Article •  26/5/2021

Meet the Future of Australian Horticulture

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A potato grower from Tasmania, a native herb supplier from South Australia, and a mixed crop farmer from Western Australia are among the shortlist nominees for the prestigious 2021 Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year award.

Young Grower of Year Nominees
Young Grower of Year Nominees Find out more
Young Grower of Year Nominees
Young Grower of Year Nominees

Celebrating fruit and vegetable producers aged 35 and under, the Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year Award will be presented at the AusVeg National Awards for Excellence on 9 June.

The national award celebrates outstanding young growers who champion the horticulture industry’s success and show a commitment to innovation in an effort to define the next generation of future leaders.

The shortlisted nominees for the 2021 Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year award are:

·         Kane Busch, Busch Organics – Bairnsdale, VIC.

·         Anthony De Ieso, Thorndon Park Produce – Adelaide, SA.

·         Jason Dobra, Loose Leaf Lettuce Company – Gingin, WA.

·         Mitchell East, Willarra Gold – Manjimup, WA.

·         Matthew Griggs, Lucaston Park Orchards – Lucaston, TAS.

·         Christina Kelman, Rita’s Farm – Wallacia, NSW.

·         Marlon Motlop, The Native Co./Quality Harvest – Adelaide, SA.

·         Renee Pye, Zerella Fresh – Parilla, SA.

·         Caitlin Radford, CO Agriculture Pty Ltd – Moriarty, TAS.

·         Jake Ryan, Three Ryans/Goodooga Farms – Manjimup, WA.

·         Jake Shadbolt, Scotties Point Farms – Swan Hill, VIC.

·         Sam Spirili, Spirili Strawberries – Wandin North, VIC.

·         Xavier Toohey, XP Toohey – Wallace, VIC.

·         Justin Vanstone, Vanstone Produce – Crowley Vale, QLD.                            

Tasmanian nominee, 22-year-old Caitlin Radford, works on her family’s multi-generational farm. She said she’s thrilled to have made the award shortlist and plans to make the most of the opportunities that come with being a Young Grower nominee.

I feel incredibly humbled and proud to be nominated for the 2021 Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year award,” Caitlin said.

I’m excited as it will be my first Hort Connections. We’re making the journey to Brisbane to get as much out of the experience as possible. I really look forward to meeting and networking with the other finalists.”

Marlon Motlop, 31-year-old Director and Farm Manager of The Native Co in Adelaide, is also delighted to be nominated. He hopes the recognition will be an opportunity to bring awareness to the native food industry.

Being nominated is a huge achievement and great recognition for a lot of hard work,” Marlon said.

My driving force is to shine a light on the world’s oldest surviving flavours and inject them into the new world, creating opportunities for the community throughout Australia to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and ancient farming.”

Third-generation Manjimup grower, 26-year-old Jake Ryan, is also shortlisted. He said the nomination was unexpected and that the national awards were essential for the industry development.

I was surprised at first, but I’m very grateful and excited to be nominated,” Jake said.

“It’s important to honour young growers to keep inspiring them to be creative with their approaches to current issues. It also helps to show older generations that there may be different solutions to current or old issues and sometimes change is needed.

For Nick Koch, Corteva Agriscience Marketing Manager, the 2021 Young Grower nominees showcase the wealth of talent in Australian horticulture.

Corteva Agriscience is delighted to continue our sponsorship of the Young Grower of the Year Award and play a role in the career progression of the leaders of tomorrow,” Nick said.

Congratulations to all the nominees. They are the best and the brightest young growers in Australia today and demonstrate the incredible depth of talent in the industry.

We welcome each nominee into the Young Grower Alumni and look forward to getting to know them all before we announce the overall winner at the National Awards for Excellence in Brisbane on Wednesday 9 June.”

AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside said the Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year award is a strongly contested and important category.

Corteva Agriscience’s ongoing support of Australia’s young growers is a terrific illustration of industry leadership. We need to recognise the leaders of the future and celebrate the ability, innovation and enthusiasm of young people who have chosen a career in horticulture,” James said.

For more information about the 2021 Corteva Young Grower of the Year Award and the nominees, visit

Meet the Growers

Damien Manno Young Grower of the Year 2022


Damien Manno, from Quality Harvest took out the 2022 Young Grower of the Year award in recognition of his innovation and dedication to excellence.

Meet the 2022 Nominees
Xavier Toohey 2021 winner

Past Nominees

Corteva has been a proud sponsor of the AUSVEG Young Grower of the Year award since 2018. See the long list of talented alumni who have vied for the prestigious title.

Meet Past Nominees