31 October - 2 November 2022 | Brisbane Australia

Media Release

1 November 2022

Young producers outstanding in their field

Outstanding contributors and innovators in agriculture, fisheries and forestry have been recognised in the annual Queensland Agriculture Awards, announced at the TropAg conference in Brisbane.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said Jade King of Green Valley Fingerlimes won the prestigious Peter Kenny Medal, and Jessica Jurgens of Vee Jay’s Kalfresh was named the Minister’s Emerging Leader Award winner.

“Jade is well known in the industry for her passion for finger limes, one of Australia’s unique native fruits, while at just 24 years of age Jessica is a fifth-generation farmer, an inspiring leader and a true role model,” Mr Furner said.

“The Queensland Agriculture Awards recognise individuals who have made an outstanding positive impact on our industry.

“Nominations were sought from across the sector including agribusiness, education, farm-based production, the supply chain, research, advocacy, and associated fields.

“As always, I am very impressed with the calibre of the nominees and am very pleased to have the opportunity to recognise those who are making a difference through these awards.”

The 2022 awards recognise the contribution of two individuals through the Peter Kenny Medal and the Minister’s Emerging Leader award. The winners of each category will receive a $3000 bursary, which they can use to support their studies or work.

The Peter Kenny Medal is awarded for innovation leading to profitability and sustainability and the Minister’s Emerging Leader Award recognises professional excellence and leadership.

Mr Kenny is remembered as a passionate advocate for agriculture, rural education and regional communities across Queensland, as well as being a champion for educating new generations of producers.

Mr Furner acknowledged the contribution each of the finalists had made in advancing Queensland’s agriculture and food industries, and for their passion, advocacy and dedication.

Finalists for the Peter Kenny Medal:

  • Belinda Frentz, Coastal Hydroponics, Growcom and AusVeg
  • Jade King, Green Valley Fingerlimes
  • Kerry McCarthy, Gracekate Farms and Harvest Hands Labour
  • Hamish McIntyre, McIntyre Agriculture and Cotton Australia

Finalists for the Minister’s Emerging Leaders Award:

  • Kylie Hopkins, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Natalie Hughes, Rural Financial Counselling Service North Queensland and Southern Gulf NRM
  • Jessica Jurgens, Vee Jay’s Kalfresh
  • Joshua Maunder, Aus-Ex Fruit


Media contact: Ron Goodman   0427 781 920

Background on finalists:

Jessica Jurgens, Vee Jay’s Kalfresh

Jessica is passionate about the sustainability of family farms and understands the need to diversify businesses to build resilience.

Jessica is a farmer for the future, prioritising sustainable farming practices while also mentoring the next generation of producers to embrace AgTech solutions. She’s also encouraging other young women to join the industry as part of her role as an AgTech Activator.

Joshua Maunder, Aus-Ex Fruit

Joshua is a third-generation farmer and a key player in the exotic tropical fruit industry landscape. As a recent recipient of the Nuffield Scholarship, Joshua is exploring resilient fruit production measures that can withstand weather events and improve sustainability.

Joshua embraces and applies new technologies to business models to innovate the agriculture sector and build the sustainability and resilience of the Far North Queensland growing region.

Kylie Hopkins, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Kylie didn’t grow up in the agriculture industry, but she’s worked hard to follow her passion for helping people and solving problems. She coordinates DAF’s extension program from Boonah to Malanda and has become a trusted leader in the industry.

Kylie knows how important promoting free and unbiased information is to industry, that’s why she’s facilitated the delivery of 17 extension events in 18 months. These were attended by 377 producers who manage more than 1.5 million hectares of land. In her spare time, Kylie mentors young staff members and volunteers for projects to enhance her skills.

Natalie Hughes, Rural Financial Counselling Service North Queensland and Southern Gulf NRM

Natalie is a fifth-generation grazier and a fourth-generation cane farmer who balances co-managing a cattle station and working as a Rural Financial Counsellor for Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) under their entity Rural Financial Counselling Service North Queensland (RFCSNQ), and as Deputy Chair of Southern Gulf’s NRM’s board. 

Natalie also pioneered a first-ever project that delivered one-on-one support to graziers on business planning, decision making, climate preparation and mental health. She spends her spare time mentoring staff on the best ways to approach producers, plan business practices and support clients’ mental health.

Belinda Frentz, Coastal Hydroponics, Growcom and AusVeg

Since leaving her job as a teacher for a position on her family farm, Belinda has become a known advocate for grower profitability and sustainability. She’s helping producers implement ethical and environmental compliance, training and culture improvement.

Belinda is also working to ensure peak industry bodies can work together to create sustainable business models and positive outcomes for growers.

Hamish McIntyre, McIntyre Agriculture and Cotton Australia

Hamish is a trusted leader in the agriculture industry. His understanding of sustainability and transparency has made a real difference to international supply chains.

Hamish’s modern production practices are internationally recognised, demonstrating the sustainability of cotton and strengthening demand for Australian cotton. He even helped develop a system that allows cotton trash to be used as livestock feed.

Jade King, Green Valley Fingerlimes

Jade has worked tirelessly to contribute to Queensland’s agriculture industry both on her farm and behind the scenes, sharing knowledge and offering professional services to others. She spends time hosting workshops to teach the next generation about the industry and even heads up agricultural studies at Glasshouse Christian College.

Kerry McCarthy, Gracekate Farms and Harvest Hands Labour

Kerry has been a vocal advocate for the seasonal workers program, employing Pacific workers on her family farm for nearly a decade. She’s even hosted dignitaries from across the world to meet workers and see the benefits of the program firsthand.

Kerry has worked tirelessly as a volunteer to ensure Queensland producers can access a secure seasonal workforce, especially during COVID. She also ensures important issues are recognised and wellbeing challenges for workers are addressed.


31 October – 2 November
2022 Brisbane Australia

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