This is branded content for Syngenta.
Empowering regional communities and a passion for securing the future of ag for the next generation are themes that underpin many of this year's Syngenta Growth Awards nominations, announced this week.
This year's cohort sees 33 nominees in the categories of Community & People, Productivity, Sustainability and Innovator, with nominations recognising leading growers, farm advisers and community leaders from different regions across Australia and New Zealand, nominated by Syngenta staff who have noted their contribution to the industry.
Paul Luxton, Managing Director and Country Head - Syngenta Australia and New Zealand says it's exciting to be able to kick off this year's proceedings by recognising a stellar group of nominees.
"Since the inaugural Growth Awards in 2014, this is the first time we've announced nominations before our regional finalists are decided.
"We received such a diverse and remarkable line up of nominations, we wanted to shine a light on all their achievements and recognise their amazing contribution to their local communities and the agricultural industry across both Australia and New Zealand," Mr Luxton said.
"The Growth Awards are like no other awards program in our industry.
"They recognise the interplay between not only our growers and advisers, but also those contributing to regional communities and the supply chains that surround the agriculture industry."
Mr Luxton said you can tell from the nominations they received that not only is there a sense of community empowerment, but entrants are also looking to the future of farming, and how they can overcome the modern challenges the industry faces.
"The agriculture industry can be volatile, but the last few years has seen strong optimism thanks to good growing conditions and commodity prices.
"The recent ABARES data reports the strongest year of farm production to date, which is great news for our industry.
"But we know that there are ebbs and flows in ag, and with that our industry is constantly looking at ways we can future-proof ourselves.
"Whether that is at the farmgate, throughout the supply chain, or in our regional communities - and these nominees are an example of people doing this day in and day out," Mr Luxton said.
"From Australian of the Year Local Hero recipient Shanna Whan to husband-and-wife sustainable paddock-to-plate farmers Fiona and Liam Mann, plus of course our advisers and agronomists who are always going above and beyond to support growers - this year's nominations are an amazing group, and will make our decision determine regional finalists and eventual category winners extremely difficult."
The next phase of the judging process will see nominees asked to complete a series of challenging questions designed not only to demonstrate their achievements and their expertise, but to uncover their views about collaboration across the industry and big picture topics from future agricultural challenges to food security.
After this, regional finalists across the four categories will be announced in June. The shortlisted nominees will not only be in the running for the overall titles, they will have the opportunity to join the 50 strong Growth Awards alumni program.
The Growth Awards support the goals of Syngenta's sustainability commitments outlined in the Good Growth Plan, which has four ambitious global commitments to reduce agriculture's carbon footprint and to help farmers deal with the extreme weather patterns caused by climate change.
The four commitments include accelerating Syngenta's innovation to provide solutions for farmers, striving for carbon neutral agriculture, both on farms and in their operations, a reduction in the carbon intensity of their operations by 50 per cent by 2030 to support the goals of the Paris Agreement, and lastly reinforcing their commitment to help people stay safe and healthy by training 8 million farm workers on safe use every year and striving for fair labour across the entire agri supply chain.
Syngenta is a leading agriculture company helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources. Through world class science and innovative crop solutions, our 28,000 people in over 90 countries are working to transform how crops are grown. We are committed to rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalising rural communities. To learn more visit www.syngenta.com.au and www.goodgrowthplan.com.
Learn more about this year's Syngenta Growth Awards nominations here