Top award for Tweed canefarmer
TWEED Valley sugar cane farmer Robert Quirk has been recognised by the federal government for his contribution to the environment.
Mr Quirk has been named the McKell Medal winner for excellence in natural resource management.
The former Tweed Shire councillor is internationally known for his work to reduce the level of chemicals used in cane-growing, while simultaneously increasing yield.
His approach to farming the Tweed Valley's acid sulfate-rich volcanic and tidal soils has enabled him to reduce chemical use by 25 per cent, decrease heavy metal and acidity discharge by 80 per cent, and increase productivity by 38 per cent.
Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran praised Mr Quirk's dedication.
"Robert Quirk has made a major contribution to better natural resource management ... and is a worthy recipient of the McKell Medal," Mr McGauran said in a statement.
Mr Quirk was not available yesterday for comment.
The McKell Medal is awarded by the Australian, State and Territory governments for outstanding contributions to improving land and water management through on-farm action, scientific research and community involvement.
It commemorates the work of Sir William McKell, a former NSW premier (1941-47) and governor general (1947-53), who made a significant contribution to improving soil and land conservation in Australia.