Michael Taylor named 2022 Australian Farmer of the Year

SIXTH-generation wool grower Michael Taylor, from Kentucky, New South Wales, is the outstanding recipient of the 2022 Australian Farmer of the Year Award.

Staff writer
 Michael Taylor, Kentucky, NSW, is the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2022 Australian Farmer of the Year.

Michael Taylor, Kentucky, NSW, is the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2022 Australian Farmer of the Year.

Micheal's win was announced today in Canberra at the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2022 Farmer of the Year Awards.

Michael has built a reputation around his future-focused approach to farming and his management of 4000 sheep, production of sustainable superfine Merino wool, mixed Angus cattle herd, timber mill and farm stay accommodation makes him an incredibly diversified primary producer.

Through tree planting and rotational grazing, Michael has increased stocking capacity, lambing percentages, reduced degradation, and sequestered carbon for the future.

"My family has been farming in the New England region of NSW for more than 180 years, and I would like to see them still farming this area for centuries to come. I have followed in my parent's footsteps of caring for our land with regenerative goals and showing how you can integrate both a successful grazing enterprise and agroforestry program," Michael said.

Ben White, General Manager of Research at Kondinin Group, said Michael's ability to run numerous enterprises in synergy, while keeping the care of his land at the forefront, is highly commendable.

"The diversification strategy Michael oversees on his multi-generational farming enterprise, and the success he is having adopting innovative practices, is remarkable. He deserves recognition for how the operation is working in synergy in the now, with clear and motivated acknowledgement of the future needs of the industry," Ben said.

Michael is an active member in the wool industry, supporting grower groups such as Tablelands Merino and as a founding member and director of Australian Ethical Merino Growers Co-operative.

Both grower groups, and the family's ongoing close relationship with Italian wool processors such as GS Schneider and Reda, demonstrate Michael's commitment to bridging the gap between growers and customers through education and traceability.

Recently he collaborated with Haute Couture designer Sofia Crociani and also local Australian brand Simple Chic, on separate projects to tell the story of sustainable wool growing.

Agroforestry has contributed significantly to Michael's farm, supporting his aim to run a sustainable and regenerative enterprise. As an active member of his local Landcare group and also as a director for Southern New England Landcare.

Michael's network and knowledge of agroforestry has been recognised nationally through awards and presentations, but most importantly as a local mentor for other farmers wanting to manage trees on their farms.

"Pursuing sustainable practices has been a focus of ours since the early 1980's. We manage 180 hectares of Radiata Pine and other mixed species, which we can mill on-site. We replenish what we harvest and are keen to share the importance of integrating agroforestry into modern farming operations."

Last year, Michael partnered with Southern New England Landcare to co-host an event focused on the concept of silvopasture - where trees and shrubs are incorporated into pastures for forage and grazing purposes.

Michael is the 12th winner of the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year award. The annual awards program has been running since 2010 and continues to recognise excellence in farming and farming communities across rural and regional Australia. The 2022 Awards are supported by Platinum Sponsor WFI.


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