Godfrey Dol from the Guyra tomato farm, was named as one of three finalists for this year’s NSW Farmer of the Year award last week. Mr Dol is Technical and Business Development Manager at the 20ha Blush Tomatoes glasshouse enterprise. He oversees the high level of technology incorporated into the glasshouses to provide the best climate possible for the plants, resulting in record yields.
He joins merino breeders Matthew and Cherie Coddington from Dubbo and dairy farmer John Fairley from Picton. NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, made the announcement last week, saying that the judges faced a challenging task in selecting the successful finalists from an extremely diverse field of quality farmer applicants.
“These finalists are pushing the boundaries in their fields – through genetics, value adding, marketing and the latest technologies,” Ms Hodgkinson said. “They are great ambassadors for agriculture, showing innovation and drive to run profitable enterprises while managing their natural resources.”
President of NSW Farmers Fiona Simson, said this year’s applications highlighted the impressive range in the scale of operations and the different industries represented across agriculture in NSW – from horticulture to beef production, dairying, sheep and lamb production, cropping, viticulture and mixed farming.
“There were certainly some great stories about continuous generational farming, the focus on sustainability, meeting market specifications, benchmarking, energy efficiency, safety and lots more,” Ms Simson said. “The state of our industry is healthy given the quality of the applications and the finalists we’ve selected. The different ages of the applicants, the way they were responding to challenges and the different focuses they have in their enterprises was inspiring."
“The Farmer of the Year initiative has produced some excellent industry champions in the last eight years – and we look forward to the Coddingtons, Mr Dol and Mr Fairley joining that impressive network.”
The NSW Farmer of the Year award recognises outstanding achievement, focussing on management skills, use of innovation, profitability, environmental sustainability and community involvement.
The Farmer of the Year wins a cash prize of $10,000 and the runners up receive a $2000 prize.
The NSW Farmer of the Year will be announced at the Farm Writers’ Association of NSW Christmas lunch function to be held at NSW Parliament House on Tuesday December 3. The Award is an initiative of NSW Farmers and NSW Department of Primary Industries, with support from The Land, the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and WorkCover NSW.