13 May 2022, AU: From a potato grower producing premium vodka in Tasmania, to an exotic tropical fruit farmer in North Queensland, to an apple, pear and plum grower in Victoria, the finalists for the 2022 Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year Award are an impressive bunch.
Eleven nominees from around the country have been shortlisted for the 2022 Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year Award, honouring Australia’s best young fruit and vegetable producers.
The winner will be announced at the Hort Connections Gala Dinner on 8 June in Brisbane as part of the National Awards for Excellence.
Each grower nominated for the award is a champion for horticulture, demonstrates a commitment to the industry and their communities, and understands the importance of sustainability to improve agriculture and the land.
The finalists for the 2022 Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year Award are:
- Sam Boyce, MJ Hall & Sons, Tatura, VIC
- Ruby Daly, Daly Farms and Hellfire Bluff Distillery, Marion Bay, TAS
- Craig Dingle, Kalfresh, Kalbar, QLD
- Damien Manno, Quality Harvest, Kudla, SA
- Ryan Marr, Marrbiz Pty Ltd, Trentham Cliffs, NSW
- Josh Maunder, Aus-Ex Fruit, Bellenden Ker, QLD
- Marlon Motlop, The Native Co, Adelaide, SA
- Ross Pirrone, Pirrone Bros, Ayr, QLD
- Nicole Stevens, SA Potato Co, Parilla, SA
- Carl Young, Redgold, Wemen, VIC
- Michael and Jason Agosta, AAA Farms, Werribee South, VIC
Ruby Daly, 27-year-old Business Manager of Daly Farms and Hellfire Bluff Distillery in Tasmania, is one of the national award contenders.
Ruby said she was thankful and surprised to be nominated. She believes the award plays an essential role in acknowledging the work of younger growers and promoting farming as a career for the next generation.
“I grew up on our family farm at Marion Bay in southeast Tasmania. Mum and Dad have grown potatoes for over 30 years,” she said.
“After high school, I did a trade. Then about seven years ago, I came home to help set up Hellfire Bluff Distillery.
“The farm distillery is a value-add using our second-grade potatoes. We produce spirits like premium Potato Vodka, Tasmanian Gins, and Liqueurs – taking fresh potatoes straight from the ‘paddock to the bottle’ on the farm.
“Over the past few years, the business has gone from strength to strength. Earlier this year, Hellfire Bluff Distillery won four gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
“I’m excited and shocked to be nominated for the Young Grower of the Year Award. It’s huge for me. I have no idea who put me forward, but I feel really grateful that my work is seen as worthy of recognition.
“Awards like this make a difference. They help build confidence in young farmers and show other people what a future in farming might look like. Which is really important – especially for young women.”Sam Boyce
33-year-old apple, pear, and plum producer Sam Boyce from MJ Hall & Sons at Tatura in Victoria also earned an award nomination.
Sam said he is proud to have his work acknowledged through the nomination. He also echoed Ruby’s sentiments that the national award helps inspire young farmers to keep horticulture moving forward.
“It’s a great sense of achievement to be recognised for all the effort put into getting to where I am today,” he said.
“It’s important to honour young growers as the horticultural space can sometimes be hard to be recognised in. Empowering the young growers helps to keep the industry thriving and moving forward.”
“I’ve always been around horticulture and started out as a farmhand straight after finishing high school. I love the rewarding feeling of getting quality fruit to harvest to supply for people to consume.”
Corteva Agriscience is the long-term sponsor of the Young Grower of the Year Award. For Nick Koch, Corteva’s Marketing Manager, this year’s shortlist continues to show the depth of talent and diversity in Australian horticulture.
“The Young Grower Award celebrates the standout young fruit and veg growers across Australia,” he said.
“Corteva proudly continues to support the award. We’re committed to rewarding the rising talent in horticulture and helping them progress into leadership.
“Year after year, I’m impressed by the dedication and ingenuity of the award nominees, and 2022 is no exception.
“All eleven shortlisted growers are helping build a stronger, more innovative, and more sustainable industry and are destined to be horticulture leaders.
“We’re incredibly fortunate to have so many brilliant young women and men choosing to forge their careers in the fields and paddocks of Australia.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the 2022 Young Growers nominees in June at Hort Connections in Brisbane.
“Corteva will be creating opportunities for them to connect with the alumni of previous Young Growers to continue to build a community of horticulture leaders.”
The National Awards for Excellence are managed by AUSVEG, the peak body for the Australian vegetable and potato industries. AUSVEG CEO, Michael Coote, thanked Corteva for their ongoing support of the Young Grower of the Year Award and helping celebrate emerging talent.
“It is fantastic to see so many enthusiastic and deserving young industry leaders nominated as finalists for the 2022 Corteva Young Grower of the Year Award,” said Michael.
“This award provides young growers with an opportunity to stand out and have their hard work recognised by their industry peers.
“AUSVEG is thrilled to have Corteva as a long-term partner continue to support this important award. I wish all the finalists the best of luck on the night and in the future”.