News Article

Gippsland talent and success shines in 2020

   Sunday 29th November, 2020

The best of the best in Gippsland’s Food & Fibre sector have been named in an online presentation of the 2020 Food & Fibre Gippsland Excellence in Agribusiness Awards.

With gala dinners and large gatherings a distant memory in a covid-19 impacted year, the awards were hosted by highly acclaimed food writer for The Age Good Food, Richard Cornish and “premiered” online on November 20 on the Food & Fibre Gippsland website, where it remains available to view anytime.

Greenham Gippsland claimed the premier award; Gippsland Agribusiness of the Year, a well-deserved acknowledgement for the 100% Australian owned family company who for six generations have purchased livestock from thousands of Australian suppliers.

Since the early 1900’s, Greenham has been a significant player the Australian domestic and export meat industry. Over this period the business has developed a hard-earned reputation for quality and food safety.

Greenham have been in Gippsland since 2017 when they purchased an abattoir site in Moe. Since then, they’ve invested heavily in the equipment for expansion, supported the employment of local staff and developed their Never Ever program which is all about sourcing and certifying a natural 100% grass fed beef for their Bass Strait Gippsland brand, a very unique product offering.

Rob Bayley from Blackwood Piggery was named Young Agribusiness Leader of the Year for his impressive leadership at a local, state, and national level, for the pork industry, and agriculture as a whole.

And in a new premier award for 2020, Gabrielle Moore, co-founder of Sailors Grave Brewery was named Female Agribusiness Leader of the Year for not just her success in the establishment of the Sailors Grave brand and business, but her for passion for the region, generous support and mentoring of other businesses, and genuine collaborative spirit.

Across the three premier awards and the 12 category awards, the calibre of the finalists was impressive, and the final scores were very tight between the eventual winners and the three runners up.

Warragul Farmers Market were awarded the Excellence in Service to the Food & Fibre Industry Award, a nod to the tireless efforts of the volunteer committee to create and continue to build a thriving monthly community event where people can connect with the producers of their food.

On the back of being announced Gippsland Agribusiness of the Year in 2019, Flavorite Tomatoes remained in the winner’s circle, taking the Excellence in Sustainability Award.

The Excellence in Workforce Capability Award featured two winners; Jaydee, Cows Create Careers for their work with schools building awareness and interest in a career in the dairy industry, and Victoria Valley Meats for their impressive efforts in workplace culture, training, and retention.

Venturing into the development of a low volume high value product has been a great success so far for South Gippsland Dairy – their bio colostrum range of products now being exported and attracting new domestic customers daily. Their vision and growth have been recognised in being announced winners of the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award.

The Food & Drink Manufacturing award has been split into two categories, small and large in 2020 – one for businesses with less than 10 employees and the other for businesses with more than 10 employees.

South Gippsland cellar door destination, Gurney’s Cidery claimed the small category and ViPlus put their name on the large category trophy.

Another new award was the Excellence in Fibre Industry – won by Radial Timber for their highly unique, sustainable timber product utilising plantation timber sawn like a cake to minimise waste.

Research and Development is a vital part of the ongoing success and growth of the food and fibre sector, and there is a growing number of farms and producers around the region and beyond whose pastures are reaping the benefits of the technology and system developed by the 2020 winner of this category, Soilkee. Niels Olsen’s internationally patented technology is a power take off driven implement that reverses soil depletion, sequesters soil carbon, enhances soil fertility, and increases productivity.

Outside of the specific fibre industry award, another timber business, Alberton Timber, impressed the judges and claimed the Excellence in Innovation award – recognition for the significant upgrade program they have undertaken for their sawmill that has resulted in a significant increase in capacity; improvement in working conditions for their staff; and an increased ability to minimise waste.

As one of Australia’s leaders in the horticulture industry, Hussey & Co is a grower, packer and distributor renowned for producing high quality gourmet baby leaf salad mixes. In what has been a tough year for exporters, their ongoing international success has been recognised, in being awarded the Excellence in Exporting award.

Collaboration is king with a growing number of businesses in Gippsland, and in the far East, the leadership of Sailors Grave Brewing in this space has been formally acknowledged via their name on the Excellence in Collaborative Partnerships trophy for 2020.

Change is always happening in the food & fibre sector and businesses who plan and manage it are the ones who thrive. One such business is Schreurs & Sons, who have increased their Gippsland footprint and made profitable changes as they have grown the Middle Tarwin base. Their vision and efforts resulted in the highest score from the judges, making them the Excellence in Adaption to Change winners.

Food & Fibre Gippsland CEO, Nicola Pero congratulated the winners.

“The diversity of food & fibre businesses we have across the region is reflected in this year’s winner list, we are so proud of their success and what they contribute to the Gippsland community and economy “.

The 2021 program will launch in March next year, and with a number of discussions already underway, it promises to be even bigger and better with a possible special new premier award to be revealed.