Big crowd gathers for Farmer of Year award

Ag chiefs gather to see dairy, cherry farmers win top awards

Events
All smiles as the new NSW Young Farmer of the Year, Dorrigo's Renae Connell, accepts her award from NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall and NSW Farmers' president James Jackson.

All smiles as the new NSW Young Farmer of the Year, Dorrigo's Renae Connell, accepts her award from NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall and NSW Farmers' president James Jackson.

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Photos of Farm Writers' Xmas festivities

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A dairy and a cherry farmer ruled the Farmer of the Year Awards at NSW Parliament as the achievements of NSW farmers were recognised.

Hosted by NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, the Young Farmer of the Year went to Dorrigo's Renae Connell, who milks Jersey cows, milking 160 head and paying back loans in a drought with her smart enterprise skills with her husband Scott.

The Farmer of the Year award went to Chris Hall, Wallendbeen, who doesn't use herbicides, pesticides or fungicides, and has not only grown a good profile in the cherry industry but also a topsoil profile on his farm with microbes turning his farm into a cherry winner.

Utilising apps and smart phones, Mr Hall has honed his microbe skills to get his farm soil humming, in the belief "richer soils produce sweeter cherries".

The Farm Writer's annual Christmas lunch also saw The Land's livestock editor Lucy Kinbacher pick up her NSW Star Prize Award for Rural Writing.

Ms Connell focuses on animal health and welfare, "with a view that if the fundamental wellbeing of their animals is covered productivity and profitability will follow", a release from the Minister's office said.

"Renae is guiding the business towards complete and holistic management supported by sound investment in technology, research and education.

"Her commitment to welfare and wellbeing extends beyond her animals, Renae is an advocate for mental health, particularly those in rural and regional communities."

Mr Marshall said: "Chris (Hall) and Renae are examples of some of our state's best innovators. When times get tough, as they are now, they adapt, they modify and they find ways to survive - and that is the true spirit of farming."

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