Owner of the largest Barramundi farm in NSW, Nick Arena, has been named the 2016 NSW Farmer of the Year.
Nick Arena operates his business at Bobs Farm near Port Stephens, with 1440 square metres of tanks, producing 1000 kilograms of fish a week.
In addition, Mr Arena also uses an integrated hydroponic NFT system to produce leafy greens and herbs, which he uses in his on-site restaurant Cook-a-Barra and offers daily tours to educate consumers about the pressures of farming and where their food comes from.
Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water Niall Blair and NSW Farmers’ President Derek Schoen presented Mr Arena with his award at a function in Sydney.
Mr Blair said Mr Arena is a leader within the land based fish production industry and is committed to promoting the State’s primary industries sector.
“Nick has been recognised for his outstanding farm management skills and innovation.
He has implemented business monitoring systems to improve the efficiency of his operations, including an alert system which tracks water flow, airflow and power supply, daily water testing, fish behaviour and growth production reports,” said Mr Blair.
“I congratulate Nick on this recognition and wish him the best of luck as he prepares to open his own retail shop to sell his barramundi and vegetables.”
NSW Farmers’ President, Derek Schoen said all four NSW Farmer of the Year finalists were industry leaders and committed to safety and environmentally sustainable practices with profitable production.
“Mr Arena along with Casey Cooper a beekeeper from Tinga; Jock Nivison a mixed farmer from Walcha and Peter Matuszny a free range egg farmer from Taree are all clearly hard working and innovative leaders who are passionate about farming,” Mr Schoen said.
“Its primary producers like this year’s finalists that ensure the food and fibre we all get to enjoy are of a high standard.”
The annual NSW Farmer of the Year award recognises the best farmers in NSW, focusing on their agricultural management skills, their use of innovation, profitability, environmental sustainability and community involvement.
The Award is proudly presented by the NSW Department of Primary Industries and NSW Farmers, with support from The Land and SafeWork NSW.
Mr Arena has received a cash prize of $10,000 and the other finalists received $2,000 each.