New Zealand agricultural leaders recognised in 2018 Growth Awards

Press Release
Syngenta Growth Awards winners 2017
2017 Growth Awards winners visiting Syngenta Jealott's Hill International Research Centre in the UK
  • 26 Regional Winners have been shortlisted from a pool of 36 nominees for the 2018 Syngenta Growth Award

  • Regional Winners are championing innovative and sustainable agricultural practices

  • Regional Winners will now progress to the final stage of the Awards

  • Final Australasian winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on 5 December, 2018

Four agricultural innovators from across New Zealand have been recognised for their positive impact on the industry by becoming regional winners in the 2018 Syngenta Growth Awards.

The Growth Awards, now in their fifth year, showcase growers and advisers whose innovative work is helping to ensure a sustainable future for Australian and New Zealand agriculture.

The Awards support the goals of Syngenta’s Good Growth Plan, which addresses the challenges of producing more with less, protecting the viability of farmland and promoting prosperous rural communities.

Under the plan, Syngenta is dedicated to a number of commitments to be achieved by 2020. They included increasing crop efficiency, improving land fertility, boosting biodiversity, empowering small landholders, keeping farm works safe and supporting fair labour conditions. The awards recognise people who are helping achieve those goals.

“The goal of the Growth Awards is to recognise growers and advisers who are making a difference to the industry through leadership, best practice and innovation,” said Paul Luxton, Territory Head – Australasia, Syngenta.

“These people are going about their roles in agriculture and horticulture striving to be the best in their chosen field, with the goal of producing more but in a sustainable manner.

“Their work and dedication make a difference to the future of agriculture.”

The Syngenta Growth Awards have three nomination categories: Productivity; Sustainability; and Community and People.

The four New Zealand regional winners are Rob Cox for Productivity, Hugh Ritchie and Jim Walker for Sustainability and Murray Turley for Community and People.

Rob Cox is an agronomist who runs his own company In-Depth Agronomy at Pukekohe, and works specifically in vegetable production. He continually looks for new ways to improve the timeliness of crop management.

Huge Ritchie, Principal of Drumpeel Farms at Hawke’s Bay, has adopted sustainable farming methods to improve his soils. A lifelong commitment to learning has seen him travel widely overseas and then bring back knowledge to share with local growers and the research community.

Murray Turley heads up a major farm business at Temuka and produces a range of vegetable crops, cereals and pasture seeds. He devotes large amounts of time to the broader industry holding roles on boards as diverse as flour milling, packhouses and irrigation authorities.

Jim Walker’s work with the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Ltd and especially his push for reducing the amount and toxicity of chemicals in apple production have led the world in terms of producing low residue fruit. Such has been the success of this program that other horticultural industries in New Zealand have adopted his principles.

The regional winners have been chosen based on rigorous selection criteria for each category and will now progress to the final stage of the awards.

The four New Zealand winners will join 22 others from across Australia. Final Australasian winners will be selected by an independent judging panel and announced at the annual Growth Awards gala dinner in Sydney on December 5. The winners will then participate in an overseas study tour of Europe and the UK in 2019.

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