Biosecurity award finalists named

August 14, 2015

Producers from across three states have been named as finalists in the Plant Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award.

Lindsay Bourke (of Launceston, Tasmania), Mark Engall (of Dural, New South Wales) and Michael Quach (of Noonamah, Northern Territory) have been recognised as outstanding entrants in the national award.

The Australian Farmer of the Year Awards, hosted by Kondinin Group and ABC Rural, is designed to promote the contribution Australian farmers and farming families make to the nation, inspire career choices and encourage investment interest in Australian agriculture.

Lindsay Bourke works in the field as a beekeeper and manages the day to day operations, packs product for sale and is on numerous industry panels and committees. Biosecurity is a major driver for his business, as this ensures the best quality honey is produced and his bees provide the best possible results for Tasmanian pollination dependant crops.

Michael Quach is from Lake Bennett Hydroponic Cucumbers at Noonamah, Northern Territory. Cucumber green mottled mosaic virus (CGMMV) hit melon growers in the Territory in 2014 resulting in swift quarantine measures being enforced on a number of properties.

While Top End cucurbit growers were anxious about the virus spreading onto their properties, Michael was proactive in his approach to limiting its spread.

In early 2014, Mark Engall of Engall’s Nursery was contacted by a member of the public seeking his help to propagate some budwood of a new variety of citrus. Shortly after, Mark received a package containing budwood and seed, which he thought had been sourced directly from the United States.

Mark was nominated for his quick thinking and referring the material to local biosecurity officers of the NSW Department of Primary Industries, averting the possibility of infecting his business, and possibly the entire citrus growing industry, with a new pest or disease.

Judges were impressed by the finalists’ proactive approach to implementing best practice biosecurity.

Category award winners and overall 2015 Australian Farmer of the Year will be announced at the annual awards dinner to be held at the Intercontinental Sydney on Wednesday, 9 September.