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Australia: Past ‘Farmers of the Year’ reflect on success ahead of 2020 awards

Australian potato farmers Susie and Gerard Daly were named Farmers of the Year in 2019, and the exposure from the win has boosted their business. Jane McNaughton reports for ABC Rural.

The family runs a potato farm in Dunalley, on Tasmania’s south-east coast, and has spent the past couple of months ramping up their business amid increasing demand due to COVID-19.

“For us it’s been a godsend, in that people are staying at home and cooking so we saw the fresh potato market increase by 40 per cent nationally in the first month of the epidemic,” Ms Daly said. “It is back to normal now, but we’re doing well and we’re happy with that.”

The Daly family said they are not “competition-enterers”, so they were surprised but pleased to find out they’d been crowned winners, after their daughter nominated them for the award.

“I encourage anybody to apply for it because it’s a great experience,” Ms Daly said. She believes many farmers don’t give themselves enough credit for what they do and the diverse range of skills they have to have to develop. “Farmers should stand up and be proud of what they do.”

As part of the award they’ve travelled and met the winners of all the other categories, but it was also a great recognition for everyone involved in their business.

“It was a lot about everybody that have helped us along the way and we’ve had lots of help,” Ms Daly said.

To enter yourself, or someone you know, go to www.farmeroftheyear.com.au for all the details. Categories include Young Farmer, Rural Community Leader, Rural Consultant, Farming Legend and Agricultural Student of the Year, as well as the overall Australian Farmer of the Year. Nominations for 2020 close May 25.

Source: ABC Rural

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