Victorian farmers have reigned supreme at The Weekly Times Coles 2017 Farmer of the Year awards, taking home the prestigious honours of Cropping, Dairy and overall Farmer of the Year categories.
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford said the awards reflected the ingenuity, innovation and dedication of Victorian farmers, who continue to perform and deliver on the world stage.
Matthew and Rachel Hinkley, from Derrinallum in Victoria’s Western District, were named as Australia’s best farmers, as well as taking out the title of Cropping Farmers of the Year.
The Hinkleys grow wheat, canola and barley on 1,620 hectares in the Western District.
Through a targeted approach of buying and leasing land, and with modern farming practices and savvy marketing, the Hinkleys have boosted their return on assets to an impressive 10 per cent and lifted crop yields to rival the best in the nation.
In turn, their cropping operation has increased by a whopping 400 per cent in recent years.
Victoria also took out Dairy Farmer of the Year, with Dehne and Sarah Vinnicombe from Calivil north of Bendigo, recognised for their savvy business approach to running their 500 milking cows.
Victoria was also represented at the awards by innovation finalists Doug and Carolyn May of Captains Creek Organic Wines at Blampied, horticulture finalists the Millis and Nicol families of Flavorite tomatoes at Warragul and sheep finalists Damian and Rebecca Merrett from Apsley.
Farmers and rural communities across Victoria have demonstrated time and time again their capacity to overcome adversity by adapting to a changing climate and volatile prices, diversifying, embracing technology, and exploring new markets. It’s a vision the Andrews Labor Government shares, and we’ll always put our farmers first.
The Labor Government is continuing to invest in what farmers and regional Victoria needs to thrive – delivering the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project, slashing the red tape burden through farm planning reforms and cuts to payroll tax and investing in our digital economy.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford
“I congratulate all our finalists for their passion and dedication, but particularly my fellow Victorians – who are always just going that extra mile.”
“To stay ahead in agriculture, we need to combine resilience with ingenuity and that’s exactly what all our finalists and winners have displayed – an uncompromising desire to simply get things done.”
“Whether it’s through our dedication to digital innovation and connectivity, or the biggest infrastructure spend in regional Victoria in history, the Andrews Labor Government is getting it done for farmers and regional Victoria.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020