South Australian vegetable industry leaders celebrated at awards night

South Australia’s leading growers, researchers and industry members have been recognised at the 2019 AUSVEG SA and William Buck Vegetable Industry Awards for Excellence, showcasing the exemplary contribution that the vegetable industry provides to the South Australian economy.

More than 250 growers and industry members gathered at the Arkaba Hotel on Wednesday 22 May to celebrate the important contributions of members of the state’s $700 million vegetable and wider horticulture industry, and showcase their leadership, dedication and innovation.

Prominent figures also attended the awards, including the Hon. Tim Whetstone MP, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Hon. David Ridgway MLC, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, reinforcing the important role that the vegetable industry plays in South Australia.

The winners of the Awards for Excellence are as follows:

· Mark Pye, Zerella Fresh – Grower of the Year (proudly sponsored by Peats Soil).

· Daniel Hoffman – Young Grower of the Year (proudly sponsored by the South Australian Produce Market).

· Jason Clark, Symons Clark Logistics – Industry Impact (proudly sponsored by William Buck).

· Bianca Marrone, Marrone Fresh – Women in Horticulture (proudly sponsored by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia).

· Barbara Hall, South Australia Research and Development Institute (SARDI) – Researcher of the Year (proudly sponsored by SA Water).

· Peter Petsios, SA Tomato Co – Biosecurity Award (proudly sponsored by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia).

“The AUSVEG SA and William Buck Vegetable Industry Awards for Excellence is an opportunity for our members to reflect on the previous 12 months and to celebrate the outstanding achievements of South Australia’s vegetable industry. As our state continues to rely on the economic output from our horticulture industry, it is important that we take the time to recognise the hard work and the dedication of our industry and its importance towards our state and national economies,” said AUSVEG SA Chief Executive Officer Jordan Brooke-Barnett.

“We are fortunate to have so many growers, researchers and other industry members who are among the best in the world at growing fresh produce for local and international consumers. Our entire industry is committed to ensuring South Australia’s vibrant vegetable industry continues to be productive, profitable and a vital contributor to the state’s economy well into the future.

“I’d like to congratulate every individual and business who was recognised at the awards and thank them for their continued dedication to our industry.”

Minister Whetstone was on-hand to speak at the event and said South Australian horticulture is recognised for its excellence in environmentally clean, safe and advanced agricultural production.

“Our $1.6 billion horticulture industry is an important contributor in our economy, with the sector consisting of an estimated 3,500 small to medium sized businesses employing 13,500 permanent staff which increases to 24,000 seasonally,” said Minister Whetstone.

“It is why the State Government is working closely with AUSVEG SA in two value-adding initiatives – Clean Your Farm and Gaining Efficiencies through LEAN initiatives – both of which are aimed at the horticulture industry continuing to boost its reputation as the best in the premium market place, and our support of the new Biosecurity Award.

“The State Government is also proud to sponsor the Women in Horticulture Award as part of our Women Influencing Agribusiness and Regions Strategy, to continue to acknowledge and promote the significant role that women plan in South Australian Agribusiness.

“I congratulate all winners on their awards.”

The winners will be nominated in their respective categories at the National Awards for Excellence, to be held during the Hort Connections 2019 conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 24-26 June.

AUSVEG SA is the leading horticulture industry body representing the interests of vegetable producers in South Australia and provides growers with a united voice and strong representation with all levels of government.

For photographs of the awards ceremony or to request

/Public Release.