The Agricultural Town of the Year Award, proudly presented by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) and Solstice Media, highlights the vital role that agriculture plays in the regional landscape – being the backbone of most regional communities.

This year the program received 70 town nominations and over 5,000 votes to help determine the Top 5 finalists for the 2020 Agricultural Town of the Year Award!

Top 5 finalists for the 2020 Agricultural Town of the Year Award!

Kapunda

Region: Barossa Gawler Light Adelaide Plains
Known for:
Livestock Meat and Wool | Cereal Crops | Grapes (wine and table)
Council:
Light Regional Council
Population:
2,598
The Kapunda farming community has embraced science, adapting new technologies and fostering a culture of innovation which has resulted in greater production and/or increased productivity in agriculture and viticulture.

Agricultural Overview

A least 46 per cent of the Barossa Valley’s vineyards are situated within the Light Regional Council’s boundary. Industries in the town connected to agriculture are exporters, employers and innovators in the sector, whilst the farming community are the backbone of community programmes.

Regional growth is supported by job creation and retention and generating ways to attract people to the regions. As a result of building a new $20m pellet producing mill, JT Johnsons employed extra staff with a further positive impact coming in the form of indirect employees, e.g. transport and mechanical staff. The company’s staff numbers currently stand a 105. Its adoption and promotion of biosecurity measures has a significant impact on protecting the region and the state’s valuable agricultural assets.

The sector has a long history (dating back to the settlement of SA) that has been continued and expanded in our area. The recent opening of the new $10m Foodland Supermarket in Kapunda has provided our farmers and local community with a well-stocked facility with dozens of products not normally available in the town. It is estimated that prior to the opening of this supermarket that 70 per cent of the community shopped at nearby Nuriootpa, Gawler, Munno Para, Salisbury and Elizabeth. Lesser mileage and the costs associated have also meant more visitors to the town, and as a result more staff (including farmer’s family members) are employed in comparison to the former, now closed Foodworks supermarket.The sector has a long history (dating back to the settlement of SA) that has been continued and expanded in our area. The recent opening of the new $10m Foodland Supermarket in Kapunda has provided our farmers and local community with a well-stocked facility with dozens of products not normally available in the town. It is estimated that prior to the opening of this supermarket that 70 per cent of the community shopped at nearby Nuriootpa, Gawler, Munno Para, Salisbury and Elizabeth. Lesser mileage and the costs associated have also meant more visitors to the town, and as a result more staff (including farmer’s family members) are employed in comparison to the former, now closed Foodworks supermarket.

Community/Town Spirit

The Kapunda community and its industry have demonstrated resilience in the fact of drought and bushfires (in the instance of the Pinery Fire) and rebuilt its industries. JT Johnsons assured its farming suppliers of any help they could render, plus donated substantial supplier of food. Members of the Kapunda community are involved in leadership activities that contribute to growth in agriculture/regional development within their town and more broadly across the state. JT Johnsons, as members of the Australian Fodder Industry Export Committee and Agri Futures Export Hay Panel impart updates to its farming suppliers via an annual get-together and personally.

Kimba

Region: Eyre and Western
Known for:
Cereal Crops | Livestock Meat and Wool | Other Broadacre crops
Council:
District Council of Kimba
Population:
629
Kimba is leading the region’s reputation today as one of South Australia’s major grain belts, known for its high standard of product including: Grains, Meat & Wool whilst diversifying into other areas to ensure ongoing economic sustainability.

Agricultural Overview

The local Ag bureau Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group (BIG FIG)  is well known all over the state for being one of the high achievers when it comes to accessing funding and and running a large range of trials.This has helped not only our local community but has paved the way for a lot of farmers all over the state to try new farming practices to improve their soil health and make higher returns. This bureau is run by a young and highly motivated team of farmers that are always looking to find new ways to better manage what the farmers already have.

The District and surrounding areas as a whole have benefited from the growth in the area and the significant economic on flows to alternate businesses and organisations with the continual endurance of Kimba’s Ag Community through unprecedented times.

