Victorian dairy and sheep producers have taken the honours at The Weekly Times Coles 2016 Farmer of the Year Awards held at the RACV Club in Melbourne on Friday night.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford opened the national award show and commended all producers for their innovation, efficiency to get food from paddock to plate and passion for Australian agriculture.
There were six different award categories – Sheep, Cropping, Dairy, Beef, Horticulture and the FARM magazine Outstanding Farmer – as well as the overall Farmer of the Year selected from the category winners.
- Beef Farmer of the Year, David and Prue Bondfield, Palgrove, Dalveen QLD
- Cropping Farmer of the Year, Brad Jones and Kate Raston, Bungulla Farming, Tammin WA
- Dairy Farmer of the Year, Simon and Lauren Finger, Darnum VIC
- FARM Magazine Innovative Farmer of the Year, Cain Family, Dad’s Oats, Natte Yallock VIC
- Horticulture Farmer of the Year, Ceravolo Family, Ceravolo Orchard, Ashton SA
- Sheep Farmer of the Year, Ben and Cheryl Duxson, Glendemar Merinos, Marnoo VIC
- The Weekly Times Coles 2016 Farmer of the Year, David and Prue Bondfield, Palgrove, Dalveen QLD
Victorian farmers, the Finger Family from Yannathan in West Gippsland, were named winners of The Weekly Times Coles 2016 Dairy Farmer of the Year award.
Simon and Lauren Finger milk around 900 cows across three farms and were rewarded for their resilience to adapt to a changing climate in 2016 with a switch from milking twice a day to once daily.
The family farm’s ingenuity improved cow welfare and slashed running costs for electricity, meaning the Fingers were able to maintain profitability during a difficult and often unpredictable climate.
The category winners each received a trophy and $5,000 in prizemoney, while the overall Farmer of the Year received a further $10,000 cash.
The finalists and winners were selected from the hundreds of farmers profiled in The Weekly Times, weeklytimesnow.com.au and The Weekly Times FARM magazine during 2016.
The Farmer of the year awards align with the Andrews Labor Government’s support of all primary producers who continue to foster innovation and profitability in the agricultural sector.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“On behalf of the Andrews Labor Government I would like to congratulate all our winners, but in particular our Victorian dairy and sheep producers who have starred.”
“We continue to support our $13 billion food and fibre industry through numerous initiatives, including research and development, trade and investment in domestic and export markets as well as enhancing our reputation provider of clean, green and healthy food envied by all on the global stage.”