” he says. “I really enjoy the soil science side of things and have worked in an orchard as part of my study, which has given me some excellent hands-on experience.

“All of the courses are enjoyable, as they give a great broad understanding of the industry and I’m learning skills that will be very useful to me in the future.”

Justin says he finds the Lincoln staff “super friendly, and always eager to help”.

“They really go the extra mile.”

After graduating, Justin initially wants to return to his local orchard and use the skills he has learned to help the business grow in new and innovative ways.

“They helped me develop a passion for the industry and I’m keen to provide them with inspiration on how to maximise yield, quality and sustainable fruit and trees around New Zealand.”

He also wants to compete in the Young Grower of the Year Competition before pursuing further study.

“I’d like to look into two fields that I feel are very important to horticulture – melittology (the study of bees) and soil and crop protection – so I can gain the knowledge to help the industry thrive and remain ecologically sustainable.”