Winners at the 2023 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards
On 20 June 2023, the best and most innovative Australian farmers were recognised with awards to celebrate those who had made a significant contribution to Australian agriculture. The Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2023 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards took place at Parliament House in Canberra where Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt congratulated winners, including Tess and Andrew Herbert from Eugowra, New South Wales, who were named winners of the Farmer of the Year Award.
- Tess and Andrew Herbert from Eugowra, New South Wales, won the 2023 Australian Farmer of the Year Award.
- The winners were announced by Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry Murray Watt at Parliament House in Canberra on 20 June 2023.
- Eight other awards were given, including Young Farmer of the Year, Rural Community Leader of the Year, and Award for Excellence in Innovation.
- This is the 13th year of the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Award as the program began in 2010.
Winners of the Australian Farmer of the Year Award
The proud winners of the Australian Farmer of the Year Award, Tess and Andrew Herbert, are known for an innovative and successful approach to farming that has helped them to overcome challenges such as drought, the pandemic, and severe flooding. As early adopters of technology, the Herberts have effectively reduced the risks of their New South Wales farming enterprise.
Full list of winners recognised at the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards for 2023
The Herberts were not the only farming professionals to be honoured with a prestigious award. You can see the full list of recipients in the table below.
|Australian Farmer of the Year||Tess and Andrew Herbert, Eugowra, New South Wales|
|Young Farmer of the Year||Mitchell McNab, Ardmona, Victoria|
|Rural Community Leader of the Year||Jackie Elliott, Byaduk, Victoria|
|Rural Consultant of the Year||Ingrid Roth, Narrabri, New South Wales|
|Agricultural Student of the Year||Jay Elliot, Perth, Western Australia|
|Award for Excellence in Innovation||Tony Single, Narratigah, New South Wales|
|Award for Excellence in Technology||Ray Taylor, Amiens, Queensland|
|Award for Excellence in Diversification and Sustainability||Mark Foletta, Benalla, Victoria|
|Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research||Dr. Robert Magarey, Tully, Queensland|
A look at the winners
Taking a closer look at those professionals recognised at this year’s Australian Farmer of the Year Awards shows why they received their awards.
Mitchell McNabb was selected as the winner of one of the most prestigious young farmer of the year awards due to his drive, pursuit of excellence, and improvement of systems. His dedication has allowed him to improve the quality of produce and return per hectare at the family orchard he manages. Mr. McNabb is also chairman of Fruit Growers Victoria Ltd. and is generous with his time and knowledge, making him a role model for other young industry professionals.
Jackie Elliot founded Rural Women’s Day. This not-for-profit initiative connects women throughout rural and regional communities and allows them to collaborate. The first event was attended by 170 people, in Dunkeld, Victoria, in 2019. The community now has more than 10,000 followers, and several successful events have taken place.
Ingrid Roth has been consulting within the farming and rural research industries for more than 25 years. Her work has involved companies from sugar, grain, horticulture, cotton, and coffee. The expertise she provides covers areas including research strategies, communications, leadership, and sustainability frameworks. Clients she has worked with include CSIRO Agriculture and Food, AgriFutures Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, and Cotton Research and Development Corporation. Most recently, Ms Roth has been praised for her work in horticulture.
Jay Elliot is a mature-aged student who is currently studying for a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science and health at Murdoch University. Her passion is for livestock in agriculture, and she is a member of Women in Farming. Aside from her studying, Ms Elliot is a mother of teenage daughters, a sheep judge, and works to inspire high school students to become involved with agriculture.
Tony Single’s background is in agronomy. He now works in the family enterprise near Baradine, south-east of Coonamble where he adopts an innovative approach based on scientific research. He uses a risk management strategy that is based on pre-determined moisture targets. This strategy helps to inform planting and rotation choices. Other innovative technology employed by Mr. Single includes the proprietary drone-based weed mapping system developed by the family.
Ray Taylor overseas growing lands in Queensland that have been in the family for four generations. The leafy greens grower employs innovative technology in his enterprise, to produce reports in areas such as waste, water, biosecurity, energy, soil, climate, runoff, and workplace safety. His recent work has involved identifying drought-proofing infrastructure and exploring crop protection.
Mark Foletta works with his father managing a 450ha farming business to the south of Benalla. The traditional work of the operation includes merino wool, Angus cattle, and fat lambs. Mr. Foletta has also led the way in terms of diversification by embracing cherries, pumpkins, and wild mushrooms. He also takes a sustainable and holistic approach to farming by optimising the use of all products and reducing waste.
Dr. Robert Magarey
Dr. Robert Magarey has been involved with sugarcane pathology since 1981. During his lengthy career, Dr. Magarey has researched many Australian and exotic diseases. He has served on the executives of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society and the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. He has also been president of both organisations. Dr. Magarey’s research has helped the sugar industry in Australia to guard against exotic pests.
About the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards
The Australian Farmer of the Year Awards recognise excellence in the farming community in areas of rural and regional Australia. The awards were first held in 2010, so this is their 13th year.
The Kondinin Group and ABC Rural founded the awards with nominations provided by the community and winners chosen by a panel of independent experts. Each year companies sponsor some of the awards, with this year’s sponsors including McDonald’s Australia, AgriFutures Australia, New Holland, Corteva Agriscience, and Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. The success of the awards will see them continue well into the future.