SA's leading growers, researchers and industry members have been recognised at the 2019 Ausveg SA and William Buck Vegetable Industry Awards for Excellence, showcasing the contribution the vegetable industry provides to the South Australian economy.
More than 250 growers and industry members gathered at the Arkaba Hotel to celebrate the important contributions of members of the state's $700 million vegetable and wider horticulture industry, and showcase their leadership, dedication and innovation.
Mark Pye, Zerella Fresh, was named Grower of the Year with Daniel Hoffman the Young Grower.
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Jason Clark, Symons Clark Logistics, received the Industry Impact award, Bianca Marrone, Marrone Fresh, won the Women in Horticulture award, SARDI's Barbara Hall was researcher of the Year and Peter Petsios, SA Tomato Co, was honoured for his work in biosecurity.
Ausveg SA chief executive officer, Jordan Brooke-Barnett, said the awards were an opportunity for members to reflect on the previous 12 months and to celebrate the outstanding achievements of SA's vegetable industry.
"As our state continues to rely on the economic output from our horticulture industry, it is important that we take the time to recognise the hard work and the dedication of our industry and its importance towards our state and national economies," he said.
"We are fortunate to have so many growers, researchers and other industry members who are among the best in the world at growing fresh produce for local and international consumers.
"Our entire industry is committed to ensuring SA's vibrant vegetable industry continues to be productive, profitable and a vital contributor to the state's economy well into the future."
Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said South Australian horticulture was recognised for its excellence in environmentally clean, safe and advanced agricultural production.
"Our $1.6 billion horticulture industry is an important contributor in our economy, with the sector consisting of an estimated 3500 small to medium sized businesses employing 13,500 permanent staff, which increases to 24,000 seasonally," he said.
The winners will be nominated in their respective categories at the National Awards for Excellence, to be held during the Hort Connections 2019 conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from June 24-26.
- This story first appeared on the Stock Journal.