FARMERS and farming families are being sought for national awards.
Nominations are open for the 2013 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.
Organised by Kondinin Group and ABC Rural, the awards recognise the contributions of individuals and families to farming pursuits in Australia.
There are 11 categories and an overall Farmer of the Year who is chosen from the category winners, the awards are judged on innovation, sustainability and overall contribution to the agricultural sector.
The Australian Farmer of the Year Awards is now in its fourth year and its profile continues to build.
The awards attract a high calibre of nominations from across a broad range of agricultural pursuits.
Supported by a range of sponsor organisations, the awards culminate with a dinner and ceremony in Melbourne on September 12.
Categories in this year's awards include Dairy, Livestock, Diversification, Rural Leader, Grain Grower, Biosecurity (animal and plant categories), Horticulture Grower, Wool Producer, Young Farmer and Farm Safety Leader.
Nominations are open to farmers and farming families and may be submitted by third parties on behalf of others.
Three finalists in each category are selected by dedicated judging panels and will be flown to Melbourne for the awards ceremony.
Winners in each category will be announced on the night and will qualify for the overall title of 2013 Australian Farmer of the Year.
Last year's Farmer of the Year, South Australian grower Peter Kuhlmann, said Australia's agricultural sector continued to face increasing challenges and it was important to recognise the contribution made by farmers and farming families.
"Farming for most means operating on smaller margins while managing volatile prices and a changing climate," Peter said.
"Producers need to access a huge range of knowledge and expertise to run a successful business these days.
Innovation, and research and development play an important role in improving our skills and technology to remain profitable and sustainable into the future.
"Since being named Farmer of the Year, I have been especially recognising the valuable contribution that farmers and farming families make to the food and fibre industry, the economy, their environment and their communities."
People can nominate themselves, their family members or friends and associates.
Nomination forms for the appropriate category can be completed online at www.farmeroftheyear.com.au, or people can contact Kondinin Group on email@example.com or 1800 677 761 for more information.
Nominations close on July 26.