Kimba is a highly motivated progressive town that is only moving forward.

The biggest projects that Kimba is in the process of is the grains accumulation facility and truck stop proposed by  Eyre Hub which is another farming group of forward thinking farmers trying to value add to our grains industry and help support our town.

Eyre Hub has already had plans drawn up for the site and is currently in the process of finding funding and getting large grain companies on board. The truck stop which was only just an extra idea has now become one of the biggest potential add ons  and could provide a new way to help Kimba move forward into the future.

With Kimba being halfway across Australia and with the trucking industry being so hell bent on efficiency these days, this provides a great opportunity for Kimba to be the ideal place to be the new change over stop. Trucks can get to Kimba and home from every state with two up drivers without any lengthy stop overs.

Community/Town Spirit

Community hub set up in a disused tractor shop for makers, creators, hobbies and small businesses to help grow their businesses. The community is driven and committed to developing the Eyre Hub with visions of offering commodity storage of grain, Processing, bulk freight and other services.

More information

Kimba development group have sought to improve tourism features in the area namely the solar lit silo art.

“A town of forward thinkers, doing their best to improve Agriculture and the town as a whole.”

Parndana

Region: Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island
Known for:
Livestock Meat and Wool | Cereal Crops | Crops for Hay
Council:
Kangaroo Island Council
Population:
149
The farming community of Parndana works closely with tourism sector and conservation groups. Sheep farming practices have successfully diversified to ensure longevity and environmental conservation.

Agricultural Overview

There’s an excellent Agricultural Class at our Parndana Campus, allowing students to attain the knowledge required to build on the foundation of our unique farming community.

During the fires Parndana was the initial hub for coordinating the CFS fire response, until the town was evacuated. After the fires Parndana became the key location for recovery with Blaze aid setting up on the community oval, the local town hall became the depot for distributing clothing, food and household items to those who had lost everything and the Recovery Centre is still operating out of the old Health Centre. All these recovery activities have occurred to support the local fire impacted farming community.

Whilst the local community is the immediate beneficiary from the local ag sector, in reality the whole Island and state benefits. The farm land surrounding Parndana contributes economically and socially to the well being of the whole region. The town in turn supports the region providing goods and local support businesses, a school and the important social connection through the local pub and sporting fixtures.

Community/Town Spirit

After the fires, the town has banded together to rebuild primary industries to look ahead and not backwards. Also to help one another to get the farms back on track with their individual farms needs to keep primary industries going. The people of Parndana, with support from the wider community of Kangaroo Island came together , fought together and are rebuilding together, showing true grit and determination that are a tribute to the strength and resilience of small towns everywhere.

There is no doubt the agricultural production in the area would have been much worse for 2020 had the community of Parndana not acted in the selfless, brave and united way they did.

More information

Parndana was established after the Second World War to support the Soldier Settlement Scheme on Kangaroo Island. The name “Parndana” means “The Place of Little Gums”.

It was proclaimed in 1951, making it SA’s second youngest town after Roxby Downs.

“This vibrant little town effectively demonstrates the true meaning of community” – Kylie

Pinnaroo

Region: Murraylands and Riverland
Known for:
Vegetables | Livestock Meat and Wool | Cereal Crops
Council:
Southern Mallee District Council
Population:
547
Pinnaroo is a major centre for the surrounding wheat, barley, sheep and mixed farming area. Although the area is a traditional rural centre, the natural underground water supply is diversifying the land use with market gardening of potatoes and onions.

Agricultural Overview

Pinnaroo is the largest potato growing area in Australia and is also a broad acre farming district.

Community/Town Spirit

The Pinnaroo community is very progressive and committed to seeing the community thrive. The annual show exhibits wool, pets, plants and floriculture, farm machinery, traders and food stalls.

More information

“A progressive community that wants the community to thrive” – Andrea

Woodside

Region: Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island
Known for: Grapes (Wine and Table) | Fruit – Apples, Cherries and Pears | Livestock Meat and Wool
Council:
Adelaide Hills Council
Population:
1,870
Despite recent bushfires savaging the town and surrounding districts, the local farmers of Woodside are still producing and continuing to move forward after having lost crops, livestock and equipment. One thing the community and residents did not lose was their determination and love of the land.

