Lockyer Valley farmer wins the top horticulture award
IT'S no surprise Anthony Staatz is an exceptional farmer.
He's the fifth generation of his family to farm in the Lockyer Valley which now primarily grows lettuce varieties for the Australian consumer.
But farming goes beyond planting a crop and producing lettuce, baby cos and baby spinach - it's innovation and commitment to farming that's the key to success.
Lettuce makes up about 70% of what's grown by Mr Staatz and his team.
They supply Coles supermarkets with 40% of their lettuces between May and November.
Mr Staatz's dedication to horticulture has proven noteworthy as he was awarded AUSVEG's Grower of the Year last Wednesday in Adelaide.
The award commends outstanding achievement across all aspects of vegetable and potato production, including growing, environmental management, staff management and quality of produce.
Unsure of how he was nominated, Mr Staatz said he was very honoured to receive the award.
"I'm very proud that we won it,” Mr Staatz said.
"It lifts the profile for horticulture on a national sense (and) it puts the Lockyer Valley in context of being one of the better growing regions.”
It's the first time Mr Staatz has been named Grower of the Year.
His victory keeps the award in Queensland for the fourth consecutive year.
This year alone, innovative changes to Koala Farms have included advancements in the nursery, which included protective cropping, allowing the roof of the nursery to open and close depending on the weather.
They've invested into soil health and using compost to get the best out of the crops and introduced new human resources practices to further leadership and communication.
The Grower of the Year award is the highest accolade for members of the industry, and AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside said to reach such a level of recognition was an impressive achievement.
"Anthony is constantly looking for new technologies and practices to adopt on-farm in an effort to increase efficiencies and improve productivity of his farming methods,” Mr Whiteside said.