An east Gippsland farmer was announced as the 2017 Australian Farmer of the Year at the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural awards in Canberra on August 16.
Andrew Bulmer, from Lindenow, manages the family-run Bulmer Farms which is credited as one of Australia’s largest producers of fresh salads.
Kondinin Group’s research general manager Ben White praised Mr Bulmer for his forward-thinking attitude towards his farming.
‘‘Andrew is an instrumental leader in the business and has great insight into the company’s direction, expanding it into new regions and making it a farm of the future,’’ Mr White said.
‘‘He is a tech-savvy early-adopter, seeking out innovative approaches to farming which have had positive impacts back to the business.’’
Mr Bulmer has a clear idea of the direction he wants to take Bulmer Farms and believes he needs to employ best practice and the global innovations available right now to make it a reality.
‘‘By implementing world’s best harvest and post-harvest technology, we have achieved significant efficiencies across the business,’’ Mr Bulmer said.
‘‘We brought a new harvester from the United States, which has increased our efficiency at harvest, giving us a better product to run through our wash-line.
‘‘Our washing and drying process has enabled us to package a product with minimal residual moisture, which has increased shelf life and opened up export opportunities through our marketing business, Green Acres Australia.
‘‘This has seen a 400 per cent increase in our washed salad business over the past 18 months.’’
Other category winners
■Young Farmer of the Year – Jason Smith of Cooriemungle, Victoria
■Farming Legend of the Year – John Bennett of Elizabeth Town, Tasmania
■Rural Community Leader of the Year – Kristy Sparrow of Alpha, Queensland
■Rural Consultant of the Year – Greg Mills of West Armidale, NSW
■Award for Excellence in Innovation – Rob Cook of Bucca, Queensland
■Award for Excellence in Technology – Lachlan Seears of Conmurra, South Australia
■Award for Excellence in Diversification – James Walker of Longreach, Queensland.