Awards highlight SA’s bright future in agriculture
A Clare Valley man’s vision for sustainable vineyard production and management practices, and plans by a Limestone Coast animal health specialist to expand his skillset to help educate local producers in best practice nutrition and animal management strategies, have been recognised at the Agriculture Bureau of South Australia’s (Ag Bureau) 2022 Spirit of Excellence in Agriculture Awards announced tonight (Friday, September 2).
The Honorable Clare Scriven, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Acting Director of Landscape Services, for the Department for Environment and Water, Mr Saravan Peacock, presented the awards at a dinner this evening, attended by over 80 dignitaries, guests and Ag Bureau members.
Generously supported by the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) and Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), the Ag Bureau is committed to promoting excellence in agriculture, encouraging young farmers and rural youth to pursue opportunities for personal and professional development to benefit their local communities.
Chair of the Agricultural Bureau of South Australia (Ag Bureau), Janette Ridgway, said the total number of applications received increased from last year and covered a broad range of primary production industries and projects.
“The quality of the finalist’s applications was of a high standard, highlighting the tough decision for the judges in choosing just one winner for each award,” Janette said. “But it showed that the challenges of including sustainability into on-farm practices are being addressed by the younger generations.”
“Actively pursuing and introducing new practices was at the forefront of the Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship entries,” Janette continued. “While the enthusiasm of the Rural Youth Bursary applicants to raise the bar of their knowledge and skills for themselves, their businesses and their local communities were exceptional.”
2022 Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship sponsored by Department for Environment and Water
Winner - Ben Castine, Watervale, Clare Valley
The $10,000 scholarship is for a farmer (aged 18-40) to pursue further study, take a study tour or run a special project. The scholarship is in memory of the late Peter and Wendy Olsen to recognise both of their contributions to agriculture and landcare in South Australia. Sponsored by DEW, the scholarship focuses on the sustainability of the natural resources that underpin primary production.
Ben and his wife Jess manage a 4th generation vineyard, grazing, and cropping property near Watervale, Clare Valley. They have been living on the family farm since December 2019 where their focus on viticulture has allowed them to transition the vineyard to more sustainable practices.
2022 Rural Youth Bursary sponsored by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA)
Winner -Nicholas Dawes – Kingston SE (Limestone Coast)
The $5000 Rural Youth Bursary is open to South Australians (aged 18-30) employed in any rural capacity and not restricted to primary production. Generously sponsored by PIRSA, it provides the opportunity to pursue further study, undertake a study tour or develop a special project, which will ultimately benefit the rural community.
Nicholas currently lives and works in the Kingston/Millicent area of the South-East as an animal health specialist with Nutrien Ag Solutions. Having grown up with a passion for animals, Nicholas studied Animal Science at the University of Adelaide and completed his Honours in Ruminant Nutrition in 2021.