WELL-known voice and representative within horticulture Rien Silverstein has been given a double honour for her work.
The Victorian orchardist was recognised as being a leading female member of the Australian horticulture industry who has demonstrated outstanding ability and success in her chosen field.
Ms Silverstein has a long history of industry service and dedication, having served as a board member of:
More recently, Rien has worked to improve conditions for employers and workers through participation in the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme - the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme.
Ausveg chief executive officer Michael Coote said Ms Silverstein was highly respected in the horticulture industry, describing her as "a go-to person" on a range of important issues that affect growers all over Victoria and the country
"Rien is an inspirational and innovative leader in the fresh produce industry. Her ability to clearly articulate the needs of employers in the agricultural sector and the obvious respect she shows workers adds significant weight to her decision-making influence," Mr Coote said.
"She strongly advocates for the benefits of the PALM program and works to educate workers so they are less likely to be exploited by employers who are working outside the rules.
"Through her own business Silver Orchards, Rien has demonstrated outstanding ability and success in horticulture, with the business considered a leader in the Goulburn Valley horticulture industry.
"Rien also shows tremendous support to the wider industry, acting as a mentor to many and providing advice, knowledge and assistance to many entrees."
Ms Silverstein runs Silver Orchards in the Goulburn Valley with husband Maurice and son Bo.
While helping run the orchard and bring up five sons, Ms Silverstein involved herself in the local community joining committees, school councils and later boards, always with a commitment to giving back to the community.
Silver Orchards grows several varieties of apples including Gala, Pink Lady, Rosy Glow, Sundowner, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious.
It also produces several varieties of pears including Corella, Williams, Bosc, Packham, Josephine and new plantings of PiqaBoo.
In a statement from APAL, Ms Silverstein was described as Rien "an exceptional choice for an award which recognises leadership and outstanding ability, contribution to and success in horticulture".
"Forthright and practical, she has stood up time and time again to represent industry, calmly and articulately, while also acting as a mentor to many and providing advice, knowledge and assistance," APAL said.
Award sponsor Boomaroo Nurseries is a world-class vegetable seedling producer, supplying over 300 million seedlings to growers around Australia.
Sign up here to Good Fruit and Vegetables weekly newsletter for all the latest horticulture news each Thursday...
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.