Leaders in biosecurity awarded

QUEENSLAND cattle farmer Melinee Leather and Yarra Valley strawberry grower Luciano Corallo were announced the winners of the Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia's 2019 Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year award this week.
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Banfield Station in Banana won Producer of the Year.

Melinee Leather was nominated for her on-farm management practices, which are routinely on display when hosting industry leaders and up-and-comers for farm tours and workshops.

Animal Health Australia's (AHA's) CEO, Kathleen Plowman said Melinee and her husband Rob have been at the forefront of the biosecurity conversation in the cattle industry for many years.

"Their on-farm practices speak for themselves, and their willingness to open their property and share insights with both Australian farmers and international guests reflects their drive to make a real difference," Plowman said.

"This is what has made them leaders in the industry," she said.

Strawberry grower Luciano Corallo was also nominated for his preventative approach to disease and pest management, as well as his active participation in surveillance and his willingness to host biosecurity workshops on-farm and share his knowledge with the industry.

Plant Health Australia's (PHA's) executive director and CEO, Greg Fraser, said Luciano has shown not only his commitment to on-farm biosecurity, but also a firm understanding of its importance to the wider industry.

"He plays an active role in encouraging others to take proactive steps to secure their farms, made all the more effective by his enthusiasm for demonstrating his own on-farm practices," Fraser said.

Both Plowman and Fraser agreed that both winners deserved to be recognised for their outstanding contributions in encouraging uptake of on-farm biosecurity practices.

"Producers play a vital role in biosecurity, not just for themselves but for the industry as a whole," Plowman said.

"The more we do to highlight and show what best-practice looks like and provide help to implement these practices, the better. But for this, we need leaders to step up and share their insights," Fraser said.