DECADES of service to the agricultural industry was recognised at the Agricultural Bureau of SA’s annual Spirit of Excellence in Agriculture awards at the Arkaba Hotel in Adelaide on Monday night.

International plant breeder and GRDC Southern Regional Panel member Andrew Barr, Pinery, received the Services to Primary Production award.

Prof Barr has bred 24 cereal varieties while running his own cereal cropping farm.

He paid tribute to his father who he said had inspired his love of innovation.

“I’ve been incredibly privileged to be involved with wonderful people around Australia and the world,” he said.

On the same night, bursaries were awarded to young farmers to develop their careers.

Rural Youth Bursary winner Alexandra Thomas grew up 50 kilometres east of Yunta at Parnaroo Station.

Ms Thomas spent seven years in the mining industry, before she moved with her business to Port Lincoln consulting with the agricultural and fisheries industries on work health safety and training.

Ms Thomas said there could be a stigma attached to WHS but there was a need for the service.

“In 2012-13, there was a higher rate of injuries and fatalities in agriculture, farming and fisheries industry than any other industry nationwide,” she said.

She will use her PIRSA-sponsored $5000 bursary on a study tour of Norway.

“Norway is recognised internationally as a leading practice in fisheries,” she said.

“I want to identify some practices that I can bring back to Australia to raise our benchmark in compliance.”

Tara Hindson, Frances, was announced as the recipient of the Peter Olsen Fellowship, named after the late Peter Olsen, an Advisory Board of Agriculture member.

His daughters Lucy and Prue were on hand to present the award.

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