NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair, and President of NSW Farmers, Derek Schoen have today announced the four finalists for the 2016 NSW Farmer of the Year Award.
Mr Blair said the finalists are leaders in their fields, who have demonstrated excellence in farming.
“The state’s $12 billion primary industries are in good hands, reflected by the high calibre of finalists we have in this year’s competition,” Mr Blair said.
Port Stephens is lucky enough to have our very own Nick Arena as one of the The 2016 finalists.
Nick Arena, who operates Tailor Made Fish Farm on 43 acres at Bobs Farm. They grow tropical barramundi species and produce hydroponic fancy lettuce, basil, parsley, buk choy and spinach. The enterprise also houses an on-site restaurant named Cook-a-Barra.
Nick told News Of The Area of his reaction when he was notified of the nomination.
“I was really excited and at the same time felt very proud as this is an acknowledgement of the many years of hard work, on a personal level it is a great sense of achievement to be recognised in this new industry ‘land-based aquaculture’ as it is a relatively new field and like all farming practices struggles to survive as seen most recently in the dairy industry, farming of any type can be a lot of hard work for very little returns.”
Mr Schoen said the finalists are great ambassadors for the agriculture industry.
“The Award acknowledges their achievements and determination to excel in their farming operations,” Mr Schoen said.
“They are driving innovation in efficient agriculture practices, strengthening biosecurity and utilising new research and technology to improve the profitability of their farming businesses.”
The winner of the 2016 Farmer of the Year will receive $10,000 and finalists will each receive $2,000. The Award is an initiative of NSW Farmers and NSW Department of Primary Industries, with support from The Land and SafeWork NSW.