Growers and industry professionals from across the country receive industry honours from Apal

Apple and Pear Australia (Apal) has announced the recipients of the 2024 APAL Awards for Excellence at its annual awards event in Melbourne on 2 June 2024.

The six deserving recipients from across the Australian apple and pear industry were celebrated among their peers at the awards evening preceding the industry’s annual event, the Apal Industry Forum.

The award recipients were honoured for their notable contributions to the industry across six categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Grower of the Year, Industry Rising Star, Women in Horticulture Award, Research and Development Provider of the Year, and Agritourism Award. 

This 2024 Apal Awards for Excellence recipients were:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Kevin Sanders, H Sanders and Sons
  • Grower of the Year – Noel Mason, AG & HC Mason
  • Industry Rising Star – Blake Reeve, Reeve Tasmania
  • Women in Horticulture Award – Joy Jarvis, Prime Organics
  • Research and Development Provider of the Year – Steele Jacob, DPIRD WA
  • Agritourism Award – Emily Shipway, At Lenswood Pick Your Own

An additional honour was also awarded to Ross Wilson from AgFirst New Zealand for his longstanding contribution to the Australian apple and pear industry over many years, including his involvement in the Future Orchards programme, delivered by Apal.

Awarded at Apal’s discretion, the Outstanding Industry Contribution Award highlights an individual who has driven sustainable growth and continual improvement, inspiring others to strive for excellence while shaping the apple and pear industry for future generations.

“Congratulations to each of our deserving 2024 Apal Awards for Excellence recipients,” said Phil Turnbull, chief executive of Apal.

“This year, we have honoured several individuals who have demonstrated decades of commitment to our industry, including Kevin Sanders, a true pioneer in the advancement of apples and pears and this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

“Joy Jarvis received the Women in Horticulture award after dedicating over 50 years to the pome fruit industry, with a keen focus on mentoring and supporting other women in the industry.”

The Apal Awards for Excellence recognise the outstanding achievements of our industry’s most successful growers, researchers, people and businesses working across the pome fruit industry.

“It was fantastic to see South Australia well represented at the awards this year, including Grower of the Year, Noel Mason, who continues to impress us with his unwavering pursuit of quality and achieving high yields in the Adelaide Hills,” said Turnbull.

“Emily Shipway was another South Australian award recipient, taking out the Agritourism Award after she pivoted her career and, together with her husband, turned a commercial orchard into a tourism destination, At Lenswood Pick Your Own.”

Steele Jacob was named Research and Extension Provider of the Year for his vast contribution to the cultivation, testing and development, which has led to the commercialisation of Bravo. A young Tasmanian grower, Brent Reeve, was awarded Industry Rising Star, entering the industry straight out of school and tackling challenges head-on with a focus on learning and innovation.