Cairns, Australia – Young gun Sam Humphries has confirmed his status as a future industry leader, after taking out the Coles Rising Star of the Year Award at the 2014 AUSVEG National Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner at the Cairns Convention and Exhibition Centre.

AUSVEG CEO Richard Mulcahy said that the award recognised Sam’s impressive involvement in both his family’s potato growing business, near Murrayville, close to the Victoria-South Australia border, as well as his participation in the industry more broadly.

“Over the course of this year, Sam has consistently impressed by showing leadership and initiative beyond his years,” said Mr Mulcahy.

“By playing an ongoing lead role in his family’s business while also demonstrating his passion for the Australian industry as a whole, he is a worthy recipient of this award.”

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

Proudly supported by Coles, the Rising Star of the Year Award recognises an individual who displays exceptional commitment and passion towards the horticulture industry, while also actively contributing to the organisation and/or management of a farm or company. Recipients are innovative, challenge convention, implement efficient practices on-farm and actively engage with the wider industry.

Third generation grower, Sam completed a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Adelaide before moving back to his family farm. Along with his brother, Ben, he is very hands on within the operation to ensure it runs efficiently.

While he also works off-farm, Sam assists with agronomy work and is very involved in harvesting.

“More recently Sam has stepped-up his involvement in the industry and has been vocal on the need to improve consumer knowledge about different potato varieties, to ensure they are purchasing the right potatoes for their needs,” said Mr Mulcahy.

“With his impressive work ethic and obvious passion for the potato industry, Sam is just the sort of rising star our industry needs to remain prosperous in to the future.”

The 2014 AUSVEG National Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner was held at the Cairns Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday June 21, 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 more than 1,000 delegates.

For official photos of winners or 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: