The New Zealand arable industry has put out the call for nominations to celebrate its innovators and heroes and reward excellence, in the sector’s second annual showcase awards.
Federated Farmers, the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR), United Wheatgrowers (UWG) and the Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) have joined forces to present the New Zealand Arable Awards (NZAA), a showcase of the sector’s people and products.
“We are on the hunt for our tall poppies, not to chop them down but to celebrate their achievements and to inspire others,” Federated Farmers arable industry chair Colin Hurst said.
Hurst said the seed was for planted for the awards in 2017 when the need to celebrate successes within the arable sector was recognised.
Feds kicked off the arable grower of the year at that time, along with UWG, which has mounted its wheat awards for the past 25 years.
The four arable bodies then came together for the NZAA.
Hurst said the arable industry tallies $1 billion of farmgate sales annually, with the seed sector alone increasing volume 41% in the past four years to more than 80,000t.
“I always like to quote ‘it all starts with seed’, meaning arable is directly supporting the $30bn pastural sector and pig and poultry as well,” Hurst said.
“These awards are arable’s time to shine … we are really proud of our people, a lot of whom are very humble and like to go under the radar, so this is promoting what our people do, really great work.
“We are excited to bring the NZ Arable Awards to life, an event put together by industry for industry.”
Twelve industry champions will be recognised at an event at Wigram Air Force Museum, Christchurch, on August 10.
Award categories include employer of the year, recognising an employer in the arable sector who has demonstrated exemplary employment practice; plant breeder-researcher, recognising an individual or team showing success in the past five years; arable researcher, recognising an individual or team where work has contributed to the ongoing success of the NZ arable industry; and growers of the year for maize, grain, and small seeds, recognising high quality, high-yielding crops and good arable management across the three crop categories.
The agronomist of the year celebrates someone who goes above and beyond to help growers produce high quality, profitable crops.
The environmental and sustainability award will showcase an arable farmer or business producing high quality crops while effectively demonstrating practice and/or innovations that reduce environmental impacts.
Rounding off the industry celebrations will be the overall arable farmer of the year, emerging talent, and arable food champion awards.
New to the 2023 awards is the innovation award, recognising those across the arable sector who are innovative or lead the way with new crops, tools and techniques with the aim of improving economic and environmental sustainability. This could be a grower, researcher, industry spokesperson, foodie, journalist or anyone associated with the industry.
For more information and to submit nominations visit the Arable Awards website.