Five towns in the running for South Australian AgTown of the Year prize

AWARD: Kimba is one of the five finalists for the 2021 AgTown of the Year award. Photo: File
AWARD: Kimba is one of the five finalists for the 2021 AgTown of the Year award. Photo: File

The five finalists in the running for the 2021 AgTown of the Year award have been announced.

Previous finalists Kapunda, near the Barossa, and Kimba on Eyre Peninsula have another shot at taking the prize, and they are joined by Murray Mallee town Mypolonga and Mid North towns Orroroo and Booleroo.

More than 3200 public votes were cast to choose the five finalists from 59 nominations across the state.

Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister David Basham said it was exciting to see small agricultural communities make such a strong showing.

"Incredibly Kapunda has been a finalist every year since the award was introduced in 2019, which speaks volumes for the community's support," he said.

"Kimba has also been a finalist before, and I welcome the addition this year of Mypolonga, Orroroo, and Booleroo Centre to the top five."

Mr Basham said the award showcased the significance of agriculture to the state.

"The Ag Town of the Year Award recognises the important role our farmers and the agriculture sector plays in everyday lives of regional communities," he said.

"It is pleasing to have thousands of people again engaged in the awards program, supporting their favourite agricultural town.

"Every town nominated for this award should be immensely proud of what their community has achieved and will continue to achieve in the face of significant challenges, such as COVID-19 restrictions and drought."

Towns to just miss out on reaching the top five were Bordertown and Beachport from the Limestone Coast, Eyre Peninsula town Cummins, Langhorne Creek on Fleurieu Peninsula and Mid North town Jamestown.

An independent panel of judges will visit the five finalist towns in October.

The panel is made up of John Rothwell (Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of SA), Rob Kerin (Regional Development South Australia and Primary Producers SA), Erika Vickery (South Australian Region Organisations of Councils), Belinda Cay (AgCommunicators), Nikolai Beilharz (ABC Rural) and Rilka Warbanoff (Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce - SA).

The winner will be announced at the Regional Showcase Awards on Friday, November 19.

Cleve was the inaugural award winner in 2019, followed by Pinnaroo in 2020.

Mr Basham said South Australia's primary industries and agribusiness generated $15.2 billion in revenue in 2018-19, making this sector vital to the well-being of the state.

"That's why we are focussing on boosting our food, wine and agribusiness through our Growth State initiative, which aims to grow these sectors to $23b by 2030," he said.

"The [state government] has mapped out a strong pathway forward through the Growth State initiative in conjunction with the Regional Development Strategy."

This story AgTown of the Year award finalists announced first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.