The stars of Hawke's Bay's primary sector have been celebrated for their "outstanding success" at an awards function at the Tomoana Showgrounds.
The 2020 Napier Port Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Awards are organised by the Hawke's Bay A & P Society, and on Wednesday night attracted about 500 people.
General manager, Sally Jackson said the society was "so proud" of the awards.
"They are long established and contribute significantly to the primary industry across the region. This year marks the 48th year of the Silver Fern Farms Hawke's Bay Farmer of the Year award and entrants across all categories have represented some of the finest and most innovative, industrious primary producers in the country and produce some of the highest quality food and fibre to be found anywhere in the world."
Chair of the awards Pete Tod said: "Once a year Hawke's Bay gets the opportunity to recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution as leaders in their field.
He stated "Our 2020 winners are all are achieving incredible heights within the sector, not only within Hawke's Bay, but throughout the country. They are at the pinnacle of their operations and they all have made a real difference to the industry".
The supreme Hawke's Bay Farming trophy, the Silver Fern Farms Hawke's Bay Farmer of the Year was awarded to Tim and Alice Nelson.
The award identifies, promotes and celebrates excellence in pastoral farming in Hawke's Bay and recognises those who are benchmarked in the top percentage of farmers and are paving the way within the sector.
Mathew Barham, Silver Fern Farms Hawke's Bay Farmer of the Year judging co-ordinator reported that despite Hawke's Bay heading into a deepening drought, the judges visited some impressive operations encompassing all types of livestock from the ranges to the coast.
The winning couple farm 315 hectares in the high country, running a Frisian bull trading and sheep breeding operation. The judges noted the outstanding monitoring, analysis, uptake of technology, involvement of professional mentorship, environmental management, planning and the astonishing animal performance made them a standout competitor.
The Silver Fern Farms Hawke's Bay Farmer of the Year Field Day is to be held on 12 November and Barham said it will be an "inspirational day out" and will provide an opportunity for the community to view the award-winning farm.
The Rural Directions Hawke's Bay Shepherd of the Year will be announced at the Field Day.
Horticentre Trust Hawke's Bay Horticulturalist of the Year was Cameron Taylor.
Judges said this category had been running only for two years and as with the first year, attracted a high calibre of finalists.
Judges noted that Taylor's contribution to the wider community and industry was "stand out.
"Serving on several industry boards including the New Zealand Apples and Pears board, Cameron's drive, dedication and hard work in the apple industry has ensured careers in the horticulture industry are at the forefront of school children's minds and that the hort industry remains strong for future generations."
Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst announced the Hastings District Council Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Industry Leader Award winner as Mike Petersen.
She noted that Petersen had held many transformational leadership positions over his career and first became known to the wider New Zealand rural landscape as the chairman of Meat and Wool NZ and then Beef + Lamb NZ from 2003 to 2014. He was also an independent director of Whangara Farms for more than 12 years and a director of the Wool Research Organisation of NZ for 15 years.
He had extensive governance experience in the primary sector and his current positions include chairman of Nui Markets, the independent chair of Pastoral Genomics since mid-2016, an independent director of Kelso Genetics Limited since November 2017, Totally Vets Limited since June 2017 and ANZCO Foods since June 2014.
The 2020 winners:
•Silver Fern Farms Hawke's Bay Farmer of the Year – Tim and Alice Nelson
•Horticentre Trust Hawke's Bay Horticulturalist of the Year – Cameron Taylor
•Pan Pac Hawke's Bay Farm Forester of the Year - Greg and Rachael Hartree
•Hastings District Council Primary Sector Industry Leader of the Year – Mike Petersen
•Unison Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Professional of the Year – Scott Small
•BWR Hawke's Bay Primary Sector Innovation Award - Agri-lab Co-Products Ltd
•Lawson Robinson Hawke's Bay Scholarship – Megan Hassall
•Laurie Dowling Memorial Award – Roy Fraser
•Rural Directions Hawke's Bay Shepherd of the Year – (To be announced at the Silver Fern Farms Hawke's Bay Farmer of the Year Field Day).