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Immediate Past Winners

2023 Winners

2023 Farm Writers’ Star Prize for Rural Writing in NSW

Winner: Hugh Hogan, Farmers, renewable energy advocates call for more compensation for hosting transmission lines - ABC (12 June 2022)

Hugh's story covers concerns of farmers impacted by high voltage transmission lines being built to incorporate more renewable energy into the grid. These include visual and environmental impacts, increased bushfire risk, the devaluation of their land, and comparatively lacklustre compensation.

Click here to read Hugh's story from the ABC.

2023 Rabobank Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting in NSW

Winner: Bronwyn Herbert, Flood Legacy - ABC Landline (26 June 2022)

Bronwyn's story was judged the winner, after she sourced great talent from a diverse range of primary industries that explored the animal, industrial, environmental and human toll of major floods in the northern rivers region of NSW.

Click here to watch.

2023 Star Prize for Rural Photography in NSW

Winner - Production category: Kim Honan, ABC Rural (view photo here, article here)
Winner - People category: Hugh Hogan, ABC Rural (view photo here, article here)
Winner - Landscape/nature category: Kim Honan, ABC Rural (view photo here, article here)

2022 Winners

2022 Farm Writers’ Star Prize for Rural Writing in NSW

Winner: Lucy Kinbacher, Lost - The Land (11 March 2021)

Lucy's story reported on a difficult situation where cattle had been displaced into National Parks in the state’s north through drought, fire and flood and for local producers to only find out after these cattle had been mustered and sold by the National Parks and Wildlife without any consultation.

Click here to read Lucy's story from The Land.

2022 Rabobank Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting in NSW

Winner: Sean Murphy, Barley Boost - ABC Landline (11 April 2021)

Sean was judged the winner with a story of hope and innovation in a market impacted by China trade sanctions, the story looks at the pivot made by some barley growers to planting specialist barley varieties to meet the demand being created by Craft beer and whiskey producers. Niche heritage varieties in single batches are in big demand by craft beer and whiskey producers and Whitton based Voyager was perfectly placed to expand and supply the market. The investment in their small batch malting facility has also boosted local tourism and shone a light on the NSW Riverina’s abundant high quality agricultural produce.

Click here to watch the episode on ABC iView.

(L-R: Sean Murphy, Gabrielle Chan, George Hardy and Lucy Kinbacher.)

2021 Winners

2021 Star Prize for Rural Writing in NSW

Winner: Annabelle Hickson, Galah Press

Annabelle's article, Life and Death at the Ridge, looked at life at Lightening Ridge. Read here.

2021 Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting in NSW

Winner: Sean Murphy, ABC Landline

Sean's story, Decision Time, looked at the situation relating to the CSG development at Narrabri in northern NSW. 

2021 Star Prize for Rural Photography in NSW

Winner - Production category: Lucy Kinbacher, The Land (from her story called Drought Survivors)
Winner - People category: Christella Zujic, Galah Press (What Remains)
Winner - Landscape/nature category: Jeremy Simon, Galah Press (Beyond Mungo)

2011 Winners

2011 Australian Star Prize for Rural Photography

New South Wales photographer Michael Petey captured the winning image of a farmer admiring a sunflower with petals removed to form a cheerful face. The image with the sun peeping through the farmers arm was published in The Land newspaper on June 10, 2010, under the story line "All Smiles at Sunny Yields".

Competition judge Jim Fenwick said the photo showed imagination and a sense of humour, illustrating the subject with clever technique. “The juxtaposition of the sun and the flower was the perfect composition for maximum impact,” said Mr Fenwick, who is retired Pictorial Editor of The Courier Mail in Brisbane.

The photo won the People Category of the Star Prize before going on to take the overall award.

2011 Farm Writers’ Star Prize for Rural Writing in NSW & the ACT

Sydney based journalist, Richard Fox won a trip to the IFAJ Congress in Ontario, Canada in September 2011. The prize covered registration, accommodation and airfares up to the value of $5,000. Richard Fox writes for the Rural Press group of publications.

Richard’s winning story reported on the unexpected swarm of locusts that took hold across the northern part of the state. Titled ‘Airborne…and now a big new threat’, the article was published in The Land newspaper on November 4, 2010.

Richard’s piece was entered as the NSW Finalist in the national competition to find Australia’s representative in the international Star Prize award.

2011 Rabobank Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting in NSW & the ACT

Television: Sean Murphy
Radio: Julia Holman (Also won the International award in this category)
Online*: Julia Holman

*The judges awarded only one prize for online broadcasting.

NSW New England North West ABC rural reporter Julia Holman, based in Canberra, won the radio category with a story about the locust plague in south-eastern Australia broadcast on The ABC Country Hour. And to prove the exceptional quality of her journalism, Julia went on to win the national and then the international prizes in this category.

