When times get tough, they adapt, they modify and they find ways to be even more sustainable and profitable. It’s this approach that has earned Riverina grain farmers Glen and Julie Andreazza the 2018 NSW Farmer of the Year Award.
The Andreazza’s dedicated the win to their region and the entire farming community who are surviving one of the toughest seasons in history.
"It's put our region back on the map and shows we are getting the good news story out there,” Glen Andreazza said.
"We are all doing it tough but hopefully this win makes people remember we are still out there doing our best."
Julie Andreazza wept as she gave her speech and thanked her children for their help.
“I’m proud of my family and my husband,” she said.
The couple have been recognised for farming excellence on their 370 hectare grain farm at Willbriggie, south of Griffith, where they predominantly grow rice, wheat and recently corn.
Their family has also been supplying the variety of soft wheat, a key ingredient for Arnott's biscuits Tim Tams and Scotch Finger for 50 years.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said the winning couple were balancing sustainability with profits, and offsetting the risks in seasonal conditions.
“Glen and Julie are an example of some of our state’s best innovators,” Mr Blair said.
Mr Blair said Andreazza's had adapted to find ways to manage one of the biggest challenges irrigated agriculture was currently facing –how to carefully balance their business to optimise returns in the face of limited water availability and high costs.
“They grow two different crops each year, in the summer it’s rice and in the winter a cereal crop which uses the residual moisture in the ground," Mr Blair said.
“They’re using technology, they’re thinking outside the box and they’re also working to reduce the burnout that can come with farming.
“They’re thinking ahead and they’re a fantastic model for farming business across the state.”
NSW Farmers’ president James Jackson said the farm balanced environmental practices with making a profit by ensuring the farm recycles all water and uses quick flow irrigation systems.
“Solar panels have been installed to offset the cost of electricity, making a positive impact on profit and loss, while saving the environment by reducing emissions created from fossil fuel,” he said.
As well as looking after the environment, Mr Jackson said the Andreazza’s focused on education, communication and succession planning to ensure the business remained sustainable.
The award is an initiative of the NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Farmers, with support from SafeWork NSW and Fairfax Agricultural Media, publisher of this website.