For the first time in the Zanda McDonald Award's five-year history, not one but two young Australian agriculturalists have been crowned as 2019 winners.
Queenslander Shannon Landmark, 27, and Luke Evans, 28, from the Northern Territory will share the badge of honour, which seeks to recognise young professionals in the primary sector from Australia and New Zealand.
Landmark is a trained vet, and the coordinator of the Northern Genomics Project at the University of Queensland.
Her work focuses on improving genetic selection and reproductive technology, and sees her working with beef producers, beef extension officers from state governments, consultants and vets, and university researchers and scientists.
Listen to Rowena Duncum interview Shannon Landmark, Luke Evans and Allflex chief executive Shane McManaway below:
Evans, 28, is the Station Manager of Cleveland Agriculture, based at Rockhampton Downs Station, a 450,000-hectare beef property in Tennant Creek Northern Territory.
He not only runs this significant operation, but also mentors youth, and provides on-the-job training and employment opportunities at the property.
Richard Rains, chairman of the Zanda McDonald Award, said "The judges were faced with a very tough decision when it came to singling out one winner, as both Shannon and Luke are carving out their own distinct and different paths in their careers. However, we just couldn't separate the two on their leadership qualities, determination and spirit,"
"We felt that both would get immense value from the prize, particularly the tailored mentoring package, which will provide them with a great insight into some of the best agriculture farms and companies in the industry. We're committed to recognising and supporting talented young individuals in the ag sector, and this prize package will really help take both of their careers to the next level."
Landmark and Evans were initially shortlisted with four other candidates, with interviews held in Brisbane last October.
Listen to Jamie Mackay interview the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award winner Thomas Macdonald below:
Following these interviews, they were named as finalists alongside 34-year-old Kiwi Grant McNaughton.
McNaughton is managing director of McNaughton Farms, a 6300-hectare dairy operation in Oamaru.
Landmark and Evans will each receive a prize package which includes a transtasman mentoring trip to farming operations and businesses from within the PPP network, $1000 cash, a place on Rabobank's Farm Managers Programme, and membership to the PPP Group.
The award, sponsored by Allflex, Pilatus, CBRE Agribusiness, Zoetis, MDH and Rabobank, was presented last night in Port Douglas at the annual Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Gala Dinner.
Zanda McDonald was a foundation member of the PPP, which is a group of 150 agri-business men and women from across Australasia.