Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Biosecurity Farmer of the Year 2013

Plant Health Australia and Animal Health Australia congratulate the Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award finalists and winners, announced at the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards ceremony in Melbourne on 12 September.

And the winners are …

D Rowland, S Percival, F Bender, K PlowmanPeter and Frances Bender, Dover, Tasmania

An aquaculture business is the winner of the Animal Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award, with Peter and Frances Bender’s Tasmanian salmon and trout farm and processing operation demonstrating that biosecurity is not confined to dry land.

Peter and Frances diversified from cattle to salmon farming in 1988. Huon Aquaculture Company Pty Ltd has now evolved into a vertically integrated company, farming, processing and selling Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout products to domestic and international markets and employing more than 400 staff. More


H Kirkman, R CreaghRon Creagh, Nungarin, Western Australia

Ron Creagh with his wife Robyn and son Kim farm 13,000 hectares in the low rainfall shires of Trayning and Nungarin in the central wheat belt of Western Australia. It is a family business established by Ron’s grandparents in 1909 that has celebrated over 100 years of agriculture.

As a grain grower Ron sees biosecurity as both a good business and a good farming practice that is imperative to the overall success of his farming business. “It is a practice that begins at the farm-gate and plays a major part in my cropping program. The management of people and product onto the property have high priority,” said Ron. More

Meet the finalists …


J Talbot , C Cocker, S Percival, F Bender, K Plowman, J Halliday, R Halliday

John Talbot , Chris Cocker, Steve Percival, Frances Bender, Kathleen Plowman (AHA), Jacquie Halliday, Richard Halliday

Shelley and Chris Cocker, Barega, Tasmania

A first-hand experience with ovine Johne’s disease (OJD) seven years ago put wool producers Shelley and Chris Cocker on a crusade to help make other producers more aware of the disease and the biosecurity practices required to minimise the incidence of OJD.

Shelley and Chris were nominated for their biosecurity work on two fronts. The first is their implementation of biosecurity practices on their own merino farm ‘Barega’ and the second through Chris’ role as the Quality Assurance Manager at the Tasmanian Quality Meats (TQM) Abattoir in Cressy, Tasmania. More

Richard and Jacquie Halliday, Bordertown, South Australia

Richard and Jacquie Halliday from Bordertown, South Australia demonstrate that when it comes to managing ovine Johne’s disease (OJD), good communication is their biosecurity weapon of choice.

Thanks to their quick action and open communication with their neighbours and clients in managing their OJD experience, the Hallidays were chosen as one of three finalists in the  2013 Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award (animal category). More


L Bourke, H Kirkman, R Creagh, C Southern

Lindsay Bourke, Helen Kirkman (PHA), Ron Creagh, Clinton Southern

Lindsay Bourke, Launceston, Tasmania

Lindsay Bourke owns and operates the business Australian Honey Products Pty Ltd, which is based in Tasmania. He manages around 3,000 hives which produce honey and provide valuable pollination services for over 18 different crops.

In his former role as Chairman of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, Lindsay worked to improve biosecurity in the Australian beekeeping industry. More

Clinton Southern, Ayr, Queensland

Clinton Southern leases an 80 hectare sugarcane farm in Ayr, Queensland. He, like other cane growers, is trying to manage a crop affected by yellow canopy syndrome. No-one really knows what causes it yet, but it’s the cane growers who need to manage it.

He has gone back to basics and is looking to the past for ideas. To help overcome some of the effects of the disease, he has implemented a process called ‘stubble shaver’. “This is a system that was used over 30 years ago. The idea is to cut it deep to keep stalk root close to the ground. This looks promising so far,” said Clinton. More

Hosted by Kondinin Group and ABC Rural, and sponsored by Plant Health Australia and Animal Health Australia through Farm Biosecurity, the Biosecurity Farmer of the Year award recognises the efforts of producers dedicated to keeping their operations free of diseases, pests and weeds.

Winners of all award categories were announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on 12 September.