Perkes takes out award
A BIGGER crop is part of the future plans for 2017 winner of the Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award.
Cobra Hill Orchards owner Matthew Perkes was awarded Farmer of the Year at the Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association 2017 annual industry dinner last Friday.
He took out the prize, beating three other farmers, and is now aiming to improve his business and crop by planting 1000 more trees in the next year.
The Shepard avocado and lime grower said it hasn’t been easy getting to where he is but credited his fresh eyes in the farming industry and his wife’s farming background.
“I was pretty wrapt to win the award. Knowing the family and knowing how prestigious they are in the farming industry, it is an honour to win this award,” he said
“I was up against a lot of big farmers out there that can do a lot of things so it was pretty good to take it out.”
The tradie turned farmer was Cairns Apprentice of the Year in 1998 and has now been shaping his own farm for 13 years.
“You can’t beat the farming lifestyle,” he said.
“It is a lot of work and a lot of time. You get nothing for your first four or five years, just a lot of work but as you are building you get more involved and invested in your farm.
“You can’t just turn up Monday to Friday, it is a sevenday a week job, but once you have it running smoothly it will work for you.”
Mr Perkes said he will continue to build Cobra Hill Orchards but it would all depend on the upcoming wet season and water restrictions whether he expands or not.
He said farmers’ biggest problem right now is water.
”There is a lot of land in the region that could be used and viable for future crops if there was more water,” he said.
“But, it will all depend on water security and rainfall.”
Mr Perkes said he hoped to continue to build his farm and thanked his wife, Julia Perkes and her family for sharing their knowledge about farming over the years.
Cobra Hill Orchards owner Matthew Perkes is the 2017 Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award winner in Mareeba.