MILLEWA farmer Malcolm Lynch is the 2020 winner of the David Roget Award for Excellence.

Malcolm was presented with the prestigious award at the recent Mallee Sustainable Farming Research Update hosted at the Lake Cullulleraine Yacht Club late last month by Federal Member for Mallee, Dr Anne Webster.

Malcolm was one of three nominees for the award and was given a unanimous nod by the selection committee for his investment in innovative solutions to diversify and strengthen his mixed farming enterprise; his commitment to good grazing management and soil stewardship, and his positive mindset and mentoring of others in his community during the recent challenging seasons.

The David Roget Award for Excellence was created by Mallee Sustainable Farming in 2014. It is named in memory of the late David Roget who worked with the CSIRO for more than 30 years as a sustainable ecosystems researcher. “It was David Roget who said: “Farming systems aren’t fixed in stone – they are dynamic. New technologies come along, new issues come along. The system will adapt and change, and change very much in relation to the economic drivers.”

As far back as 1997, David Roget and a number of significant Mallee growers developed an initiative to encourage the uptake of no-till farming and continuous cropping in the Mallee – to improve grain production and simultaneously reduce the loss of top soil. That marked the ‘birth’ of the Mallee Sustainable Farming group.”David’s work has left a lasting legacy for low rainfall farming systems which is evident in improved farming practices adopted across the Mallee in Victoria, SA and NSW,” MSF executive chair, Daniel Linklater, said.

“The award recognises an individual, business or group who has made a significant contribution to dryland farming production systems in the Mallee Sustainable Farming region.

“I am very pleased to say that this year’s recipient ticks all the boxes

“MSF believes Malcolm is an excellent candidate for the award given that he has diversified and strengthened his mixed farming enterprise during a time of extreme challenge, whilst maintaining a strong focus on conservation farming principles.

“He is someone who has transformed their business over recent years to become more resilient.

“Malcolm has diversified from an intensive cropping operation into a mixed enterprise with a strong focus on lot-feeding and lamb production; combined grazing management with strong conservation farming principles and who, while doubling throughput each year, has always kept an eye on maintaining adequate ground cover.

“He is thirsty for knowledge, has embraced technology, with investments to drive efficiency and maximise animal conversion.

“He also accepts that as farmers he will face challenging years, and that in these times we must make the best of a bad situation.”

Mr Linklater described Mr Lynch as a “courageous, generous, and deserving winner.”

In turn, Mr Lynch thanked MSF and said he was humbled by the recognition.

“The calibre of nominations received each year is high and MSF will continue to recognise outstanding individuals, groups and businesses through this award into the future,” Mr Linklater promised.

The call for nominations for the 2021 award will be made near the end of the year.