Dairy farmers celebrated at awards night

Dairy farmers and industry members came together to celebrate and acknowledge their peers at the 2024 Great South West Dairy Awards.

The awards – across six categories – were handed out at a gala dinner, held in Warrnambool on Thursday 16 May. 



Greg and Kim Wilson, who share farm at Irrewillipe, took out the premier award of the night – The  Dairy Farm Business Management Award, sponsored by Dairy Australia’s Our Farm, Our Plan. Judges praised the Wilsons for their exemplary integration of drive, knowledge and capital to achieve solid business returns. 


“The hands-on approach, which sees them close to the operations of the farm every day, is complemented by a big picture and long-term view of where they want to be. Also impressive is their awareness of things that present risks to their business and the strategies put in place to mitigate these,” said the judging panel. 


The runner up Business Management Award went to Harold Benzon from Minhamite. 


Rachael McGrath received the Young Dairy Leader Award, sponsored by the Gardiner Foundation, for her active contribution to the dairy sector and her community. Alongside her family, Rachael farms in Orford – milking 400 cows with stud Jerseys and Brown Swiss. 


Examples of Rachael’s commitment are her involvement in the Dairy Australia Dairy Ambassador Program, Western District Jersey Breeders Club and WestVic Dairy Young Dairy Leadership Team. Judges praised Rachels leadership qualities and her profound understanding of the importance of collaboration and communication in fostering positive change.


“Rachael’s accomplishments serve as a testament to her dedication and hard work in the dairy industry. Her willingness to promote dairy in a positive light is truly commendable and makes her very deserving of this award,” commented the judges. 


The Runner up Young Dairy Leader Award went to Chloe Brown, who farms in Kirkstall. 


Kerry-Leigh Hume was honoured with the Employee Award for her dedication and teamwork at the Aurora Daires Glenfyne farm, where she is the 2IC. Kerry has been an employee there for two years and has taken opportunities to develop and learn, currently completing a Certificate IV in Agriculture. 


Judges were impressed by Kerry’s strong work ethic, high standards and excellent organisation and team building skills.


“Kerry’s passion for the industry and ability to maintain an effective and connected team makes her a worthy recipient of the award,” said the judges. 


Runner up for the Employee Award was Gregor Mews, who farms at Southern Cross. 


Managing Director of Maher Refrigeration and Electrical and Maher Pumps and Irrigation, Eamon Maher, won the Service Provider Award, sponsored by WestVic Dairy. Based in Naringal East, the business specialises in dairy construction and upgrades. Judges deemed Eamon a fitting winner of this award because he goes above and beyond to meet farmer needs.


The Harris family from Larpent received the Natural Resource Management and Sustainability Award, sponsored by the Corangamite Catchment and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authorities. On the farm, Alistair Harris has installed solar pumps, established native shelterbelts, and used effluent water for irrigation and yard wash.


“Alistair is a worthy winner as he demonstrates a strong commitment to natural resource management, motivated by building on a family legacy to pass on the farm to the next generation in a better condition,” commented the judges. 


The Aurora Dairies Poorinda team were runners up for this award.  


The event also recognised Lisa Findlay with the Farm Photo Award sponsored by Lactalis Australia Pty Ltd. for her piece 'Generations in the Dairy'. Sarah Cole was runner up with her photo ‘October’. 


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