Tasmanian potato growers Susie and Gerard Daly have been recognised for their innovation and dedication to the agriculture industry by winning the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2019 Australian Farmer of the Year Award at a ceremony held at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday 16 October 2019.
The award was presented as part of the 2019 Kondinin Group and ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Awards, which recognised the agriculture industry’s leading farmers and industry members. Susie and Gerard Daly were also awarded the Award for Excellence in Innovation, sponsored by Telstra.
Susie and Gerard Daly were recognised for their ingenuity and innovation in creating value-added products, which have increased their sales and productivity, and reduced waste. After years of global research, they transformed their business from farming fresh potatoes to launching a potato distillery producing quality vodka and opening a commercial kitchen producing ready-made potato salads, mash and bakes.
They have also worked closely with the industry to explore new export markets for their products, taking part in industry initiatives such as the levy-funded Reverse Trade Mission to showcase their potatoes and value-added products to international buyers, as well as other state- and industry-run export development programs to highlight the products that Australian growers can offer international markets.
AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside commended Susie and Gerard Daly on their decision to invest in product transformation to create high value products for local and international consumers.
“While the potato industry is the biggest component of the vegetable sector, valued at around $750 million in 2017/18, the potato is often unfairly maligned. Susie and Gerard are working hard to increase potato’s popularity, improve its image and develop products that excite consumers,” said Mr Whiteside.
“The innovations they have employed on-farm have the added bonus of reducing food waste in an environmentally sustainable way, thereby allowing the business to be more profitable and support their employees and local community.
“By working with state and industry export development initiatives to explore new markets and get more people around the world interested in Australian potatoes, Susie and Gerard’s products will hopefully result in more people wanting to buy and eat Australian potatoes, which are tremendously healthy and a crucial component of a well-balanced diet.
“The Australian agriculture industry needs more forward-thinking and innovative businesspeople like Susie and Gerard who are willing to try new things and invest in technologies and processes to supply vegetable products to Australian and international consumers. It is important that we recognise their achievements and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for them and their business.”