The finalists have been announced and it is young leaders and innovators who are topping the numbers in the 2023 arable industry award nominations.
From a couple who first started mixing their hemp hand and body creams in a cake mixer in their kitchen to someone with industry-leading insights on cereal fungicides, a total of 60 nominations were received across the 12 award categories.
Arable Farmer of the Year in the 2022 awards and newly elected Federated Farmers arable chair David Birkett said the awards are about celebrating the “cream of the crop” of New Zealand’s arable sector.
He said the August 10 awards event at the Air Force Museum in Christchurch will be about coming together to network, tell success stories and spotlight the business and investment opportunities in a sector that generates $800 million in sales a year, with $245m of that in exports.
“Of note is the abundance of young leaders and food and grower innovators rising through the industry,” Birkett said.
“We had more nominations for the Emerging Talent and Innovation awards than in the past by quite a margin.
“There’s always a lot of interest in the Food Champion award, the growers and enterprises finding new ways to use seeds, cereals and other arable crops to drive profitability.”
“It won’t be easy to pick any of the awards. All the finalists are of very high calibre.”
With 500 tickets to the awards event already snapped up, Birkett said “it’s going to be a fantastic and fun night honouring arable’s best and brightest”.
The list of award finalists is:
Agronomist Award: Paul Johnston, Yara Fertilizers NZ; Geoff Mavor, Catalyst Performance Agronomy; Nick Hishon, PGG Wrightson Seeds.
Small Seed Award: Richard and Fiona Maw, Huntersfield Farm; Andy and Jo Innes, Innes Fields Ltd; Michael and Lou Gardyne, M Gardyne Ltd; Ross and Nigel Rathgen, Glen River Seeds.
Innovation Award: Andrew Darling, Adar Farming Ltd; John Austin of John Austin Ltd; Roscoe Taggart, Taggart Farms; Jody and Blair Drysdale, Hopefield Hemp.
Emerging Talent Award: Mark Framptom, Luisetti Seeds; Andrew Darling, Adar Farming Ltd; James Abbiss, Silverton Pastoral.
Food Champion: Rob and Toni Auld, Auld Farm Distillery; Ethan Flack and Phil Jackson, Farmers Mill NZ Flour; Nick and Kath Walters, Pure New Zealand Buckwheat Ltd.
Maize Grower: David and Adrienne Wordsworth, D&A Wordsworth Contracting; Mark Shera, Parkfields Farm Ltd.
Grain Grower: Sam and Hannah Grant, Grant Trading; Craig Muckle, Millisle Farm; Roger and Jude Henderson, Limewood Farm.
Environment and Sustainability: Nigel Greenwood, Willowbrook Farm; Andrew and Amy Darling, Adar Farming; Angus McKenzie, Wairuna Farm Ltd.
Arable Farmer of the Year: Craig and Anna Whiteside, TA Whiteside & Co; David Clark, Valetta Farms; Hugh Ritchie, Drumpeel Farms.
Researcher of the Year: Richard Chynoweth, FAR; Anna Gillum, PGG Wrightson Seeds.
Plant Breeder-Researcher: Stewart Armstrong and Stuart Gowers, Plant and Food Research; Barenburg NZ Plant Breeding Team.
Employer of the Year: Bruce Garrett, RAGT NZ; Ferg MacDonald, Green to Gold Ltd; Graeme Jones, PGG Wrightson Seeds.