Pioneering West Australian conservation farmer, Ray Harrington, WA Farmers grains council chairman, Duncan Young, and NSW’s Yenda Producers’ Co-operative boss, Peter Calabria, are among the eight winners in this year’s hotly contested Syngenta Growth Awards.
The Australasian awards recognise farmers and agricultural sector advisers for their outstanding efforts to pursuing a more sustainable and productive future for the industry.
For the first time the annual awards also produced a tied finish for one of the categories when judges found it impossible to call a standout for the adviser productivity award.
A third WA winner, broadacre consultant, Luke Marquis from Esperance, and acclaimed New Zealand kiwifruit industry specialist, Bruce Shepherd, shared the title.
The Growth Awards awards recognise individual achievements in three categories – agricultural productivity, sustainability and commitment to community and people.
Their innovative work is helping to ensure a sustainable future for Australian and NZ agriculture
A special Case IH Award applauds one of the 25 regional finalists for their significant contribution across all three categories.
That title for 2017 went to Mr Harrington who pioneered minimum tillage on his Darkan district farm in the WA southern wheatbelt 40 years ago, developing knifepoint seeding technology.
More recently he has been a driving force in the fight against herbicide resistance in grain cropping, developing harvest and spray gear.
His Harrington Seed Destructor is now built commercially as a header attachment to virtually eliminate the risk of resistant seed germinating in trash left behind after crops are harvested.
Other Growth Awards winners were Victorian vegetable producer, Andrew Bulmer; southern NSW agronomist, Kirrily Condon, and southern Queensland Granite Belt orchardist, Daniel Nicoletti.
Crop protection and seeds business Syngenta’s Paul Luxton said the Sydney awards dinner was a celebration of the forward-thinking and innovative practices of the deserving awards winners.
“Their innovative work is helping to ensure a sustainable future for Australian and NZ agriculture, through developing new technologies, supporting their communities and making new technological advances and information available to their peers,” said Mr Luxton, Syngenta’s Australasian territory head.
The event was attended by other 2017 finalists, a selection of past Growth Awards winners and Syngenta’s Swiss-based global chief executive officer, Erik Fyrwald.
Mr Luxton said Growth Award winners, drawn from across the agricultural spectrum, were chosen for their strong passion for agriculture and for “challenging complacency in our industry”.
Every day we’re helping feed the world safely, with a global focus on helping the planet produce food by using the our land and water more sustainably
They were judged by an independent panel following a rigorous criteria for each category, including their overall contribution to the industry.
Judges were Australian Farm Institute executive director, Mick Keogh; World Wildlife Fund beef commodity head, Ian McConnell; Rimfire Resources principal, Mick Hay; Nuffield Foundation executive officer, Jodie Dean; Fairfax Agricultural Media’s senior agribusiness writer, Andrew Marshall, and Mr Luxton.
The eight winners will have the chance to join an industry study tour to the UK and Europe next year.
The Growth Awards support the goals of Syngenta’s Good Growth Plan, which addresses the challenges of producing more with less, protecting the viability of farmland and promoting prosperous rural communities.
Mr Fyrwald, who took on Syngenta’s top job in Basel last year, recalled his own thrill of returning to work in the agriculture sector, having previously headed DuPont’s farm chemical business before shifting to run global water treatment and industrial chemical firms.
“I love being part of this blessed industry and being with people who actually make a difference to the world,” he said.
“I couldn’t be happier. Every day we’re helping feed the world safely, with a global focus on helping the planet produce food by using the our land and water more sustainably.”
The Growth Awards are presented by Syngenta in partnership with Case IH and Fairfax Agricultural Media.
The 2017 Syngenta Growth Awards winners
- Grower Productivity Award: Daniel Nicoletti
- Adviser Productivity Award: Bruce Shepard and Luke Marquis (joint winners)
- Grower Sustainability Award: Duncan Young
- Adviser Sustainability Award: Kirrily Condon
Community and People:
- Grower Community and People Award: Andrew Bulmer
- Adviser Community and People Award: Peter Calabria
Case IH Award:
- Ray Harrington
For more information visit: https://www.syngenta.com.au/growthawards