NSW Farmer of the Year, and the Young Farmer of the Year were announced at a gala luncheon in Sydney on Wednesday, with the awards from Department of Primary Industries and NSW Farmers part of the Farm Writers' Association of NSW annual Christmas get-together.
Farmer of the year: Chris Hall, Wallendbeen. Horticulture
A professional background has helped third generation cherry producer Chris Hall to approach his horticultural enterprise from a clever angle.
Mr Hall used to run a managed investment scheme, and brings from that experience a love of spread sheets.
There has been attention paid to soil health, microbes and cover crops between orchard rows to boost size and flavour. Cover crops between rows of trees offer a promising future, and Mr Hall says areas of the orchard with richer soil produce sweeter cherries.
Young farmer of the year, Renae Connell, Megan. Dairy
A timely shift to Jersey capable of producing A2 milk from a traditional Holstein herd has Renae Connell deliver a profit at a time when the dairy industry remains in crisis.
Milking 160 head on 123 usable hectares near Dorrigo this young industry leader is paying back loans in a drought year utilising a pasture-based system supplemented with on-farm grown grass silage.
"Dairy is not an easy career path," admits Mrs Connell, "But we are looking at new ways of getting the best return from our cows s owe can pass on the enterprise to the next generation."