Citrus Australia awards emerging leader

Citrus April 26, 2023

Gayndah citrus grower Matt Benham loves talking citrus and when doing so his passion is both evident and infectious. This passion was rewarded by his peers with an ‘Emerging Leader Award’ at Citrus Australia’s recent Market Outlook Forum in Mildura.

Mr Benham farms with his wife Rachael and parents Murray and Averial and has actively sought opportunities to travel interstate and overseas to learn new growing techniques, adopt new technology and view his fruit in the market.

He is then always willing to share his insights with industry, saying that this is how an industry grows. He shares these through group grower visits, hosting workshops and field days – and the Benhams always have their hand up to host more.

“Even just other growers wanting to come over. If they can pack an esky and want to talk citrus, they’re always welcome,” Rachael Benham said.

“Matt is constantly investigating new technology and machines that meet his mantra of working smarter, not harder, particularly in the field of hedging and thinning.”

Mr Benham and his wife are taking part in an R&D project with AusIndustry into alcohol production through the distillation of waste fruit, and Matt has been the driving force behind trials in liquid ferment, following initial investigation by his father, Murray.

Mr Benham senior has been passionate on trying new things and the importance of soil health, and his son, Matt continues to explore and share new knowledge.

Gatton Uni bring students to the farm every year, as does a teacher from Dalby Ag School and now Caboolture High School. His wife says Matt bamboozles them with citrus talk.

She said the irony to many is that he can get nervous at the thought of speaking, but when you get him talking citrus “it’s pretty hard to stop him.”

As a leader of the industry, Mr Benham is also volunteering time to industry committees. He is a past member of the Citrus Australia Citrus Pest and Disease Prevention Committee and has been part of the Southern Queensland Regional Advisory Committee for four years, recently being appointed chair.

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