National Agriculture Day has seen the agricultural sector’s passionate innovators and key influencers recognised at the AgFutures Innovation and Investment Forum, AgFutures 2018, in Brisbane.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Rob and Krista Watkins, owners of Atherton Tablelands business Natural Evolution, won the prestigious Peter Kenny Medal and Leading Sheep Advisory Panel member Jesse Moody was named the Minister’s Emerging Leader Award winner.
“I congratulate Rob and Krista Watkins and Jesse Moody who beat a strong field of nominees to claim these awards which identify and support leaders and innovators in the agriculture sector,” Mr Furner said.
“The Peter Kenny Medal, with its prize money of $3000, is for innovation leading to profitability and sustainability while the $3000 Minister’s Emerging Leader Award recognises an individual aged between 18 and 30 within the Queensland primary industry sector who has demonstrated professional excellence and leadership.
“Mr Kenny is remembered as a passionate advocate for agriculture, rural education and regional communities in our state and was a champion for educating new generations of producers.”
Mr Furner said the awards underscored the Queensland Government’s commitment to enabling the agriculture sector to be innovative, responsive and sustainable.
“Agriculture faces extraordinary opportunities and challenges that will define our collective future,” Mr Furner said.
“The Government is assisting the sector to capitalise on emerging opportunities by inspiring talent, investment and ideas to drive industry development; anticipating the emerging needs of our environment, economy and people and supporting sustainable and socially responsible industries.
“It is therefore fitting that the nominees for the awards were drawn from agribusiness, education, farm-based production, the supply chain, research and advocacy and all demonstrated real innovation and leadership.”
Mr Furner said the AgFutures 2018 conference highlighted the breadth of emerging innovation and investment opportunities in the Queensland agricultural sector.
“Despite the fact that the majority of the State has been affected by drought over recent years, the value of production of Queensland’s food and fibre industries continues to increase, demonstrating the ongoing resilience of the sector,” Mr Furner said.
“The primary industries and food supply chain in Queensland contributed $29.4 billion to the state’s gross value of production in 2015-16.
“The agriculture industry continues to grow and, with the Government’s strong focus on industry development, we have a clear direction for working towards a productive and profitable agriculture sector.”
Peter Kenny Medal Finalists:
- John Hughes – developer of the StoolZippa technology used in cane farming
- Will and Sasha Treloar – organic beef producers in western Queensland
- Rob and Krista Watkins – turning bananas rejected by supermarkets into value added products saw the creation of a new business, Natural Evolution.
Minister’s Emerging Leader Award Finalists:
- Alexandria Galea – Cotton Grower Services
- Phil-Anthony Patane – Sugar Research Australia
- Jesse Moody – Member of the Leading Sheep Advisory Panel
- Nic Perkins – Goat producer in south-west Queensland.
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Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner