A YOUNG farmer and an agronomist have been recognised for their potential as future leaders of South Australian agriculture at the Ag Bureau 2016 Spirit of Excellence Awards dinner.
Christopher Hallion, a production assistant at a broadacre cropping enterprise in Marrabel, was named winner of the Peter Olsen Fellowship and Matthew Howell, a pasture and crop agronomist from Meningie, the recipient of the Rural Youth Bursary sponsored by PIRSA.
Mr Hallion, who moved to the mid-north to gain work experience on a large farming enterprise plans to use the $8000 fellowship for additional intensive study and agronomic tours to learn more about managing constraints on broadacre production systems.
As an external student at the University of New England, the Fellowship will provide opportunities to learn from peers and participate more fully in university life.
“So far during my degree I’ve been equipped with valuable research, knowledge and a good base to start exploring the science of agriculture.
“The fellowship will allow me to attend on-campus intensives, practicals, participate in field trips and learn lessons for problem solving out in the field,” Mr Hallion said.
Winner of the Rural Youth Bursary sponsored by PIRSA, Mr Howell is currently a pasture and crop agronomist for Platinum Ag Services in Meningie. He plans to use the $5000 bursary to study high value irrigated crops being grown in Tas and New Zealand that may benefit the Lower Lakes district and Meningie community.
“The use of maize, brassicas and fodder beet (in NZ) is cutting edge and there are immediate applications for this information in my area.
“The ability for people to grow higher value crops under irrigated areas will have enormous flow on effects to the community. When local farmers are doing well there is job security and a reason for people to stay in the town,” Mr Howell said.
Chair of the Agricultural Bureau of SA Mark Grossman said the applicants for this year’s awards were of extremely high calibre.
“It was a difficult job to choose just one winner for each award,” he said.
“In the end we chose the applicants who were best able to demonstrate how their study will benefit the wider agricultural community. The sharing of knowledge and encouragement of excellence in agriculture is a core function of the Ag Bureau movement.”
John Reed from Barmera in the Riverland, was awarded the Services to Primary Production Award for his contribution to primary production over a significant period of time.
Mr Reed has been a member of the Barmera Ag Bureau for 47 years and has been instrumental in changing the face of viticulture and horticulture in the Riverland and further afield.