Article •  9/6/2021

Xavier Toohey Top Young Grower

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36-year-old potato grower Xavier Toohey from Wallace in Victoria has been named the 2021 Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year.

Xavier Toohey
Xavier Toohey, Young Grower of the Year 2021
Xavier Toohey
Xavier Toohey, Young Grower of the Year 2021

The award, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, was announced at the AUSVEG National Awards for Excellence held at the Hort Connections Gala Dinner in Brisbane.

Hailed as the biggest honour for horticulture leaders of the future, the award celebrates

outstanding young growers who champion industry success and show a commitment to


In a crop of 14 shortlisted nominees from across Australia, Xavier was recognised as the best in his field based on his achievements, commitment, ingenuity, and the active role he plays in horticulture.

Marketing Manager for Horticulture & Insecticides for Corteva Agriscience, Nick Koch said it was a thrill to announce Xavier Toohey as 2021’s Young Grower of the Year.

“Xavier’s tenacity and enthusiasm for producing potatoes are incredible. He’s just the sort of passionate grower our industry needs,” Mr Koch said.

“At a time when other people were leaving the potato industry, Xavier committed to it and invested in it. He now has two farms, and it’s a real credit to him,” he said.

Mr Koch said what made Xavier’s achievements more impressive is the fact he’s developed his business rapidly with limited external support.

“Not only has he built a successful and sustainable business in a short space of time, but he’s done it off his own steam,” he said.

“A lot of young people have help to get them started in farming, but Xavier did it on his own through sheer hard work and determination. He’s also stepping up and taking leadership at an industry level as well, which is fantastic.

“The Young Grower of the Year Award is about our industry recognising exceptional young growers like Xavier.

“Although he couldn’t be with us in person tonight, due to the Covid restrictions, I’m sure he’s celebrating in Victoria, and we’ll certainly be catching up with him soon to say congratulations in person.”

Corteva Agriscience also congratulated the thirteen shortlisted nominees for Young Grower of the Year:

  • Kane Busch, Busch Organics – Bairnsdale, VIC; 
  • Anthony De Ieso, Thorndon Park Produce – Adelaide, SA; 
  • Jase 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; 
  • Justin Vanstone, Vanstone Produce – Crowley Vale, QLD.

Nick Koch said the work that all nominated young growers are doing is phenomenal.

“They are Australia’s best and the brightest. What they’ve achieved and what they’re doing really showcases the depth of talent in the industry. We look forward to getting to know them all more as part of the Young Grower Alumni,” he said.

AUSVEG, the industry representative body for the Australian vegetable and potato industries, manages the 2021 National Awards for Excellence, including the Young Grower of the Year Award.

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