Julia also won the award for the best piece of online broadcasting with a web feature about one of the unhealthiest wetland systems in the Murray-Darling Basin, at Bottle Bend, near Mildura. Although this year the judges felt only one piece merited the title in the online category, they commended another ABC rural reporter, Kim Honan, who covers the NSW Mid North Coast, for her web feature about the 2010 Signature Dish competition for professional chefs, using produce from the region.

The State television category was won by ABC Landline journalist Sean Murphy, for ‘Cry Freedom’, a story about the growing trend towards free-range pig farming in Australia.

2010 Winners

2010 Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting in NSW & ACT

Farm Writers member and Canberra-based ABC journalist Sarina Locke won the overall prize in the inaugural Australian Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting. She took out the overall award after winning the national radio category and securing her place in that final by winning the radio category in NSW & ACT.

Sarina then went on to beat some of the best of the world's agricultural broadcast journalists by winning the radio category in the inaugural IFAJ Star Prize for Broadcasting.

2010 Farm Writers Star Prize for Writing in NSW & ACT

The winner of the Star Prize for Writing in NSW & ACT, Armidale-based Rural Press writer Matthew Cawood was placed joint-second in the national award for Rural Writing.

As the NSW & ACT winner, Matt travelled to Belgium in April to attend the 2010 congress of the IFAJ. His prize, including airfares and conference registration, was provided by Farm Writers.

Read Matt's report here.

2008 Winner

2008 Farm Writers Star Prize for Writing in NSW & ACT

The 2008 winner was Armidale based journalist Matthew Cawood. Matthew writes for the Rural Press Group of agricultural weeklies, and this is the second time he has won this contest.

Retired NSW editor and journalist, Don Jones, judged a record number of entries for their style, content and objectivity. Mr. Jones chose Matthew’s comprehensive story highlighting the risks to Australian agriculture of a research gap and lack of expertise to manage diseases already decimating bee colonies in the rest of the world and the resultant export opportunities.

Titled ‘Attack on pollinators’, the article was published in The Land newspaper on 10th May 2007.

Matthew’s prize included his registration at the IFAJ Congress in Austria/Slovenia and a contribution to his airfare to the value of $5,000. In addition, his article was entered as the NSW/ACT finalist in the national contest to find Australia’s entry to the International Star Prize.

2007 Winner

2007 Farm Writers Star Prize for Writing in NSW & ACT

The winner of the Farm Writers’ Star Prize for Rural Writing in NSW and the ACT in 2007, Rural Press Writer Matthew Cawood, returned from Japan after attending the 51st IFAJ Congress saying he’s already working on getting to the 2008 IFAJ congress in Austria, “even if I have to swim”.

"Journalists love to talk shop, and the opportunity to talk shop with dozens of like-minded scribes over superb Japanese food and beer - quite a lot of beer, actually - was deeply satisfying. The stand-out fact for me was that agriculture everywhere is facing the same suite of problems. Declining terms of trade, weather extremes, ageing farmer populations, whether to put up trade barriers or drop them - these seem to be universal issues."

Matthew added that the international cast of the IFAJ Congress produced many genuinely useful contacts. "I suspect that of all the nationalities there, Australians have as much to gain from the networking opportunities as anyone because our farm sector is so strongly export focused. No amount of trawling on the internet could have broadened my horizons as effectively as attending the congress."

“I'm sincerely grateful to the Farm Writers' Association of NSW for its support, and hope it can continue to sponsor journalists to future IFAJ get-togethers. I believe it is money well spent on behalf of Australian agriculture."

Matthew’s attendance at the conference was funded by Farm Writers, after winning the 2007 award for his story “Guyra graziers locked into cells” published in The Land newspaper on 16th November 2006.

2007 Alltech Young Leaders in Rural Journalism NSW & ACT

The state winner for 2007 was Lucy Skuthorpe, Canberra bureau chief at Rural Press.

2007 Alltech Young Leaders in Rural Journalism – National Winner

Paul Hooper from Western Australia won the prestigious Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award for 2007. Paul is wool, business and transport writer for Farm Weekly.

2006 Winner

2006 Farm Writers Star Prize for Writing in NSW & ACT

Len Clutterbuck from national sponsor, John Deere, presented Neil Lyon with the Australian Star Prize for Writing and a cheque for $1,000. Bev Jordan, President of Farm Writers also presented Neil with a certificate marking his win in NSW and his conference registration.

Tamworth based Mr Lyon went on to win the national contest and attended the 2006 IFAJ Conference in Norway. On his return, he said such an experience was a must for any agricultural journalist.

2006 Travel Scholarship - NSW Finalist

Lucy Skuthorp, a journalist with The Land, won the NSW round of the competition for this exciting opportunity.

2006 Alltech Travel Scholarship - National Winner

The national winner of the Alltech/IFAJ Travel Scholarship was the Queensland finalist, Adrienne Francis from ABC Country Hour in Darwin.

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