Agricultural Overview

With a number of iconic South Australian businesses, Woodside is a strong community recovering from bushfires.

More information

On the fringe of Woodside is a collection of buildings used as an active army barracks from 1927 to 1981. After WWII it was used as a refugee camp, and again from 2010 to 2014, when refugee children attended local schools. The site has recently been purchased for housing development, which will be a great source of accommodation for seasonal workers in the agricultural sector.

In January 2020 Woodside hosted a stage start of the Santos Tour Down Under, bringing an international spotlight to the region and showcasing the resilience of the community, who were in recovery from the December 2019 bushfire. The community was so enthusiastic that their efforts won them Best Dressed Town for the 2020 competition.

Download the full list of finalists here.

Eligibility and criteria

Who was eligible to be nominated?

  • Any regional town in South Australia can be nominated and enter the South Australian Agricultural Town of the Year award. ‘Regional’ is defined by those towns that are located within Areas 1-6 on the PIRSA Regions Map here, and the McLaren Vale Preservation District, Virginia and Gawler.
  • For the purpose of this award, ‘agriculture’ refers to all primary industries – agriculture (field crops, horticulture, meat and livestock, dairy, grape and wine, forestry), and fisheries and aquaculture.
  • A town’s involvement in agriculture is not limited to farmers, but includes the wider community that supports the industry – e.g. shops, service providers, community activities.

Criteria: Click here to download the criteria.

Next Stages and Program Timeline

19 August 2020 to 18 September 2020 — Nominations
October to November 2020 — Online voting by the public and judging panel to determine the top 5 finalists
November to January 2021 — Entry by the 5 finalists
Mid-January to February 2021 — Regional visits to the 5 finalist towns
February 2021 — Announcement of the 2020 Agricultural Town of the Year
April 2021 — Community event

Next Stage:
The five finalists have been selected using the votes collected from the public and the independent judging panel.

The five finalist towns are now  invited to answer five specific questions about their towns to further persuade the judges why they deserve to be the 2020 Agricultural Town of the Year.

An independent judging panel will judge the submissions, which will be followed by regional town visits in January and February 2021.

As well as answering the additional questions, each of the finalist towns will be invited to submit a video, photo gallery or other creative elements they feel support their application. Entries will need to be completed by 8 January 2021.

The 2020 Agricultural Town of the Year will be announced in February 2021.

Program Overview

Introduced as a new award in 2019, the Agricultural Town of the Year Award recognises South Australian towns that are excelling in agricultural practices and the flow on effect they have on communities.

The Agricultural Town of the Year Award, proudly presented by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) and Solstice Media, highlights the vital role that agriculture plays in the regional landscape – being the backbone of most regional communities.

The program endeavours to provide an avenue where communities can learn from one another which will play a role in building capacity and increasing growth in regional South Australia.

*Population statistics shown are based on SSC, ULC or LGA 2016 census ABS website data.
**The information displayed is based on information provided by the nominators during the nomination stage of the program and any additional information easily found by Solstice Media or provided by councils.

2019 Event Program

2019 AGRICULTURAL TOWN OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNER

2019 Agricultural Town of the Year Award Winner

Cleve

Having faced the challenge of drought, Cleve’s community spirit and stories shared, are testament to the town’s resilience and creativity. A small community on the Eyre Peninsula, Cleve is an inspirational agricultural town that has employed a range of activities to improve efficiency and morale.

These include:

  • initiatives aimed at improving physical and mental health
  • continuing to drive farm innovation through field days and other programs
  • encouraging agricultural education programs at the local area school

The agriculture industry in the Cleve area contributes more than 74% of the region’s exports, making it a major contributor to the South Australian economy.

2019 Finalists

2019 REGIONAL SHOWCASE EVENT

2019 Regional Showcase Event