Matthew and Rachel Hinkley, grain farmers from Derrinallum in south-western Victoria, received top gong in The Weekly Times Coles 2017 Farmer of the Year Awards, announced on 22 February 2018.
The Hinkleys were chosen from a nationwide field of outstanding farmers from sectors including cropping, sheep, beef, dairy and horticulture.
Presenting the award, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the husband-wife team was a standout example of modern farming practice, deploying innovation, practicality, hard work and sound business sense to improve and expand their cropping venture.
“In just 13 short years, the Hinkleys have grown their operation by a whopping 400 per cent to 1,460 hectares of predominantly grain and hay,” Minister Littleproud said.
“The couple’s farming business uses scientific ingenuity such as raised-bed cropping to avoid crop losses in wet years.”
“The Hinkleys embody the true ingenuity and resilience of the Australian farmer.”
Minister Littleproud said it was businesses like theirs that were helping to make 21st-century Australian agriculture an economic powerhouse contributing around $63 billion annually to the national economy.
“Every day, thousands of motivated Australians are working hard fixing fences, seeding, spraying and praying for rain to produce the world-class food and fibre the rest of us enjoy,” he said. “I congratulate all successful finalists.”
Farmer of the Year Award finalists
- Cropping Farmer of the Year – Matthew and Rachel Hinkley, Derrinallum VIC;
- Beef Farmer of the Year – Rosedale Charolais, Blayney NSW;
- Sheep Farmer of the Year – Yalgoo Genetics, Walcha NSW;
- Dairy Farmer of the Year – Dehne and Sarah Vinnicombe, Calivil VIC;
- Horticulture Farmer of the Year – Taste ‘N See Strawberries, Bellmere QLD; and
- Farm Magazine Innovative Farmer of the Year – Tasmanian Saffron, Glaziers Bay TAS.