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2020 APAL Awards for Excellence – Nominations now open!

Industry Best Practice

The APAL Awards for Excellence are a fantastic way to acknowledge and recognise the outstanding contributions of those who help to shape our industry. 

Do you or someone you know constantly strive to improve our industry and fit into one of the following 2020 APAL Awards for Excellence categories?

2019 Award recipients (lt to rt) John Hearman, Bec Whittaker, and Harvey Giblett

These awards recognise the outstanding achievements of our industry’s most successful growers, researchers, people and businesses working across all areas of the supply chain – from production and processing through to marketing and export.


Announcement of winners

The apple and pear industry awards will be announced in the June Australian Fruit Growers magazine, with a more localized ceremony conducted in the coming months.

Due to the Governments restrictions on non essential events larger than 100 people the APAL Industry Forum – Awards Gala Dinner scheduled for Thursday 4 June in Melbourne has been cancelled.

The winner and runner-up of the award categories (except lifetime achievement) will be nominated for the National Hort Connections Awards. APAL will be confirming in the coming days how these Awards will be announced.


Nominations are now open and will close Monday 6 April 2020

Anyone can submit a nomination and all nominees will be assessed by APAL’s nominations committee and board. The award will only be granted if outstanding candidates are identified. Nominees must meet one or more of the criteria for their chosen award as shown below.

Individuals can be nominated for multiple categories. When completing the nomination form please ensure to address the selection criteria for all the categories.


Lifetime Achievement Award

Open to individuals working in, or retired from, the apple/pear industry across the supply chain (previously called the Legends Roll of Honour).

2019 Lifetime Achievement recipient – Jon Durham

Selection criteria

  • An individual who has established excellence in the apple and pear industry in one of the following areas: growing, nursery or breeding, coolstore or packhouse, wholesale, export, consulting or agronomic advice, research development and extension, input supply, industry leadership or management.
  • Has demonstrated excellence through either:
    • a commitment to innovation, improvement and sustainability;
    • research, development or extension identifying new opportunities for the industry;
    • the education, training or sharing of improved orchard management or processing methods across the supply chain;
    • conducting business within the industry supply chain with integrity, dedication and distinction;
    • enhancing or developing the apple and pear industry through industry advocacy;
    • providing significant volunteer contributions and demonstrated extraordinary leadership to a local, State or national representative body in service to its members; and
    • contributed a legacy for the industry’s ‘greater good’.
  • An individual who has provided motivational and inspirational leadership for the advancement of the apple and pear industry at a local community level or for the Australian apple and pear industry more generally.
Click here to nominate (closes Monday 6 April 2020)


Grower of the year

2019 Grower of the Year – Jason Shields

Open to all apple/pear growers.

Selection criteria

  • A grower/business who is outstanding across all aspects of production, including growing, environmental management, staff management and product quality.
  • A grower/business who is innovative, challenges convention and implements efficient practices (such as integrated pest management, minimising wastage, water conservation, precision agriculture, technology advances, and value-adding to product).
  • A grower/business who actively contributes to the broader industry (such as participating in international R&D tours, industry committees, forums, conferences or field days).
Click here to nominate (closes Monday 6 April 2020)


Women in horticulture

2019 Women in Horticulture winner – Bec Whittaker

Open to women working in the apple/pear industry across the supply chain.

Selection criteria

  • A female industry member who has demonstrated outstanding ability and success in their chosen field, whether it is growing, research and development, farm management, or otherwise.
  • An individual who is pro-active and has shown commitment to achieving success in the industry.
  • An individual who has a reputation for mentoring women in horticulture.
Click here to nominate (closes Monday 6 April 2020)


Young grower of the year

2019 Young Grower of the Year – John Hearman

Open to individuals in the apple/pear industry 35 years of age or less as at 1 June 2020.

Selection criteria

  • A grower who champions the success of the industry and shows a commitment to innovation, helping to define the next generation of growers.
  • A future leader who demonstrates a high level of commitment to the industry and helps to enrich the community in which they operate as well as working with external stakeholders to introduce new perspectives.
  • A grower who understands and practices sustainable practices and is committed to enhancing agriculture and the land.
Click here to nominate (closes Monday 6 April 2020)


Researcher of the year

2019 Researcher of the Year – Dr Nigel Swarts

Open to individuals working in research for the horticulture industry with a focus on apples and pears.

Selection criteria

  • A researcher who has a track record of research or extension work that has advanced the industry offering long-term industry benefits.
  • A researcher who actively communicates research outcomes and encourages uptake of outcomes on-farm.
  • A researcher who contributes research or extension work that advances the reputation of Australian science internationally.
Click here to nominate (closes Monday 6 April 2020)


Exporter of the year award

2019 Export of the Year – Christian Georgopoulos on behalf of GV Independent Packers

Open to individuals or businesses working in export for the apple/pear industry.

Selection criteria

  • A grower/grower business who has demonstrated a strong commitment to exporting.
  • An individual or business that has invested in building a sustainable export capability in their business.
  • An individual or business who has actively contributed to activities that will assist the pome industry to increase exports and create new market opportunities.
  • Has had significant impact on the industry and has potential for long term positive effects through sales, awareness, reach and more.
Click here to nominate (closes Monday 6 April 2020)

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Marketer of the year

2019 Market of the Year – Andrew Smith

Open to any individual or team who through a marketing campaign has shown excellence in the marketing of apples and pears in Australia

Selection criteria

  • Nominees can come from any part of the value chain including growers, packers, processors, importers and exporters, wholesalers, retailers and government agencies.
  • An individual or business that has created an innovative marketing solution, process or program within the last three years.
  • An individual or business who has created new market opportunities for pome fruit products.
  • An individual or business that has had significant impact on the industry and has potential for long term positive effects through sales, awareness, reach and more.
  • The marketing campaign has delivered tangible, measurable results for the solution, process or program.
Click here to nominate (closes Monday 6 April 2020)

For more information

If you require any assistance please contact APAL, Program Manager, Larissa Vaughan at or on 0423 979 934.

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