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Barossa Improved Grazing Group & Ruth Sommerville announced as 2018 Award Winners

The 13th Ag Excellence Annual Forum & Awards was held recently at the Grand Chancellor on Hindley. The 2-day Forum provides a dynamic arena for Grower Groups and Industry to share experiences, develop new ideas and foster trends within the Innovation, Technology and Extension space.

The highly valued Grower Group Award, sponsored by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), went to Barossa Improved Grazing Group (BIGG) for putting forward an educational proposal to benefit their members, the local and broader agricultural communities. BIGG will put the $5,000 towards two ‘soil health’ webinars and attendance of 25 members at a ‘soil health’ field day to be held by Fleurieu Forward Farming.

Chair Graeme Keynes accepted the award from PIRSA Chief Executive, Scott Ashby on behalf of BIGG. Graeme acknowledged Brett Nietschke as the driver behind the project as well as being a significant contributor to BIGG. “Healthy soils are fundamental to the sustainability of farming systems. They store and cycle water and nutrients effectively and provide optimal conditions for plant growth and health”, said Graeme. Scott Ashby congratulated the BIGG group on their quest to up-skill local producers in soil health practice and praised their collaborative approach to supporting and working with fellow grower groups.

The Ag Excellence Perpetual Award for outstanding service was awarded to Ruth Sommerville and nominated by Upper North Farming Systems (UNFS). Ruth has made a substantial and long-lasting contribution to sustainable Agriculture within our State. Her professional expertise combined with hard work and passion for our industry has resulted in outstanding achievements, particularly for the UNFS, and also for the wider community. Ruth has instigated, sourced funds and lead many projects that have greatly benefitted our regions economically and environmentally.

Ag Excellence Chair, Trent Potter commended Ruth on a well-deserved accolade. “Ruth epitomises the regional hero, giving up her time to drive projects for the economic and social well-being of our communities and the environment we live in”.

South Australian icon ‘Cosi’ excelled in his role as master of ceremonies. Cosi wittily narrated his journey from humble beginnings as a pig farmer on the Yorke Peninsula to now being a household name. Cosi says, “It’s vital to celebrate and support the groups and individuals within our State to continue to build and develop our Grains Industry and I am thrilled I could be a part of that”.

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