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Colin Hurst named Arable Farmer of the Year

His "immense contribution" to Federated Farmers, related industry bodies and across the nation’s arable sector saw Colin Hurst named Arable Farmer of the Year last night.

Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group Chairperson Karen Williams said it was difficult to know where to start with Colin’s contribution to farming. The South Canterbury farmer has served Feds at national, regional and branch level and has also put in countless hours for the South Canterbury Rural Support Trust, the Arable Industry Group’s Herbage Seedgrowers Subsection, United Wheatgrowers and the Foundation for Arable Research.

"This is an award that recognises excellence," Karen told delegates at the arable group’s agm in Wellington.

"Without Colin’s hard work, tenacity and leadership, we believe farmers and growers wouldn’t have got the right outcomes. All of the work undertaken is in a voluntary capacity, which makes his contribution to industry all the more impressive."

Other Federated Farmers Arable awards, which were presented by the Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor, were:

- Biosecurity Farmer of the Year - Richard Kershaw, Wairarapa

- Wheat Grower of the Year - Syd and Earl Worsfold, Canterbury

- Seed Grower of the Year - Jim Macartney, Canterbury

- Maize Grower of the Year - Peter Kelly, North Waikato

One of Colin’s wins for the industry involved a plan change proposed by Environment Canterbury that not only would have hit the livelihoods of local farmers but also had consequences for all land owners. Colin organised a meeting that drew more than 80 affected farmers and got them engaged in the process.

"Thanks goodness the Council saw sense," Colin told those at the awards ceremony. "They didn’t change the nutrient limits but they did change the way they were allocated."

Despite stepping back from the arable industry group, Colin continues to ensure growers are informed and engaged in the process of reviewing the Plant Variety Rights Act and that they understand crop residue burning - while a vital tool - is a privilege and farmers need to manage it accordingly.

Colin has also been a staunch advocate for farmers around the Seed Quality Management Authority (SQMA) table; on the Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC), driving the development of a physical standard for fertiliser; and as a member of the FAR Board and ARG. He continues to advocate for local farmers affected by the Mycoplasma bovis response as a member of the Rural Support Trust in South Canterbury.

RICHARD KERSHAW

Richard Kershaw was instrumental in getting early stakeholder meetings off the ground when pea weevil was first found in the Wairarapa, and - along with Karen Williams and Jamie Falloon - led a group of stakeholders to provide feedback to MPI and governance.

He was part of the Wairarapa Cropping Strategy Group, and has been committed to this with alternative crop trials on his farm over the past two years as well as initiating a number of discussions with key stakeholders out of the region to help build resilience within the region.

Richard has been and continues to be a tireless advocate for growers.

SYD AND EARL WORSFOLD

South Canterbury growers Syd and Earl Worsfold are the inaugural winners of the Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group Wheat Grower of the Year Award.

The award is presented in conjunction with Ruralco and United Wheatgrowers. The Worsfolds emerged as the supreme winners of the recent Wheat Awards. The award recognises a Federation member who has made a contribution to the wheat industry over a number of years and a grower who has demonstrated outstanding yields.

JIM MACARTNEY

Jim Macartney of Canterbury has made a significant contribution to Federated Farmers through his involvement with the Herbage Seedgrowers Subsection. Stretching over 20 years, Jim was the Chairperson of the Subsection and oversaw the successful continuation of a number of referenda. The Herbage Seedgrowers Subsection manages the Non-Proprietary and Uncertified Seeds levy on behalf of growers and ensure these cultivars are available for continued use by growers in New Zealand.

Karen Williams said Jim’s greatest contribution to the seed industry has been in recent years, with his advocacy for growers around the Seed Quality Management Authority (SQMA) table. The SQMA is responsible for managing the seed certification system in New Zealand. While a lot of work of the SQMA is undertaken behind closed doors, Jim’s pragmatic and common sense approach to issues has been valued by all SQMA members.

PETER KELLY

The Maize Grower of the Year Award recognises a grower with outstanding maize silage or grain yields, a contributor to the industry, and someone who balances production and profit requirements against environmental, sustainability and other compliance requirements.

Peter Kelly of North Waikato fits this bill, producing 3,000 tonnes of maize with an average yield of 13.1 tonnes generating a significant income for the farm owners. Peter balances the drive to increase production against environmental regulation and the needs of the soil.

ENDS


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