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Australian cotton industry announces award winners
Aug '11
Watched on by their cotton industry peers, friends and the broad cotton family, winners in the Australian Cotton Industry Awards were announced in Narrabri tonight.

As the last official function for this year's Cotton Collective, the awards recognise those talented and dedicated people who have made an outstanding contribution to the cotton industry.

Accepting Australian Cotton Industry Awards were:
CSD Researcher of the Year Award Winner:
Dr Warwick Stiller CSIRO Plant Industry, Narrabri, NSW
Dr Warwick Stiller is a cotton breeder who joined CSIRO Plant Industry in 1995 as a post graduate student, and has developed into a committed scientist and plant breeder who is globally recognised for his work.

Warwick has spent the last 16 years of his life in the cotton breeding scheme that was established to produce varieties for dryland productivity, stress tolerance and water use efficiency and he has played a leading role in delivering new varieties to the Australian cotton industry that deliver exceptional yield and quality and are the envy of our competitors.

Chris Lehman Trust Young Achiever of the Year Winner, sponsored by Bayer CropScience
Fleur Anderson President, Dawson Valley Cotton Grower Association, Theodore, QLD

Born into a cotton growing family on the Darling Downs, Fleur Anderson has been around cotton all her life, and was thrown into the thick of it during the recent floods that devastated her small rural community for the second year running. Some growers lost the lot, twice in the same season, and as the President of the Theodore Cotton Growers Association, Fleur stepped up to the plate and supported her growers and community when it couldn't get much tougher.

Fleur and her husband's family farm was affected too, but undeterred, she set about gathering data across the valley that established the scale of the problem and ultimately helped lead to additional government assistance.

AgriRisk Innovative Grower of the Year Winner
Stuart and Maxine Armitage Cecil Plains, QLD

By the end of December 2010, Stuart and Maxine Armitage had received 16 inches of rain and a good percentage of their 240 hectares of cotton was under water. And as if that wasn't bad enough, they had just picked three cotton modules when another 4 ½ inches came pouring down, putting a stop to harvest for over a month.

With serious concerns for the mental health of some local growers and spirits pretty low in general, the Armitages faced this difficult issue head on, organising a number of support services to help people through. A mental health night was arranged with a psychologist and respected GP that 90 locals attended, and a Relax and Revive night hosted by bush poet Murray Hartin was a great social occasion with 120 attending.

Monsanto Grower of the Year Winner
Ed Willis and Von Warner Thallon, QLD

Bullamon Plains is an outstanding farmenterprise including 20,000 hectares of grazing, dryland and irrigated cropping located at Thallon, about 65km south of St George in Queensland. Owned by the Willis', the farm has been in the family since 1928, with four generations of the family currently living on the property.

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