QUEENSLAND farmer, Stephen Burgess, whose passion for sustainable agriculture saw him develop a fertiliser efficiency program for broadacre cropping, has won the 2016 Bob Hawke Landcare Award.
Formerly the McKell Medal, the Bob Hawke Landcare Award was first awarded in 2012 and is presented every two years.
It acknowledges an individual who has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to caring for the land; champions better land management practices; and gives their time to share knowledge with others so that they too can prosper.
Presenting the award at the 2016 National Landcare Awards gala dinner in Melbourne last night, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker, said it recognised an outstanding champion of the land who promoted best practice techniques and inspired enthusiasm and knowledge in others.
“Mr Burgess is a very deserving recipient of the Bob Hawke Landcare Award and will be awarded $50,000 to further develop his knowledge and skills in Landcare and sustainable land management practices,” Minister Hartsuyker said.
“Mr Burgess has run Wurraglen Nature Refuge in Dagun, Queensland, for nearly 20 years, focusing on sustainable market farming and light grazing.
“He is an enthusiastic and practical supporter of sustainable agriculture, having previously developed ‘NPDecide’, a program widely adopted in the WA Wheatbelt to improve fertiliser efficiency and reduce leaching losses.”
Minister Hartsuyker said Mr Burgess possessed all the qualities that would define the future of effective natural resource management across Australia’s natural environment, farms and communities.
“We can only improve agricultural productivity if the future of our precious natural resource base is assured,” he said.
“So the work of Mr Burgess—and every finalist in this award—has a genuine impact not only on the health of our land, but on the prospects of the nation.
“I very much look forward to exploring new opportunities with him into the future.”
Minister Hartsuyker also acknowledged award finalists Gwendolyn Adams, from Tasmania, and Glenn Morris, from NSW.
“All three finalists of the Bob Hawke Landcare Award represent the dedication and knowledge of sustainable agriculture and the Landcare movement,” he said.