Capable, confident and innovative are just a few words to describe Goondiwindi farmer Nigel Corish (31) who received the 2013 ‘Australian Young Farmer of the Year’ Award.

Started in 2009, the Australian Farmer of the Year Awards celebrates the professional, innovative and sustainable approach by farmers and their families to agriculture. Goondiwindi farmer Nigel Corish took home the coveted ‘Australian Young Farmer of the Year Award’ in recognition of his possessing these attributes. Nigel was nominated for the award by Cotton Australia after winning the 2012 Monsanto Cotton Grower of the Year Award. It has been a big two years for him.

Farming is in Nigel’s blood. His parents Kerry and Peter Corish moved to the Goondiwindi district in 1979 when they bought Mundine, 40 kilometres south of the town. Since 2007, Nigel has lived on and managed Yambocully, 20 kilometres west of Goondiwindi, which was bought in partnership by his father and grandfather in 1989. Luckily for Nigel and his siblings, his parents are progressive and forward thinking, having always planned for their children to come through and take on ownership and management of their farms. Nigel is passionate about growing and advancing the business of farming.

Before deciding to make Yambocully his home, Nigel completed a Bachelor of Agronomy in 2003 and adventured around the world for a year, during which time he spent two seasons skiing in Colorado. Nigel married Vanessa in 2008, and they now have two beautiful children, Harriet and Will. Nigel loves that his children will enjoy the wonders of a country childhood as he himself did. Yambocully is a 4800 hectare property made up of 900 hectares of irrigated country, 1600 hectares of dry land cultivation and 2300 hectares of grazing country which presently runs 140 head of Angus breeders. Nigel’s involvement since 2005 coincides with the irrigated cotton crop doubling its water efficiency, a remarkable achievement considering intermittent drought conditions during this time. This was one of the many aspects of Nigel’s farming practice which impressed the judges, but also included his dedication to producing high yielding crops utilising best farming practice, maintaining diversity and his commitment to farm sustainability.

Nigel is a hands-on manager, not asking anyone to do what he would not do himself. He applies cutting edge technology to everyday decisions of farming. This quietly spoken farmer has an amazing dedication to his industry and community. He is currently the chairman of the Macintyre Valley Growers Association and a committee member of the Border Rivers Food and Fibre and chairman of the Upper Weir Water Users Association. When asked what Young Farmer of the Year means to him, he enthuses that, “I can utilise the media coverage and other opportunities to encourage young people to see a bright future in the agricultural industry. It is an amazing opportunity to promote farming as a rewarding and exciting career choice, and to change the old fashion preconceptions of farmers.” One way he is doing this is through his five-year involvement as a mentor with the Gateway Schools Agribusiness Program at the Goondiwindi State High School.

The acknowledgement of Young Farmer of the Year is well deserved, Nigel’s commitment to his industry and community should be applauded.

Both words and photos by Mandie O’shea