For the first time in the award’s history, a salmon farmer has taken out the Australian Farmer of the Year award.
Peter and Frances Bender from Huon Aquaculture in Hobart, Tasmania, were selected by an independent judging panel for the ABC Rural and Kondinin Group award which recognises rural champions both on and off-farm.
The Benders started fish farming in the 1980s and now farm six million fish producing 25,000 tonnes of product annually.
They employ 605 staff with an annual turnover of $318 million.
Kondinin Group’s Ben White said the Benders were an example of how, despite the diversity of the Australian agricultural industry, the characteristics of an outstanding farmer remain the same.
“Successful farmers are those who think innovatively about their enterprise and when faced with a challenge meet it head on,” he said.
Mr White said this years awards challenged the stereotypical view of ‘a farmer,’ acknowledging fish farmers, a mushroom farmer, and innovator and an inventor.
More to come.