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CANFA has added another three life members at its annual Conference. The Golden Shovel award was made to two long-term farming family contributors, Scott & Jo McCalman and the Wass brothers, and a public servant, Richard Chewings who have all contributed substantially, not only to the cause of conservation agriculture across Australia but to CANFA in general.

Scott and Jo McCalman from “Jedburgh”, Warren, who were unfortunately absent from the Conference (for the first time for many years) due to family commitments, have long been recognised as leaders in conservation farming across Australia. Scott has been a speaker at CANFA and other CAAANZ group member conferences and functions over many years. They have hosted numerous groups, from representative government officials to interstate and international visitors. They have always been willing to involve themselves in on-farm research and their commitment to finding solutions to problems and exploring opportunities is outstanding. Scott is also a Nuffield scholar and together they were winners of our 1998 CANFA Conservation Farmer of the Year award and the 2005 NSW Farmer of the Year Award. Scott has been a strong and eloquent voice behind the adoption of conservation farming in NSW and elsewhere and we congratulate them both on this award.

The Wass Brothers – Haydon, Michael, Stuart and Nigel, from “The Plains”, Nyngan who were also unfortunately absent from the Conference, have also been recognised as leaders in conservation farming across Australia for a long period of time. Haydon in particular has been willing to participate in farm visits from representative government officials to interstate and international visitors, trials and demonstrations and research initiatives. He has made his time freely available acting as a mentor to many farmers, not only in the Nyngan district but much further abroad. Their willingness to share in technology, by making their planter drawings available for those wanting to copy their latest design is an example of their desire to serve the greater good. We congratulate them and thank them for their continued service to the conservation farming industry.

Richard Chewings is the third winner of this year’s award. Richard would be known to many as the master of ceremonies at our Annual Conference for many years. However, his contribution goes much further than that. Living at our current Wellington base for many years, Richard along with former Golden Shovel winner John Lawrie, was responsible for enacting the no-till program and machinery development at Wellington for over a decade. He was a principal contributor to our CSHIP – Cadonia Soil Health Improvement Program at Wellington and has been also keenly involved in fighting for retention of the Wellington Research Services Station as our CANFA base. He has been a great sounding board for idea generation. He made sure that we were involved in the development of the NSW Government Soils Policy and his understanding of “how government works” has been extremely helpful in our success as an association. We thank him and look forward to having him involved in our future deliberations.