Media release

Arable farmers honoured with inaugural awards

June 29, 2017
The best and brightest of the country’s arable industry was celebrated and honoured at last night’s Federated Farmers’ Arable Industry Conference and AGM at Lincoln.
At the climax of the industry’s annual get together was the presentation of two inaugural awards.
Mid-Canterbury farmer Eric Watson was crowned Federated Farmers /Bayer Arable Farmer of the Year with Karen Williams from the Wairarapa awarded Federated Farmers’ Biosecurity Farmer of the Year.
"Karen’s achievement is deserved recognition for her leadership and advocacy for farmers in the pea weevil biosecurity response," says Arable Industry Chair Guy Wigley.
"Alongside our Wairarapa Provincial President Jamie Falloon, they were both influential components in the development of the response costs package for Wairarapa pea growers and staunch advocates for farmers and growers in the pea weevil response." 
Karen was an integral part of the grower group spending many hours working alongside farmers and MPI. All of this voluntary and all to make a bad situation for growers better.
"Without Jamie and Karen’s hard work, tenacity and leadership, we believe farmers and growers wouldn’t have got the right outcomes in the response," Guy said.
This inaugural award would hopefully inspire other arable farmers to look at ways and opportunities to improve their on-farm biosecurity and reporting of any unwanted pests, weeds or diseases.
Newly crowned Bayer Arable Farmer of the Year, Eric Watson, is a Guinness World Record holder after his feat of producing the highest wheat yield of 16.791 tonnes eclipsing- the previous record of 16.519 tonnes.
Mr Watson and wife Maxine are widely regarded for their innovative thinking and knowledge of overseas technologies, which they utilise to improve on-farm productivity.
"This is a fitting reward; Eric has contributed to research in the arable industry since the inception of the Foundation for Arable Research. He has hosted trials and other research plots on his farm over the last 20 years, which has translated into productivity lifts for the entire arable sector.
"Eric is a quiet and unassuming leader. He lets his farm’s performance do the talking. This award recognises his current achievements and ongoing leadership in our industry," Guy said.
Bayer’s Scott Hanson said, "Leaders in the industry like Eric, promote New Zealand all over the world. His recent achievement of gaining the wheat world record certainly has helped put us [NZ] on the world stage. Bayer congratulates Eric being honoured as Arable Farmer of the Year, it is well deserved".
Federated Farmers congratulates both winners and looks forward to the awards becoming a much anticipated part of the industry conference in years to come.
"Success in the arable industry typically flies under the radar compared to other agri-sectors in New Zealand. It is long overdue that we recognise the outstanding contribution arable farmers make to the industry and the country in general," said Guy.