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Tasmanian wins prestigious award

A well known Tasmanian has been acknowledged with a prestigious onion industry award.

Brian Bonde received the Reg Miller Award in recognition of his long serving dedication to the Australian onion industry.

The award was presented by Senator Richard Colbeck during Onions Australia’s annual conference, held in Brisbane this week.

Brian has dedicated the past five years of his life to passionately supporting the Australian onion industry.

While Brian has been involved in the industry for many years, little did he realise just how important his role would be when he accepted the role of Onions Australia Chairperson in 2008.

He soon took up the cudgels and found himself in the midst of the extensive consultation process to revitalise and modify the statutory onion industry levy.

After spending countless hours consulting with growers across the country, he was thrilled when the levy vote was counted and then signed off on by all levels of government.

Little did he know that the levy would hit a hurdle at the last moment – when it was recommended for disallowance in the Senate.

And so began a whole new fight – which again took many hours, including negotiations and briefings with politicians from all sides, plus endless interviews with the media.

It was with great relief that the levy changes finally won approval in the Senate in late September – and many could hear Brian breathe a huge sigh of relief.

While much of Brian’s recent years have been taken up with the levy consultation, it is important to look back at his farming history.

Brian is a fourth generation farmer having lived on the family property at North Motton in Central Coast Tasmania all his life. He farms 240 hectares traditionally having grown a range of processing and fresh market crops including potatoes, peas, beans, onions for export and poppies.

Today Brian is moving towards semi-retirement and is currently growing poppies and operating a successful cattle enterprise. A small forestry enterprise is also incorporated in the farm business. Brian has four children, none of whom are involved in the farming operation.

Brian has been actively involved in his industry having served as Chairman of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) Vegetable Council, as well as having held the position of Onions Australia Chairperson and, until recently, was also a member of the OA Executive Committee. He remains as a valued member of our Industry Advisory Committee.

His importance in the industry was also recognised when he was chosen to be the face on the packets of Coles Australian grown vegetables. He has a firm belief that we can do much better as an Industry and has an interest in progressing this.

Brian is also an active member and past President of the Rotary Club of Ulverstone West and has interests in breeding and training horses, rodeo, football and travel. He has been committed to his community and the agriculture industry.

Outgoing Onions Australia chairperson Andrew Moon said Brian had been passionate in his advocacy for the national onion industry.

“Brian has really gone above and beyond when it comes to promoting our industry, he has selflessly gone into bat for growers,” he said.

“Brian personifies exactly what the Reg Miller Award is all about, outstanding service to our industry, and this award is more than deserved.”
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