Strength in the face of adversity and community collaboration over the past 12 months has helped the town of Cleve stand out from four other finalists to win the Marshall Liberal Government’s inaugural 2019 Agricultural Town of the Year.
A six-person independent judging panel assessed the five finalist towns of Cleve, Langhorne Creek, Millicent, Renmark and Kapunda against a select set of criteria.
Announcing the winner during the South Australian Regional Showcase in the Barossa on Friday night, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone congratulated Cleve as the well-deserved winner.
“Cleve is an outstanding example of a community working together to support the growth of agriculture and this win is a true testament to its resilience in tough times,” said Minister Whetstone.
“The eastern Eyre Peninsula has been one of the hardest hit areas by drought and the small community in Cleve has been proactive in running programs to keep spirits up and bolster physical and mental wellbeing, as well as continuing to drive on-farm innovation.
“Cleve scored highly with the judges in the categories of community resilience, agricultural leadership, collaboration and support for the promotion of agriculture in the town.
“While Cleve has been crowned the winner, I’d also like to congratulate and acknowledge the four other finalist towns, who proudly embraced the award and rightly so.”
Minister Whetstone said the award recognises the economic, social and cultural importance of agriculture and other primary industries, such as forestry and fisheries in regional communities.
“The inaugural Ag Town of the Year Award had 43 towns nominated and is a celebration of our regional towns who are excelling in agricultural practices, embracing their farming culture and the resulting positive flow-on effect to the local community,” said Minister Whetstone.
Rob Kerin, one of the independent judges and Chair of Primary Producers SA, said Cleve stood out because of a strong community backbone.
“It was clear to us that the support from the business community in Cleve has been tremendous. Everyone’s got involved and done their bit, particularly with Cleve Area School’s training farm, Sim’s Farm. Keeping that standard of agricultural education in Cleve has been a real win for the Eyre Peninsula,” said Mr Kerin.
“It’s also amazing to see the Eyre Peninsula Field Days being held with a volunteer board, that’s a standout event in the region.”
The agricultural industry in the Cleve District Council area contributes $75.4 million in regional exports, translating to over 74 per cent of the region’s exports and contributing $31.6 million in value added to the economy.