Future-focused young Queensland farmer rewarded

QUEENSLAND mango grower Benjamin Martin is the 2019 Young Farmer of the Year, sponsored by McDonald’s Australia.
Future-focused young Queensland farmer rewarded Future-focused young Queensland farmer rewarded Future-focused young Queensland farmer rewarded Future-focused young Queensland farmer rewarded Future-focused young Queensland farmer rewarded

ABC Rural and Kondinin Group 2019 Young Farmer of the Year is Ben Martin from Bowen, Qld.

Staff writer

Ben's win was announced on Wednesday at Parliament House, Canberra, as part of the annual Kondinin Group and ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.

Kondinin Group General Manager of Research, Ben White, said Ben is an enthusiastic young farmer with a vision for success and sustainability.

"At 35 years of age, Ben is incredibly active in industry associations, on-farm research and development and technology developments to assist growers in enriching their operations, all while running his own successful farm," Mr White said.

"As well as directly supplying Australia's major supermarket with fresh fruit through their Central Distribution Centres, Ben also markets his mangoes internationally and during the production window, supplies about 24 per cent of mango imports into New Zealand.

"His attention to on-farm operations and collaborative partnerships shows not only an outstanding on-farm focus, but an industry-wide commitment to sustainability which is highly commendable."

Ben manages a total of 20,000 trees across his and his parent's properties in Bowen, Queensland, and believes that to progress the development of the industry, growers must be willing to contribute.

"I have actively sought to expand the mango industry and improve productivity and environmental sustainability and have held discussions with government to expand export markets and look at best practice entry protocols," Ben said.

"On-farm, my focus is on fruit quality and production efficiencies to supply both domestic and international markets."

Ben has designed a highly productive, efficient farm operation using planting configurations and adopting specific harvest aid machines and custom designed spray equipment, which will help to minimise labour inputs and maintain fruit quality during harvest operations.

Robert Sexton, Chief Financial Officer at McDonald's Australia, said Ben's contribution to agriculture was considerable and it made him a very worthy recipient of this year's Young Farmer of the Year award.

"Ben is industry focused and commits large amounts of time and effort into improving the agriculture sector for the benefit of all growers, not just himself," Mr Sexton said.

"He is an instrumental part of the industry and his dedication is commendable, which is amazing for such a young farmer."

Ben is Chair of the Australian Mango Industry Association, the Vice Chairman of Bowen Gumlu Growers Association and is a member of the CRC for Developing Northern Australia - Transforming Mango Futures research panel.

He is also assisting in the development of an App for all aspects of fruit tracking from paddock to retailer.

"The program incorporates all workplace health and safety, quality documentation, consumables, daily production and costs, invoicing and all fruit packaged details," Ben said.

"The App enables real-time produce visibility from paddock to wholesaler."

The annual Kondinin Group and ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Awards have been running since 2010 and continue to recognise excellence in farming and farming communities across rural and regional Australia. The 2019 Awards are supported by Platinum Sponsor WFI.

Read more about 10 year celebrations here:

http://bit.ly/2VONbuP

And information on all of the 2019 award recipients can be found at www.farmeroftheyear.com.au