Pinnaroo: 2020 SA Ag Town of the Year

3rd March 2021 | Eativity editors

Mallee farming town Pinnaroo has been named 2020 South Australian Agricultural Town of the Year at the Regional Showcase Awards, which had been postponed due to COVID.

Pinnaroo finished ahead of four other finalists – Kimba, Parndana, Kapunda and Woodside – to be crowned South Australia’s top agriculture town. Minister for the SA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham has congratulated the community for helping to make Pinnaroo such a “diverse and innovative” town.

“The extensive process to crown Pinnaroo as South Australia’s Ag Town involved 70 town nominations, more than 5000 public votes and visits to the five finalist towns by our independent judging panel,” Basham says. “As a farmer said during the judges’ visit, ‘Pinnaroo has got your back’, and I think that really captures the spirit of this small town and the importance of agriculture to its economy.”

The Ag Town of the Year award recognises towns that demonstrate excellence in agriculture, encouraging growth and showing leadership in primary industries.

“I know the judging panel had a difficult time making this decision, with each of the finalist towns being more than just worthy contenders,” Basham admits. “All the towns are excelling in agricultural practices, displaying incredible community spirit and resilience, and are committed to developing their region.”

South Australia is blessed with a vibrant primary industries and agribusiness sector, which generated $14.1 billion in revenue in 2019–20 and created tens of thousands of jobs.

Pinnaroo’s Lawson family launched a lentil flour brand during the pandemic.

Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick has also congratulated the whole Pinnaroo community, pointing out that agriculture can be a testing industry, especially with some of the recent challenging seasons farmers have experienced.

“It’s good to have had a handy cropping season last year, stock prices up and a huge horticulture industry in the Pinnaroo region adding to the mix,” Pederick says.

“Pinnaroo certainly deserves this award, especially in relation to operating with the challenges of a cross-border community in dealing with COVID-19. This award highlights the legendary resilience of the Mallee.”

Pinnaroo agriculture extends across a broad cross-section, from lentils and olives to potatoes and pistachios.

There were also six other awards presented to a range of regional organisations, businesses and initiatives as part of the 2020 Regional Showcase. The winners were:

• Regional Resilience Award: Imagine Uraidla
• Community Empowerment Award: Phil Marshall
• Meaningful Connections Award: Macclesfield’s Young at Heart Club
• AgTech Award: Trust Provenance
• Lifelong Learning Award: EP Analysis
• People’s Choice Award: Merv Lehmann of Robertstown General Store

The Regional Showcase is a chance for the state to celebrate South Australia’s regional communities and appreciate the important role that regions and agriculture can play, especially when times get tough.

“It has been a challenging time for the whole community, as clearly demonstrated by the fact this event had to be postponed from November due to COVID-19,” Basham says.

The Regional Showcase was held in partnership with Solstice Media, with the public invited to vote on the People’s Choice Award from the 30 shortlisted regional stories.