Brendon Hoyle (left), with Nick Koch of Corteva Agriscience, ‘Farmer of the Year’ Award Sponsor
Growing the sweetest berries is an art and a science according to Brendon Hoyle, who has been named as the organic industry’s Farmer of the Year for 2022.
Brendon, who is co-owner and operator of Ashbern Farms in Queensland, received the title at the Australian Organic Industry Awards at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley on Friday, hosted by peak industry body Australian Organic Limited (AOL).
“This is such a privilege, and an achievement our team is proud to share for all the hard work, not only in growing but picking and packing and tackling the challenges along the way,” Brendon said.
“We’re never satisfied with just excellence – we continually aim to reach new heights by analysing and improving our growing technique.
“We want to be innovative and keep staying abreast of current trends, acquiring knowledge of worldwide research, and partnering with experts to help us achieve our goals.
“That’s where I get my biggest reward, understanding how the crops function and how they work and quality checking at all stages to produce the best experience in the punnet for our customers.
“It’s not always easy, especially with the weather!”
Ashbern Farms grows organic winter strawberries across 4.2 hectares of land on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, as well as conventional summer strawberries in Stanthorpe.
Working with entomologists, Brendon uses eight biological control agents (beneficial insects) and has built a bug vacuum to control fruit fly and Rutherglen bug. He measures soil moisture, electrical conductivity and temperature with cloud-based monitoring probes and advocates for registration of inputs to use in the organic industry.
“Being a part of the organic industry has enabled a paradigm shift, challenging our conventional growing methods and leading us to strive for more sustainable solutions to farming practices,” he said.
“We involve our team to help solve issues, drawing on their farming experiences and giving them a chance to be directly involved with a vested interest in the business.
“Consumers need to know that the industry is growing rapidly and a range of organic products are becoming more accessible.”
AOL Chief Executive, Niki Ford, said the calibre of all five finalists in the Farmer of the Year category was first class.
“These Awards are much-deserved recognition for our talented and dedicated producers, but also a celebration of the contribution our $2 billion industry makes to the health and wellbeing of our fellow Australians,” Ms Ford said.
AOL thanks Corteva Agriscience for its sponsorship of the Farmer of the Year category.
Photos of the Industry Award winners can be viewed at this link.
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More about Australian Organic Limited (AOL)
Australian Organic Limited (AOL) is the peak industry body engaging with government and
industry to promote the commercial and social interests of those who are certified and
protect the integrity of the certified industry against fraud and misleading organics. AOL
has been at the foundation of organics since 1987 and is identified by the most recognised
mark in Australia, the Australian Certified Organic Bud trademark. This trademark signals
the highest of integrity and is recognised by 63 per cent of Australian consumers