31 May 2022

A record number of industry leaders have been nominated for the National Awards for Excellence – the Australian horticulture industry’s most prestigious recognition – with 79 growers, businesses, researchers and industry nominees for eight award categories, including the highly-coveted Syngenta Grower of the Year and Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year awards.


The Awards will be announced on Wednesday 8 June at the National Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner, the capstone event for Hort Connections 2022. The Awards highlight the accomplishments of the industry’s leaders and are an opportunity for the wider industry to celebrate the best and brightest in their field.


The Awards cover a range of areas in horticulture, including recognising outstanding growers in multiple categories, as well as researchers, innovative agribusinesses and leading exporters.


Nominations have been received from industry members from around Australia and from across the horticulture sector. Award winners are chosen by an independent panel of growers and industry stalwarts from across the supply chain.


β€œAll nominees for the different award categories have demonstrated their commitment to the Australian horticulture industry and have made a valuable contribution to its ongoing growth and success,” said Hort Connections spokesperson Nathan McIntyre.


β€œThey are all deserving nominees who have been recognised by their peers and colleagues for their achievements. Given the high calibre and diversity of the awards’ nominees, it will certainly be tough to pick a winner in each category.


β€œTo be nominated for an award at Hort Connections is a great honour, and I would like to congratulate each nominee and wish them the best of luck. I would also like to thank those who nominated their peers and colleagues for an award in recognition of their hard work and dedication to the industry.”


A joint initiative between AUSVEG and the International Fresh Produce Association Australia-New Zealand (IFPA A-NZ), Hort Connections 2022 is the premiere event for the horticulture industry, encompassing the vegetable, fruit, cut floral and nursery sectors.


Hort Connections 2022, which will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre from 6-8 June, will cater to all members of the horticulture industry, from primary producers to retailers and the entire supply chain. It is an opportunity for growers and industry members to come together in one central location to build their knowledge and networks, and find new ways to improve the productivity and profitability of their farms and secure the future of the industry.



The Hort Connections team is working with people on-the-ground at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and in the wider Brisbane community to ensure the experience for delegates is safe and enjoyable. Registrations are still open and those who are interested in attending can also register in person at the event. For more information or to register, please visit hortconnections.com.au.



MEDIA CONTACT: Shaun Lindhe, AUSVEG National Manager – Communications

Phone: 03 9882 0277, Mobile: 0405 977 789, Email: shaun.lindhe@ausveg.com.au


Nominees for the 2022 National Awards for Excellence

Syngenta Grower of the Year

  • Annaleise & Lachlan Donovan (QLD)
  • Anthony Beutel (QLD)
  • Carl Walker (QLD)
  • Catherine Velisha (VIC)
  • Ed Windley (QLD)
  • Emmanuel Cafcakis (SA)
  • Ivan Bogicevic (VIC)
  • Mulgowie Farming Company (QLD)
  • Rick and Peter Butler (VIC)
  • Steve Manafiote (SA)
  • Steven Moffatt (QLD)
  • Trent Vedelago (QLD)
  • Trevor Roberts (NSW)
  • Tyrone Dickson (VIC)


Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year

  • Carl Young – Redgold (VIC)
  • Craig Dingle – Kalfresh (QLD)
  • Damian Manno – Quality Harvest (SA)
  • Josh Maunder – Aus-Ex Fruit (QLD)
  • Marlon Motlop – The Native Co (SA)
  • Michael & Jason Agosta – AAA Farms (VIC)
  • Nicole Stevens – SA Potato Co (SA)
  • Ross Pirrone – Pirrone Bros (QLD)
  • Ruby Daly – Daly Farms (TAS)
  • Ryan Marr – Marrbiz Pty Ltd (NSW)
  • Sam Boyce – MJ Hall & Sons (VIC)


Bayer Researcher of the Year Award

  • Ian Goodwin – Agriculture Victoria (VIC)
  • Jordy Kitschke – Flux Robotics (SA)
  • Professor Neena Mitter – University of Queensland (QLD)
  • Peter Leach – Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)
  • Simon Newett – Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD)
  • Sukhvinder Pal Singh – NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW)


E.E. Muir & Sons Community Stewardship Award

  • Carl Larsen – RMCG
  • Catherine Velisha – Velisha Farms
  • Guy Gaeta – Gaeta & Sons
  • Jodie Pedrana – Hort Innovation
  • Nicole Giblett – Newton Orchards
  • Richard Boyce – Drummuster
  • Sam Kisvarda – Flavorite Group


Visy Industry Impact Award

  • Dr Andrew Macnish – Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Ben Darbyshire – WA Apples
  • Bryce Henderson – FreshGro Australia
  • Bugs for Bugs (SA)
  • Cameron Hussey – Cameron Hussey Engineering
  • David De Paoli – Austchilli Group
  • Deanne Binder – Novum Lifesciences
  • Ed Windley – Kengoon Farming
  • Fabian Gallo – HTM Complete
  • Jenny Margetts – P2P Business Solutions Pty Ltd
  • Lachlan Chilman – Biological Services
  • Ross Abberfield – GMV Fruit Fly (Regional Coordinator)
  • Thomas Panna – Mattina Fresh
  • Tyrone Dickson – DT Australasia
  • Vito Mancini – Redbelly Citrus


Boomaroo Nurseries Women in Horticulture Award

  • Catherine Wall – McKINNA et al (VIC)
  • Jade King – Green Valley Finger Limes (QLD)
  • Janne Dipple – FarmReady Pty Ltd & Bare Essentials (QLD)
  • Jenny Margetts – P2P Business Solutions Pty Ltd (QLD)
  • Dr Julie O’Halloran – DAF (QLD)
  • Karen Thomas – Melbourne Water (VIC)
  • Nancy Gaeta – Gaeta & Sons (NSW)
  • Nicole Stevens – SA Potato Company (SA)
  • Phuong Le – Department of Primary Industries & Regions (SA)
  • Rien Silverstein – Silver Orchards (VIC)
  • Tracey Campbell – Kalfresh Vegetables (QLD)


Hort Innovation Exporter of the Year Award

  • Frank Frappa – LaManna Premier Group (VIC)
  • Gianni Lastella – Virginia Farm Produce (SA)
  • John Said – Fresh Select (VIC)
  • Lee Everest – Mulgowie Farming Group (QLD)
  • Michael Simonetta – Perfection Fresh (NSW)
  • Tim Groom – Wynyon Tasmania (TAS)


Butler Market Gardens Environment and Sustainability Award

  • Bryce Henderson – FreshGro Australia
  • Carl Young – Redgold
  • David De Paoli – Austchilli Group
  • Karen Thomas – Melbourne Water
  • MagGrow Tec
  • Marlon Motlop – The Native Co.
  • Mulgowie Farming Company
  • Omni Group
  • Peter Bail – Grow Logic
  • Steve Marafiote – Sundrop Farms