2017 Annual Forum
The 12th Ag Excellence Annual Forum & Awards was held recently at the Grand Chancellor on Hindley. Mooted by many attendees as the ‘best one yet’, a reinvigorated format provided the platform to celebrate the success of those contributing to the continuing sustainability of our farming communities.
The highly valued PIRSA Grower Group Award went to the Upper North Farming Systems Group (UNFS) for embracing the challenge of identifying a unique research topic to benefit the local and broader agricultural community. UNFS will put the $5,000 towards building on the GRDC funded Crop Sequencing Project with two demonstration sites established over the next 2-years. These sites will explore the options for new annual and perennial pasture varieties and their suitability for the Upper North.
Ruth Sommerville accepted the award from PIRSA CEO, Scott Ashby on behalf of UNFS. Ruth acknowledged Matt Nottle as the driver behind the project as well as being a significant contributor to UNFS. Scott Ashby reiterated the importance of Grower Groups within the State and regional networks, describing local knowledge as a key ingredient to the broader success of the industry.
Renowned local farmer, Bruce Heddle was awarded the Inaugural Ag Excellence Perpetual Award for outstanding service. Nominated by the Eyre Peninsula Association Research Foundation (EPARF), Bruce is known as the ‘go-to man’ for many researchers and agronomists who need to discuss ideas and observations. He has been a driving force behind the success of the farming systems projects on the Eyre Peninsula and a key resource in maintaining farmer group involvement.
Ag Excellence Chairman, Trent Potter was thrilled to award this important accolade in conjunction with Inaugural Chair and retiring Committee member, Jeanette Long. “It is vital that we recognise those individuals who underpin the fabric of our rural communities. Local knowledge is the seed and driver of research, development and extension (RD&E)”, he says.
The 2-day Forum provides the foundation to the Awards with a number of state and interstate speakers imparting their experience on topics as varied as opening speaker Nuffield Scholar, Chris Reichstein on ‘How Farmers Learn’ to closing speaker Rural Bank CEO, Alex Gartmann on ‘Funding into the future’.