The credentials of Queensland’s cane-growing industry as an important guardian of the Great Barrier Reef were highlighted, with two of the industry’s most innovative and inspiring growers recognised for their efforts at the 2018 Reef Alliance Awards.
CANEGROWERS Mackay member Gerard Deguara took out the marquee award during 2018’s presentation dinner in Yeppoon, where he was presented with the prestigious Prince of Wales Environmental Leadership – Reef Sustainability title for his innovative and sustainable farming practices.
Another member of Mackay’s Deguara clan, Philip Deguara, picked up the Reef Pesticide Champion Award.
Congratulating the winners, CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said the inclusion of so many cane industry representatives amongst the finalists highlighted the important role that industry farmers are playing in improving environmental outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef.
“These innovative and forward-thinking farmers are not only outstanding ambassadors for our industry, they are an inspiration to their fellow growers and are thoroughly deserving of this recognition,” Mr Galligan said.
“At a time when the agricultural sector as a whole is coming under intense scrutiny for its farming practices, these growers are showing the community that farmers, not governments, are the best stewards of our land and waterways.
“Through innovation, adoption of best management practices, and collaboration with government and the scientific community, these growers are ensuring that our industry maintains its social licence to operate.
“It’s worth nothing that while they may be some of our finest, they are far from alone in their efforts to continually improve farming practices. In fact, they are just the tip of the iceberg.
“Right across Queensland’s cane-growing industry, farmers are striving day-in, day-out to continually improve on-farm practices as they work to boost productivity and profitability, while minimising their environmental footprint.
“It’s important the community knows that farmers take seriously their role as custodians of the land for future generations.”
Mulgrave’s Rossi brothers, who shared in the Reef Community Champion award for their work with the Mulgrave Landcare and Catchment Group, were among a number of other deserving sugar industry finalists.
Full details of all finalists can be found on the Queensland Farmers’ Federation website.