Enthusiasm for agriculture shines through at Ag Bureau awards | PHOTOS

Enthusiasm for agriculture shines through at Ag Bureau awards | PHOTOS

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Innovators and trailblazers were recognised at the Agricultural Bureau of SA's Spirit of Excellence in Agriculture Awards held in Adelaide on Friday night.

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A plan to create a robust and respected sustainable farming practice that contributes positively to the global environment has helped Paul McGorman to be awarded the Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship at the Agricultural Bureau of SA's Spirit of Excellence in Agriculture Awards.

The awards, held in Adelaide on Friday night, recognised agricultural innovators from across the state, for their passion, vision and service to agriculture in SA.

Mr McGorman will use the $8000 fund, sponsored by DEW, to develop a business model for his 1100ha property on Kangaroo Island, St Ives, near Parndana. He plans to encompass environmental, economic and social sustainability practices, with the vision of providing an example for other farmers.

"There is a range of new information and new terms out there, so the aim of this scholarship, is to think how we could put that into one plan, and actually make workable examples for people to follow," he said.

"You can read a lot of information, but to see it in place is where I want to get to through this scholarship."

Having purchased the KI property three years ago, after moving from the family farm at Sanderston, Mr McGorman said he and wife Kimberley have been able to "learn the ropes without having to change any ingrained practices".

"It's an opportunity, we've come in with fresh ideas, without the ties to history and the way things have been done," he said.

Specifically, Mr McGorman plans to develop permanent irrigation, plant a hazelnut orchard inoculated with French black truffle, and construct containment yards for livestock.

The judges praised Mr McGorman's awareness of community attitudes, and willingness to share his knowledge with other farmers.

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The Rural Youth Bursary, sponsored by PIRSA, was awarded to Grace Sampson, Nairne, who has received $5000 to help her on her journey to inspire and educate SA youth about agriculture.

"When I hear the word agriculture I get shivers up my spine, I get so excited," she said.

The bursary will help Ms Sampson to attend the Food, Fibre and Foliage Education Roadshow in Adelaide in December, as well as visit Yanco Agricultural High School, NSW, and attend other professional development workshops.

"My dream would be to fund a program that we can deliver to all schools, including those that don't teach agriculture in the curriculum," she said.

It's a humbling experience to receive this award, ag has been my life. - PETER COUSINS

Peter Cousins, Cyrstal Brook was named as the winner of the Services to Primary Production Award, and was recognised for his long-time commitment and contribution to agriculture. This includes his recent involvement in establishing Mesonet - 40 automatic weather stations spanning Port Pirie to Two Wells.

He has also served on committees relating to codes of practice, stubble burning and wine smoke taint.

"It's a humbling experience to receive this award, ag has been my life," he said.

University of Adelaide first year Agricultural Science student Nicholas Riddell, Cherryville, who was named the recipient of the Lois Harris Scholarship in May, was also presented on the night.

Ag Bureau of SA chair Mark Grossman said this year's applications were "exceptional", and choosing the winners - in what he described as a close line-up - had been difficult.

"Having been on the judging panel for a number of years, I personally found this year's judging the most challenging that I've experienced, because of the high quality of which all these applicants presented to us."

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