Report and photos provided by the Macquarie Cotton Growers Association
The Annual MCGA awards dinner was held on Friday the 26th August at the Savannah Room at Western Plains Zoo. A crowd of 145 people were in attendance and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere to catch up and socialise with all members of the different areas of the Cotton Industry. Julie Wise and Amanda Thomas did a stellar job of being MC’s for the night, adding some light-hearted anecdotes.
Michael Egan presented an update of the work MRFF have been doing in regard to water policies and reform. They have improved political relations and believe that the impacts of the basin plan felt by our communities are now being considered. He also introduced Grant Buckley the new MRFF Executive Officer and thanked Susan Madden the outgoing executive officer for her hard work and wished her well in her new role on the MDBA Board.
This year there were five awards – with a new award for best farm photo “Life on a cotton farm”.
Ben Egan from “Kiameron” was recognised as the Tracserv Young Achiever of the Year Award for his extensive work with promoting the cotton industry through education packages including the Archibull Art for Ag Program.
The highly esteemed Jim Beale Memorial Services to the Industry Award was awarded to Michael Bennett of “Kirkton” Narromine. Tony Wass presented this award reminding us that Jim Beale was one of those rare people in our lives, who had no enemies and countless friends. He had a remarkable capacity to think outside the square and to get around a problem and present a solution. Michael Bennett who unfortunately was unable to attend the awards night was presented this award for his tireless work in the cotton industry for more than 25 years. Among his efforts include being on NSW Irrigators Council since 1986, founding member of MRFF, served as chairman for three years and been the committee in some capacity since its inception in 1996. Michael was a previous winner of the Jim Beale Award but it was felt given that he is now stepping down from many of his roles it was a fitting time for the Macquarie Valley Cotton Growers Association to acknowledge the work he has done for our industry.
Tony Wass accepting the Jim Beale Memorial Award on behalf of the 2016 recipient, Mike Bennett
The Suncorp Top Field Award was based on the highest ginned yield of any field over 40Ha. The four Macquarie Valley gins supplied the names of their ten highest yielding fields, and the growers were contacted to have the option to opt in or out of the competition. The winners were the “Dickson Family of “Marebone” Warren were the winners with an outstanding result of 17.23b/ha on 57 ha field.
Dickson Family - "Marebone"
The Chesterfield Farm of the Year Award was split into two categories, an above the average hectares for the valley and below the average hectares for the valley. The winner of the above average farm was again the “Dickson Family” of “Marebone” Warren with a farm average of15.5/ba/ha over 264 ha. The below the average hectares winner was Brad and Sally Anderson” of “Ningawalla Narromine, with 16.1b/ha over 80 ha.
Anderson Family - "Ningawalla"
The final award for the night was the Best Farm Photo – “Life on a Cotton Farm” sponsored by Ag N Vet was won by Angus O’Brien. With Sam Hankin of “Haddon Rig “ and Rob and Susannah Tuck of “Newhaven” being the 1st and 2nd runners up respectively.
“The night owes a lot of its success to the generosity and support of our sponsor especially the Gold Sponsor CSD, other sponsors included Tracserv, Chesterfield Australia, Suncorp, Ag N Vet, Darling Irrigation, Monsanto, Namoi Cotton, Rabo, Tahlee Consulting, Louis Dreyfus, Delta, CGS, Auscott Limited, Landmark, Qld Cotton and Padman Stops.”