Cairns, Australia – Victorian vegetable grower, Nathan Free, has been presented with the Dow AgroSciences Young Grower of the Year Award at this evening’s 2014 AUSVEG National Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner, at the Cairns Convention and Exhibition Centre, in recognition of his achievements.

“With the nature of our industry constantly changing as new technologies come online, it is vital that the next generation of leaders demonstrate a willingness to learn and embrace new ways of doing things,” said AUSVEG CEO, Mr Richard Mulcahy.

“Having been involved in his family business Duralgai Horticulture since 2007, Nathan is the embodiment of this, as demonstrated through the extensive travel he has undertaken to learn about different farming practices, marketing and nutrition.”

Supported by Dow AgroSciences, the Young Grower of the Year award is presented to a vegetable or potato grower who has applied excellent business acumen and innovation on-farm, while also demonstrating a high level of commitment to the wider industry, and participation in industry groups and community activities.

“Now running a successful organics business near Lake Boga, Victoria, Nathan was also involved in a 2012 Parliamentary Inquiry in to attracting youth in to the industry, and is a supporter of increasing awareness of horticulture as a career option,” said Mr Mulcahy.

“He is also a participant in the 2014 Growing Leaders program and has assisted the industry with insights in to fruit fly issues, minor use permits and media inquiries.”

Mr Mulcahy also acknowledged the high-calibre of nominations across all Awards for Excellence categories this year.

“I congratulate Nathan on receiving this award and his commitment to our industry. The Australian vegetable and potato industries need more young people involved, and it is important that we recognise the achievements of young growers such as Nathan to ensure we foster our next generation of leaders,” said Mr Mulcahy.

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

The 2014 AUSVEG National Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner was held at the Cairns Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday 21 June, and honoured growers and other members of the Australian vegetable and potato industries for outstanding achievements in their respective fields.

The event – the biggest in Australian horticulture – attracted around 1,000 delegates.

For official photos of the awards ceremony, please contact the AUSVEG media contact below.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew MacDonald, Spokesperson, AUSVEG Ph: (03) 9882 0277, Mob: 0406 836 330, Email: