We are honoured to receive the Gippsland Food & Fibre Innovation Award and be named the 2024 Gippsland Agribusiness of the Year!

The 2024 Gippsland Food & Fibre Awards were held on 31st May at Maffco Brewery & Distillery.

We were honoured and completely surprised, to receive the Innovation Award and then be named the 2024 Gippsland Agribusiness of the Year.

Congratulations to the other inspiring Gippsland businesses recognised throughout the evening. Thank you to everyone involved at Gippsland Food & Fibre for your ongoing championing of agribusiness in our region and the sponsors for their generous support of the event. We would also like to acknowledge our family and friends, the wise counsel and guidance of our mentors, the network of professionals we rely on, and our wonderful clients and colleagues without whom we couldn’t do what we do.

Article written by Food & Fibre Gippsland – LINK TO WEBSITE:

Longford Hereford stud Mawarra Genetics has taken out the highest accolade at the 2024 Gippsland Food and Fibre Awards, held at Maffco Brewery & Distillery on 31 May.
Voted Overall Gippsland Agribusiness of the Year by an independent panel of judges, the award recognises outstanding achievement within the region’s food and fibre sector.

Around 130 guests were in attendance for the presentation night, where the winners of five category awards and three premier awards were announced.

In addition to the top award, Mawarra Genetics was selected as the winner of the Innovation category, acknowledging their demonstrated approach to adopting new and innovative technologies and a willingness to share knowledge and experience with others in the industry.

Mawarra Herefords was established in 1963 and during the past 60 years of successfully breeding stud cattle, the business has seen six generations of family dedicated to producing superior Hereford genetics in Gippsland.

Ben Gebert, Food & Fibre Gippsland CEO, said the Gippsland Agribusiness of the Year award is bestowed upon the food and fibre business that has excelled in all aspects of their commercial operation.

“Mawarra Genetics’ client-centric approach; continual drive for improvement; adoption of best practice; and unwavering commitment to excellence are just a few contributors to their crowning as Gippsland Agribusiness of the Year – an accolade very well-deserved”.

Ben noted the exceptionally high standard of entries across all categories in this year’s awards program. “The judges were extremely impressed with the calibre of entries submitted by Gippsland food and fibre businesses. “We received applications from right across the food and fibre value chain, presenting a rich variety of top-notch contenders.”

Recognised as a leading industry event, the Gippsland Food and Fibre Awards showcase the region’s $7 billion agricultural sector by acknowledging, celebrating and rewarding the region’s food and fibre champions. With a broad focus across the whole of the supply chain, the awards are an important vehicle for recognising success, sharing achievement, and inspiring others.

The two other premier awards were presented to individuals as leaders in their field. Nicole Saunders from The Berry Dairy accepted the Young Agribusiness Leader of the Year award, for her enthusiasm, vision, and commitment in diversifying her business’s operations from a successful 1600-cow dairy to incorporating a thriving pick-your-own strawberry farm and café.

Julie Weatherhead from Peppermint Ridge Native Foods was awarded Female Agribusiness Leader of the Year, in recognition of her passion for the agriculture industry in Gippsland; for her innovative and sustainable approach to producing native foods; and for her demonstrated care of the environment.

Four other category awards were presented during the evening, each of which went to businesses that had demonstrated excellence in their respective fields. Excellence in Collaborative Partnerships went to Lindenow-based Bulmer Farms, for outstanding contribution to the food and fibre industry’s many productive partnerships, and consistent demonstration of collaboration as a core principle of their operation.

Certified organic dairy operation Wilandra Farms, based at Clydebank, won the Sustainability category award for their approach to regenerative farming, environmental stewardship, and generosity with sharing extensive knowledge to others about sustainable primary production practices.

Acknowledged for their adaption and resilience in times of unprecedented change, Bunyip business Sherwood Park Orchard took out the Adaption to Change award. Established as a commercial apple growing business in 1908, the family farm business has grown to become a successful agritourism venture which has seen a 45% increase in visitor numbers over the past five years.

Maffco Brewery & Distillery were recognised by the judges as a business that has gone from strength to strength in a very short time, representing an excellent showcase for Gippsland products and attracting new events to the region in a welcoming space for locals and visitors alike. The unique Maffra business was selected as winner of the Service to the Food and Fibre Industry category.

Finalists in each category:

Female Agribusiness Leader of the Year

Ivy Huang from Carrajung Estate Pty Ltd; Julie Weatherhead from Peppermint Ridge Native Foods; Beth Dunne from Urban Tree Growers; Daniela Mollica from Isola Chianina

Young Agribusiness Leader of the Year

Ben Murphy from Tambo Valley Honey; Ivy Huang from Carrajung Estate Pty Ltd; Nicole Saunders from The Berry Dairy

Excellence in Collaborative Partnerships

Bandolier Brewing; Tambo Valley Honey; Bulmer Farms


Macca’s Farm; Fleming Berries; Mawarra Genetics


Peppermint Ridge Native Foods; Sherwood Park Orchard – Bunyip; Macca’s Farm; Dividing Creek Farm Honey; Wilandra Farms

Adaption to Change

Bandolier Brewing; Sherwood Park Orchard; Urban Tree Growers, Mawarra Genetics

Service to the Food and Fibre Industry

Maffco Brewery & Distillery; Regional Migration Australia; The Berry Dairy; The Butcher with The Chef

More information about the awards program, plus a gallery of images from the awards night, can be found on the dedicated awards page.