Three outstanding horticultural farmers will vie for the prestigious 2019 Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award.

The FNQ Growers award, in honour of the late Bibhoora mango grower and industry innovator Charlie Nastasi, will be announced at a gala dinner in Mareeba on Friday (6 September).

The candidates are:

  • Candy McLaughlin, Papaya, Skybury, Mareeba
  • Paul Inderbitzin, Bananas, Kureen Farming, Lakeland
  • Frank and Dianne Sciacca, Bananas, Pacific Coast Eco Bananas, Innisfail

FNQ Growers chair Joe Moro said the award recognised and rewarded farming innovators and those farmers who demonstrated leadership in industry and the community.

“Candidates may not necessarily hold executive positions in a horticultural organisations but have been nominated for the industry-leading work they do, either in their own operations or as part of an industry or community organisation,” Mr Moro said.

“This year, we have three very diverse nominations, both in terms of geography and commodity, which demonstrates the strength of the region’s horticultural industry and our organisation.”

The award presentation is a feature of the gala dinner, which this year is being held outdoors, at the Mareeba Soccer Club.

“This move will allow us to grow the event and deliver an engaging, interactive evening which will celebrate the achievements of our industry and grower-members,” Mr Moro said.

“The organising committee has added a number of new initiatives which are designed to add value for our guests.

“They will sit alongside our long-held dinner traditions, including the auction of local fruit and vegetables, which raises significant money for the local community.”