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Some of the agriculture industry's finest growers, advisers and innovators have been recognised as the latest winners of the Syngenta Growth Awards, after being announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on December 4.
The Growth Awards, launched nearly 10 years ago, shine a light on the amazing contribution and influence that growers, farm advisers and community leaders from across Australia and New Zealand have on the agricultural sector.
Winners are drawn from one of the following categories: Productivity, Sustainability, Community & People, and Innovator.
This year two individual Judges' Choice awards were also presented, to recognise outstanding individual achievements.
Paul Luxton, country head and managing director of Syngenta ANZ, said this year's national winners represent the best of the best.
"We've had another exceptional cohort of nominations this year, and it was incredibly hard for our judges to narrow it down to our final national winners," Mr Luxton said.
"The depth of experience of our winners, and each of their incredible contributions to not only their communities but the wider ag sector, is deserving of the accolades coming their way.
"The winners range from legendary pioneers in the sector, to first generation farmers paving the way for future generations.
"One thing they have in common is a passion for furthering the sustainability of the ag industry through their endeavours, which is more important than ever as we look at what the future of farming looks like."
The National Winners in each of the four categories will be offered the opportunity to attend an international study tour next year, and will also join the alumni of previous winners, who continue to connect, collaborate and add value to their local communities.
To find out more about the winners, click HERE to read about their backgrounds and where they see opportunity for Australian agriculture.
This category recognises growers and advisers who use best practice in achieving consistent productivity gains.
Edward (Ted) Langley - Grower, Pine Hill Station, Bordertown, South Australia
"When you're onto a good thing, you don't necessarily have to stick to it, you can evolve to try to improve little things, rather than sitting back on your haunches and doing the same thing you've done for the last 25 years."
Martin Lovegrove - Adviser, Cleve Rural Traders, Cleve, South Australia
"The lessons for others in this are to have a go and back yourself. Coming into Cleve Rural has given me the opportunity to mentor young agronomists, and it gives me huge satisfaction to watch these young agronomists grow and embrace the challenge of agronomy with confidence."
This category recognises growers and advisers who are committed to addressing industry issues to create a sustainable and profitable future.
James Kahl - Grower, Merced Farming, Wee Waa, New South Wales
"By definition, sustainability is to maintain a performance and not go backwards, and that just isn't good enough. The ag sector has to do a lot more than sustain."
Nigel Blieschke - Adviser, Torbreck Wines, Barossa Valley, South Australia
"It's easier to show people what you're doing, than to tell people what to do, and so I am always very happy to demonstrate practices. When I was a young viticulturalist I would ask lots of questions and people were willing to share their experiences, and I took a lot out of that. The legacy of that, is for me to share the information with others."
This category recognises growers and advisers who make a leading contribution to their community, workers and fellow growers.
Hamish Marr - Grower, Marr Farms Ltd, Methven, New Zealand
"We need to be having conversations about agriculture and the network of the economy when we are at the supermarket, around the barbecue, or on the sidelines at sport."
David Manktelow - Adviser, Applied Research and Technologies, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
"I think this is the most consequential decade that any of us will live through, in terms of change with production and the energy that is needed to drive production. I do see a really important future for high quality horticultural production, and production of grains and legumes. There are challenges and they are bigger than what we can afford to address ourselves, so we need to work together."
This category recognises trailblazing growers, advisers and industry influencers who contribute to innovation in agriculture or apply game-changing technologies.
Fiona & Liam Mann - Block275, Growers, Eradu, Western Australia
"Innovation in agriculture will be driven by genetics and biometrics, which may be viewed by the consumer as controversial, so it's going to be important that the ag industry is a united front on educating consumers on how safe and effective agriculture can be."
A special discretionary award bestowed by the judging panel on two nominees who have made a significant contribution to the agriculture industry in the areas of sustainability, productivity, innovation, and community and people.
Darren Best - Grower, Silverback Farms, Toodyay, Western Australia
"To be a first-generation farmer starting out on your own is a pretty big step. It's all about being disciplined, and I think that's what has got me to where I am today."
Nick Bloor - Adviser, IVM Group, Varsity Lakes, Queensland
"People have to wake up to the role of plant science in enabling both a step change as well as a lasting change. It comes back to hearts and minds, and taking people on this extraordinary journey with us."
Click HERE to learn more about this year's Syngenta Growth Awards.
This is branded content for Syngenta Australia