THEIR farms couldn't be more different but Dubbo Merino breeders Matthew and Cherie Coddington and Guyra greenhouse manager Godfrey Dol share a few things in common including excellence in their field.
The Coddingtons and Mr Dol both went home grinning from ear to ear today after bring named joint winners of the 2013 NSW Farmer of the Year title and taking home a $6000 cash prize.
Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson announced the winners at a Farm Writers Association of NSW lunch at Parliament House in Sydney today.
Ms Hodgkinson said the Coddingtons, who run Roseville Park Merino stud, had impressed the judges with their commitment to profitability, sustainability, research, industry involvement, marketing and family succession and their meticulous approach to breeding.
Click here for a glimpse into the Coddingtons’ operation
Mr Dol had also impressed as a key driver in the establishment and ongoing success of the Blush Tomatoes glasshouse operation at Guyra.
“The judges felt Godfrey exemplified the best qualities in farm management, using his considerable skills and dedication to achieve record yields in a highly technical state-of-the-art greenhouse,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Matthew Coddington said being highlighted as a couple, with his wife Cherie, highlighted how important the family unit is in farming.
Further to their own family, their staff's families also live on their farms with their partners and their children.
"We don't employ just a staff member, we employ a family and help grow communities," Mr Coddington said.
Mr Coddington is the fifth generation of his family in the business of farming.
Click here for a look at Blush Tomatoes’ operation
Mr Dol graduated at 21with a degree in chemistry and said at that stage the last place he thought he'd be 30-odd years later was winning an award as a professional
The Blush Tomatoes business at Guyra employs about 300 staff and as such is a big contributor to the region's employment.
Mr Dol plans to donate part of his prize to the employee at Blush Tomatoes that wins employee of the year.
Ms Hodgkinson also congratulated finalist sixth-generation farmer John Fairley, who runs a 120-hectare dairy at Picton and had set up a factory to process the milk from his farm and seven others nearby. As a finalist, he took home a $2000 prize.
Click here for a look at John Fairley’s operation
NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson said the three finalists highlighted the diversity in roles and industries across agriculture in NSW and showcased the management skills of the State's farmers.
"It's these skills that ensure the food and fibre we all get to enjoy are of a high standard, using the latest sustainable production practices and generating valuable contributions to our national economy," Ms Simson said.
The NSW Farmer of the Year award recognises farmers leading the field in their agricultural management skills, use of innovation, profitability, environmental sustainability and community involvement.
The competition – now in its 10th year - is a joint initiative of NSW Farmers and the NSW Department of Primary Industries supported by The Land, the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW and WorkCover NSW.
Click on the photo above for a gallery of photos from the lunch